Every activity uses multiple senses, but when we talk about sensory activities in preschool, we are usually referring to activities that include an element that focuses heavily on one of the 5 senses. Something smelly, something that tastes good, or feels interesting on our hands. Uniquely tactile, scented, or activities with sound are the sensory art experiences are on this list. When my son was small, I often painted with yogurt at home, but I shy away from finger painting with food at school.
The benefits of including additional sensory elements to art projects are not just novelty and interest; it also allows children to connect to different skills in new ways. When your students are exploring these sensory activities, they are making new fine or even gross motor coordination, how to take in information using different senses, and all the while learning new vocabulary, and of course, having fun.
Art Activities That Explore Sound
What do you hear? How does music change making art? What about dynamic movements that match sounds? Check out these excellent preschool art activities that include a wonderful auditory element.
Painting with Jingle Bells – this is a hit no matter what age group I have tried it with.
Fly Swatter Painting – this is messy but is so much fun to listen to the slapping as you create.
Painting to Music from Sugar, Spice, and Glitter.
Painting with Corks I didn’t know this was a sound activity until I did it with preschoolers. Every time I do this with preschoolers they comment and notice the sounds different corks make.
Preschool Art Activities That Explore Smell
These art activities are fragrant, some with natural smells, some artificial. All are fun to explore. Choose one that you think will work with your preschool class and students.
Exploring Smell with Silly Scents Markers
Exploring with Fruity Scented Play Dough
Painting with Spices from Mama, Papa, Bubba.
Sensory Art Activities That Explore Touch
Sticky, soft, squishy, wet… the possibilities are endless when it comes to touch and texture!
Julie Steed says
This makes my heart happy! The art center is my fave. I have another one you can add to the list. I call it ‘boing’ painting. Cut the legs off a pair of pantyhose and add popcorn kernels to the foot (I usually make it about the size of a grapefruit). Tie off the top (for the littlest peeps I form a loop for them to hold). To paint, plop the popcorn end into a pie pan filled with paint and then boing it onto a long piece of paper. The combination of the gross motor activity and the satisfying splat it makes on paper is always a winner! BTW, I got the idea from Lisa Murphy aka The Ooey Gooey Lady.
As always, very innovative. Thanks for sharing these interesting new ideas, can’t wait to try them.