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Exploring the 5 Senses: Science Experiment for Kids

Try this easy 5 senses science experiment with kids – a quick and easy activity to do in the kitchen!

One of our favorite science activities has been this Science of Sound Waves Experiment – it was an AWESOME way to explore how our hearing works!  But I really wanted to do ONE science activity that linked together all FIVE senses.

When I think about the five senses, the first thing that comes to my mind is baking — there’s just something about an apple pie that makes all your senses come alive 😉

So I thought we’d whip up a little fun in the kitchen today while exploring some science and learning about all five senses!


5 Senses Activities for Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary ages

The 5 Senses: A Science Experiment for Kids

Most of the time, our kids only reap the benefits of OUR time in the kitchen.  But involving them in the process of cooking or baking is a real learning experience.  In addition to understanding more about what’s involved in making their food, they can also learn some math and try new foods too.

For this activity, we created a tray of items we normally use when making oatmeal cookies or pumpkin bread and we played a mystery game with items from our baking cupboard. 


Sense of Sight: The White Dish Experiment

This experiment is quick and easy to pull together — and can also be adapted to include items that you have on hand in your fridge or pantry. On one plate, I filled each area with each of the following (I’m including affiliate links for items so you can clearly see what they are): 

This was called our ‘white’ tray since all the ingredients LOOK very similar. Can you tell which item is which?

It’s not easy to distinguish by just looking at them, is it 😉

 Science Experiment for the 5 Senses in the Kitchen

After looking at each of the items on the tray, I asked my daughter to make an educated guess for each item.  We wrote down her thoughts on a piece of paper before we moved on to use our other senses.  She was pretty sure the item in the center was flour because it had what she called an ‘off-white’ color. 


Sense of Smell Experiment

Next up was our sense of smell — did any of the items on the dish have an odor that would help to identify them?

 Sense of Smell Science Activity for Kids

She really thought that she would be able to tell the salt from the sugar when she smelled the items but no!  (If you do this with younger kids, make sure they don’t get too close and take a big sniff because you don’t want them to ingest large amounts of powdery dust).

So, on to our next test…


Sense of Touch Science Experiment

Sense of Touch Experiment

This was the most fun — touching all the items! 

You might think that this would have sealed the deal but she still wasn’t sure which was the sugar and which was the salt.  She guessed the baking powder and baking soda earlier because she peeked at the boxes (note to Mom: put boxes away next time 🙂

Ok, now we’ve used our sense of sight, smell and touch.  Since she still didn’t know how to tell the difference, I told her we could use our sense of taste with these 2 items. 


Sense of Taste Science Experiment

We cut an apple into slices and then she dipped a slice in each of the sugar and salt piles. 

Guess what happened?

She chose to taste the apple slice that had salt on it!  And I promised her I wouldn’t take a picture (what a face!). 


Sense of Hearing (Add-on option!)

I’m not sure there would be any way to identify the baking soda or baking powder by tasting them. If you want to show your kids the difference between the baking soda and baking powder, try adding a few drops of vinegar to each pile (baking soda will be the one that fizzes a lot).  The fizzing would also bring in the sense of hearing to the test too!


Five Senses science experiment - easy activity for preschool, kindergarten and elementary students

The Five Senses: Spice Tray Experiment for Kids

We also went through our spice rack and used all five senses. 

  1. I placed both whole cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and whole nutmeg and the same ground spices on the tray.  I also included ground allspice. (touch & sight)
  2. Then we identified the whole spices and smelled those. (smell)
  3. And we also took apple slices and put a small amount of each spice on the apple to use our sense of taste. (taste)
  4. Then I let her grate the whole spices (only for older kids, have Mom grate the spices for younger kids to smell).  This was where our sense of hearing also came in to the experiment.  Grating spices, the sound of a mixer or the timer going off when the cookies are all sounds in the kitchen.


Easy 5 Senses Science Activity

And yes, that is a new cast you see on her hand.  Bright pink, waterproof and signed by all your friends makes you feel much better about a fractured wrist 🙂


Five senses sensory activity - create a writing tray

When we were done experimenting with our senses, we mixed all the items together (from both the white tray and the spice tray) and practiced spelling words for the day!  This is another great sense of touch & sensory activity for kids to do!


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