How the 5 senses can enhance your lessons

Yesterday I took a walk

not far

and not in an unusual spot

and all of a sudden I smelled something

first lilacs

then pine


a scent that I did not know what plant it came from

all I knew

is that when I used to sleep over at my grandmothers house as a child

I would smell this very same smell

a weed…a tree….no idea…

but floods of memories came back

and so

I wonder why

so many teachers don’t engage the 5 senses when teaching

yes …some do…

and…some lessons are easier to enhance

but we must try


Alzheimer units across the country

one of the easiest ways to engage people

is through their senses

Sight, Sound,Touch, Taste, Smell

as educators we also need to engage those senses

they bring back memories

they help us make neural(brain) connections about the important things to remember

so the question

is how are some of the ways we can bring the 5 senses into what we are teaching

what should be in your classroom for the sense of sight?

Posters of  



Lists(think ten commandments, beatitudes…etc)


child’s and adult


I use small frog statues for (Fully Rely On God)

a praying hands statue

a Mary Statue

a Crucifix


and that’s just a start

of course not everything needs to be out all the time

perhaps you’ll bring in baptismal candles when talking about baptism


the chalice when talking about communion

or the priest to talk about his vestments

Sound need to go so much further than your voice

music singing or recordings

bible stories


but especially music

even if your class doesn’t care to sing

they can listen to a song

talk about it

understand it

and it will touch the hearts and memories of some of your students

this is easier with the little ones

bring in a container of sand when talking about the type of place Jesus lived let them feel the sand and think about what it would be like to be mostly barefoot/sandles all the time and how dirty their feet would be

(talk about Jesus washing the feet of his disciples)

bring in some unconsecrated host and let them touch/hold it

hands on projects that compliment what you are teaching

In past years I occasionally taught Benjamin’s Box and would bring in enough supplies for each child to make her/his own box

giving the kids

fake fur to symbolize the donkey

and small grapevine pieces to symbolize the wreath of thorns


This is harder

so many kids have food allergies these days(I know my own kids are allergic to dairy, eggs, and nuts)

but let them taste the bread and the wine(when preparing for first Eucharist)

try actually doing a Seder meal with the children it will be an experience they will never forget

when talking about the fruits of the spirit

bring in some fruit

when talking about the beatitudes(bee attitudes) bring in some honey and crackers

Now I have to admit

I don’t do food in my classroom

we just don’t have time

but if we did

I would try to

at least a few times a year

incorporate the sense of taste

into my lessons

ah finally the Pièce de résistance


the biggest thing you can do

is bring in some of the oil of chrism


if you are able


(of course make sure none of your students are asthmatic)

sweet smelling flowers when talking about St. Therese


there is so much that can be done with the 5 senses

to enhance the education of your students

try incorporating one or more into the majority of your lessons!

try this prayer of the five senses


About ellasurreau

I am a first grade religious education catechist I have been teaching for 20 years I have a BA in Religious Studies I have continued taking classes in religious studies since graduating. I grew up Methodist, and became catholic after marrying.
This entry was posted in bible, christianity, five senses, prayer, religious ed teacher and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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