Creative Teaching Using the Five Senses



God gave all of us five senses: smelling, tasting, touching, sight, kind hearing. Statistics tell us that approximately eighty percent of learning is through visuals. In other words, remember what we see. Two old verbs proverbs state, ‘Hearing something 100 times is hot as good as seeing it once,” and “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” We must use pictures and objects to teach if we want to be effective. Students will retain 85-90 percent of what they are taught if they use the five senses during the lesson.

If you do not have a picture file in your resource room, start one now. Purchase large sheets of poster board. Fold each piece in half to make a folder and tape the side with clear package tape or duct tape. Label each folder with the name of a Bible character. Ask everyone in your church to bring old literature for the file. File each picture in the appropriate folder. Place the folders in alphabetical order in a large box. We found it was helpful to have a matching file folder in the file cabinet. Activity papers and small pictures are
filed in the file folder.

Teaching with the five senses is not difficult. Open your teacher’s manual and look at next week’s lesson. List the five senses on a piece of paper and note next to each how you can incorporate that sense into the lesson. When I teach this as part of a teacher training workshop, I group teachers together, assign them a Bible story, and give them five minutes to brainstorm. It is amazing how many ideas can be thought up in five minutes. Try this at your next teacher’s meeting.

Here are some ideas we have used. Keep in mind there are many other ideas that would work well for each lesson listed.

Joshua and Caleb Sight

Blow up large purple balloons and tie them to a broomstick to resemble a cluster of grapes. Let students take turns carrying the grapes. Another idea is to purchase purple Christmas tree ornaments (after Christmas, of course) and wire them together with pipe cleaners to form grape clusters. These can be wired to a stick or set on the table. Bring binoculars or a telescope. We know Joshua and Caleb did not use these items, but it helps the children understand the concept of spying out the land.


Encourage the students to be quiet and speak in whispers. They should also tiptoe. Spies must be very quiet in order to accomplish their job.


Grapes, figs, pomegranates.


If possible, take the students outside. If you have shrubs and trees nearby, let them sneak behind the shrubs and trees. They will feel the texture of the shrubbery.


Anything associated with the lesson such as small pieces of shrubbery, fruit; scents, etc.

Have a scavenger hunt. Give each student a list (or have them make a list while you are teaching) of the things Moses told the spies to look for: (1) are the men strong or weak, (2) are the cities walled or do the people dwell in tents, (3) is there wood (trees) on the land, (4) is there fruit on the land? They can find the answers in their Bible, or you can hide clues around the room.

Parable of the Wedding Garment

Let each student make a wedding garment using a plastic grocery bag (white ones with no writing are best These can be purchased from stores that carry boxes and bags.) Trim the bottom off the bag and slit the bag up the center between the handles. The handles become the sleeve holes and the student can wear the garment. Tell the students you have been invited to a wedding and they must wear the wedding garment to attend.

Decorate the classroom for a wedding. If your church has wedding equipment, secure permission o use it. An arch, flowers, and streamers will add atmosphere to the lesson. Decorate a table with lace for the wedding cake (ask someone to make a cake), bring punch and a punchbowl, and serve mints and nuts. You can get as elaborate as you want with the wedding theme.

Before you tell the story ask one child or a teacher to remove their wedding garment. Choose a bride and groom, and have a ceremony if you like. Instruct the bride and groom to cut the cake and feed it to
each other. Serve cake and punch to each student now or after the lesson is over. When the groom’s father discovers the person without the wedding garment, he loudly tells his servants to bind the person, cast him out, where there is darkness (turn off lights), and gnashing of teeth (pre-record fingernails scratching on a chalkboard). Cast the person out of the room, shut the door, and turn the lights on.

Talk about the importance of the wedding garment (baptism and the Holy Ghost). Explain that we have been invited to the marriage supper and we must have our garment on. Discuss how they felt when the man discovered someone did not have a garment. Give students an opportunity to seek the Holy Ghost.

Wedding decorations, darkness.

Wedding music, gnashing of teeth.

Cake, mints, nuts, punch

Wedding garment, flowers

Flowers, candles

Parable of the Prodigal Son

You will need two costumed characters-the father and the son.

Before class peel potatoes (the day before is best). Bring the rotting peelings or any other smelly food to class. Make a pigpen by tying streams to four chairs to form a square. Place plastic or stuffed pigs in the pen. Give each child a pig nose or mask and let them get in the pen with the prodigal son. Have them snort like pigs or use pig sounds from a tape. Drop the peelings on the floor or put them in a bucket and let students feel and smell. Peel a potato while you are teaching and give students pieces of peeling to taste.

For older students, a realistic pen can be made by placing two landscape timbers on the floor about 18″ apart. Spread thick plastic between the timbers and staple the edges to the timbers. Spread mud on the plastic. Place plastic pigs (available at the Dollar store) in the pen. Dump the potato peelings on the mud.

Prepare a table for a feast before class. Cover it with a cloth. At the appropriate time uncover the feast.

Sin leaves us dirty and smelly. The prodigal left his father’s house to go out into the world. When we leave our Father’s house (the church) for the world, we will become like the prodigal.

Repentance and baptism make us clean.

Pig pen, pigs.

Pig sounds (animal sounds cassette from library or a child’s See & Say toy).

Potato peelings, feast.

Mud, peelings

Mud, rotting food

The subjects covered in this article are part of a “Creative Teaching” seminar taught by Sister Bohannon.