Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Feels Like Christmas, Exploring Touch

Cathy Burgess
Bay District Schools


The sense of touch helps us learn about our world by feeling it and learning the size, texture, and shape of things. In this activity, students will classify four different sandpaper shapes by using only their sense of touch.


The student identifies safe and unsafe behaviors.

The student knows and accepts the differences of people with special health needs.

The student knows that learning can come from careful observation.

The student knows that the five senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight) allow us to take in and respond to information in order to learn about our surroundings.


-Blindfolds (one for every two children)
-Charts: Singing the Senses, Five Senses of Christmas (from day 1 and day 2)
-12 pieces of construction paper 12 x 18 (one for every two students)
-Shapes Feel and Find worksheet (see Associated File)
-Book: [Touch] by M. Ruis, Barrons Juveniles, 1985 (or any other book about the sense of touch)
-Book: [Touch and Feel Christmas Board Book], DK Publishing, 2000
-Book: [Feely Bugs: To Touch and Feel], Carter, Little Simon, 1995
-Diagram of skin (see Weblinks)
-3 x 5 cards (6 cards for every group of 2 students)
-1 pack of sandpaper
-Ice (one cup)
-Package of cotton balls
-Glue (one bottle for each student)
-Santa Sack
-Ornament, stocking, tree branch, bow, wrapping paper, candy cane
-Colored tape
-Sorting mat (one for every two students)
-Brown paper grocery bags (one for each student)
-Small wooden block
-Small bouncy ball


1. Cut out the following shapes from sandpaper and glue onto 3 x 5 cards: large square, small square, large circle, small circle, large rectangle, small rectangle, large triangle, small triangle. Each group of two needs a set.(See Associated file for examples)

2. Gather books [Touch, Touch and Feel Christmas Board Book] and charts The Five Senses of Christmas, Singing the Senses and have them out ready to read.

3. Have a Santa sack ready and fill with ornaments, tree branch, stocking, candy cane, bow and wrapping paper.

4. Duplicate the Shape Feel and Find worksheet for each student. (See Associated file.)

5. Make Shapes Sorting Mat from 12” by 18” construction paper. Use colored tape to divide page into four equal parts so students can determine their borders when blindfolded. Glue on small shape in the upper left corner of each section of the paper to match the sequence on the student’s recording sheet. (Enough for each student in the class.)

6. Have large paper grocery bags for each child. Pull the bag apart at the seams and fold inside out. Then cut a large stocking shape out of the bag, with the fold forming the back of the stocking. Use the hole punch to punch holes around the open side and bottom edges of each stocking shape.


This is lesson 4, day 6 in A “Sense”sational Christmas.

Make sure you have prepared the bags for the stockings before this lesson. (See the Teacher Preparation.)

It may be helpful to have a volunteer or paraprofessional help you with the blindfold activity.

Prior experience with pattern blocks or shapes is suggested before beginning this lesson.

1. Sing and read "Singing the Senses" and the first two verses of "The Five Senses of Christmas." Review and discuss the senses you have talked about so far. (Sight, Hearing)
Talk about the Word Wall words.

2. Show the students the 3x5 cards with the shapes on them. Ask them what they see. Ask them how they knew what the shapes were. What part of their bodies did they use in determining the shapes? (Eyes)

3. Ask students what part of their bodies they would use to tell what the shapes were if they could not use their eyes? By process of elimination, students should say touch.

* Explain to students that their sense of touch comes from their skin not just their hands. With a piece of ice, touch different students on the arm, leg, neck, face, bottom of foot and ask them if they can feel it. That is because they feel with their skin, which is the biggest organ in the body.

*Show students a diagram of the skin. Tell them their skin covers and protects everything inside your body. Without skin, people’s muscles, bones, and organs would be hanging all over the place. Skin is also the best when it comes to keeping our bodies at the right temperature. It lets us feel things and protects us from getting hurt.

4. Introduce the book [Touch]. Read and discuss together. Be sure to talk about how the nerves in your skin send messages to the brain to tell whether something is hot, cold, smooth, rough, bumpy, slippery, etc.

5. Hold up the shape cards. Using the sense of sight, have a student classify the shape cards onto a sorting mat. Ask students if this was a difficult task. Have them tell why or why not. Some formative feedback may sound like this: You are correct! That was easy because you used your eyes! Corrective feedback: You are on the right track, but let’s think about that. Was it hard when you used your eyes? Ok, now you are correct.

6. Tell students they will each have a turn to classify the shape cards by placing them in the correct section of their sorting mats blindfolded. Organize students into groups of two by numbering off “1, then 2.” While blindfolded, let each student feel the shape on each card and put it into the appropriate section of his or her sorting mat. When the first one in the group is done, the other partner takes his/her turn.

7. After students have finished each set of cards, have them draw the shapes they classified in each section, whether they are right or wrong. Ask: Were there any errors in classifying the shapes? Which shape was the easiest to classify? Why? Which one was the most difficult? Why? What were the similarities and the differences in the shapes?

8. Ask: Is there a time when you used only one sense by itself? Explain. (Yes, students only used the sense of touch because they were blindfolded!)

9. Now sing and practice the motions to the third verse for "Five Senses of Christmas Song," "Feels Like Christmas." Then sing the whole song until students become familiar with it.

