Activities | Learning about senses

One of our current charges has bought home an information sheet about what this term at nursery will involve for him. His topic is ‘All About Me’ with sub topics within this.

Last week on a lovely wet and windy day I went back to this list and decided to create a day out of one of the sub topics. We chose ‘Our Senses’. I wanted to share these simple ideas with you to coinside with a previous post on motessori based activities you can do at home, to show how simple and easy learning at home can be. It can also be a great way to have a partnership with your child’s nursery.

It’s amazing how several small activities in one day, both organised and normal home events can create such a huge opportunities for language mainly, but a chance for some true learning to happen that excites and encourages and test the mind of a three year old! With that said, here is what we did.


My charges love playdough! For two rough and tumble boys it always surprises me how much they love intricately playing with it and for the length of time they do too!

I made three balls of playdough, using our pocketnannies recipe. And made them with the scents of peppermint, cinnamon and ginger. Needless to say they were an absolute hit. An hour later we were still playing with them.


The peppermint one was fantastic and correctly identified by my charge. The cinnamon one was great, one of the many words we learnt how to say (and remember!) that day. The ginger one looked great in vibrant yellow but the smell wasnt the strongest. I forgot to bring fresh ginger to work with me and could only find frozen at work.


For our afternoon snack we made popcorn, naughty nanny I know but purely made for this purpose. My charges watched intently as the popcorn went round and round in the microwave, quite surreal I managed to keep them so quiet whilst watching in the promise something really cool would happen! And then they both jumped when the first kernel popped! My charge was able to tell me when the popping got faster and then when he thought it had finished because the popping had almost come to a stop.

Through out the little activities we really put an emphasis on listening to each other and listening to the sounds that our activities made, if any, to help the understanding that we use our hearing sense all the time.


I constantly asked my charge what he could see and with many open ended questions really encouraged him to describe in detail what he was looking at to a) encourage him to take the time to look; b) made him use explorative language and pushed him to find new words and c) to again help him realise that sight is something we continually use.


I personally love sensory boards. And I did this one specifically to show how easy it can be to make one from household objects – which is why it looks perfectly imperfect! So that afternoon I turned the fridge into a sensory board at child friendly height. I used foam, pipe cleaners and lollipop sticks from my art box, a key with funky keyring from a kitchen dresser, scrap of bubble wrap, string from the DIY cupboard, a wetwipe (always one of those to hand!), lego bricks and pasta. I stuck them all to the fridge with blue tak or sellotape.


When I invited my charge to look at the fridge he thought it was funny to have all of these things stuck all over it. But he then took the time to explore each and every one of the elements in detail, firstly independently and offered some description to me and then I probed for more information by asking questions for him to identify something or comparative questions. He loved it, thought it was hilarious there was a wet wipe slapped onto the fridge (we also learnt that when they dry out they fall off the fridge!) and the first thing he did when his brother woke from his nap was pulled him through the kitchen to have a look too!


Dinner! It wasn’t particularly a complimenting dinner, more of a picnic buffet style put together with a range of flavors and colours to discuss whilst eating. More of an activity at dinner time than a marathon eating dinner!

Apart from it being gloomy outside and the start of a few colds we had such a super time having a theme to the day. Throughout the day my charge was noticing how interconnecting all our senses are and made great observations about when you need which sense. Hopefully he relaid his new found knowledge to his nursery teacher…..


© pocketnannies 2016

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