10. Ask if there are any new words from this lesson that need to be added to the word bank and word wall. (Some suggestions maybe: skin, nerve, feelings, and brain.) Ask: What do you feel with? (Skin) How does your sense of touch keep you safe? (It sends messages to the brain to keep you from touching something that is too hot or cold or sharp.)

11. Now tell students they are going make Christmas stockings. Show them a completed one for an example. Pass out the paper bag stocking shapes that have holes already punched. (see preparation) Students are to lace their stocking shapes with red or green yarn. Glue cotton at the top of the stocking and have students write their names in glue and sprinkle on the glue. Talk about how soft the cotton feels and how rough the glitter feels. Ask them how they know this. (Nerves send messages to the brain)

12. Decorate the stockings with pictures from old Christmas cards, wrapping paper scraps, glitter, ribbons, bows, stickers and markers. When students are finished, hang the stockings in the room. Ask: “What sense will students use to enjoy these stockings?” They should respond with sight and touch. (These stocking will be used on day 11.)

Lesson 4, day 7 of the “Sense”sational Christmas unit.

1. Sing and read the poems and songs learned in previous lessons "Singing the Senses," "Five Senses of Christmas." Review the sense of seeing, hearing, and touching. Ask what students learned about the sense of touch yesterday. They should say they feel with their skin. The skin organ is the largest in the body. It protects them from danger.

*Make a pattern with the sandpaper cards. Circle, square, circle, square… and have students identify the patterns. Then blindfold one student and make another pattern. Have that student use his/her sense of touch to tell you what the pattern is.

*Blindfold other students and let them feel an object such as a block, ball, or eraser and let them tell you what it is using their sense of touch. Talk about how important the sense of touch is when learning about the world.

2. Talk about physical handicaps for people who have sensory loss such as paraplegics people without the use of their lower half of the body. Also talk about quadriplegics, people who have loss of both arms and legs. They have no sense of touch or feeling there. Show pictures and tell students not to worry, but that is the reason teachers and parents talk about safety so much.

*(I always tell them about a friend of mine who was out with his friends playing around at night and jumped off a water slide in a lake instead of going down like he was supposed to. He broke his neck, became a quadriplegic and to this day is in a wheel chair. Now this person was real brave and it didn’t keep him from being involved with our youth group at church. We always tried really hard to include him in all of our activities like: Making sure he could get from his car into the building, pushing him from one room to another, and by making sure he could get on and off the bus when we took trips.

*I also knew a child who jumped off a trampoline the wrong way and became a paraplegic and couldn’t use his legs at all.) Talk about other safety issues like: crossing the street, diving into shallow water, riding bikes, seat belts, fire safety, etc. (The students will bring up many other topics.) See Assessment section of lesson plan.

3. Now talk about how students can include people with special health needs in their daily activities. We should accept them with their differences by including them in our activites. How can we do this? How could you involve someone in a wheel chair at PE? (Volunteer to push them outside; make sure they can get to the places they need to.

*You could pretend to be their legs and run for them. Since they can’t run and do the activities, maybe they could help others remember the rules or be the timekeeper.) Include what you could do playing at home, in the neighborhood, and at school. (Make sure they can get around by offering to push their wheelchair, pretend to be their legs and run for them, offer to get their books and backpack where they need to go.) See Assessment section of the lesson plan.

4. Read the [Touch and Feel Christmas Board Book]. Discuss the different textures in the book: rough, smooth, soft, hard, bumpy, and sticky. Ask how do students know this? Yes, messages are sent to our brain and that’s how your skin keeps you safe. As you read along, emphasize how the text matches the pictures on the page. Ask: If we added a page to this book that included a snowman, what would the picture have to be? Very good, it must be a snowman. How would that make you feel? (See the Assessment section of the lesson plan.)

5. Hold up the Santa sack. Ask different students to come up and feel an object in the bag, describe it to the group and have them guess what it is. Do this for the ornament, stocking, tree branch, candy cane, bow and wrapping paper. Encourage them to describe the object using the sense of touch only.

6. Now pass out the Santa Bear, Santa Bear Use Your Five Senses book. (see extensions) Read the book from the beginning. Pausing at the blanks. Be sure students are pointing to the words for one-to one correspondence.

* Now turn to page 6 – Listen to the words as I read them. What goes in the first blank after Santa Bear, __________? Please write it.

*What goes after I______________? Please write it.

*Where can you find the spelling? Now complete the rest of the sentence. Think of the words in your head and write the sounds you hear or dictate your words to your teacher.

*Draw and color something you feel at Christmas. You must draw something other than the branch of a Christmas tree. Does everyone see the hand in Santa’s sack? Why is it there? (Yes, it is a picture clue) Make sure the picture and words you wrote match.

*Circulate and give formative feedback. Redirect those who need more help. (See Assessment section for more information.) Remember this is a Summative Assessment to be scored when all pages are completed, so students should be encouraged to do their best with little help from the teacher.

7. Take up Santa Bear books.


Day 6
Formatively assess students’ knowledge of the five senses and how they allow us to take in and respond to information in order to learn about our surroundings by specifically looking for oral responses in #10 in the procedure section. Specifically listen for answers that the skin is what a person feels with and it sends messages to the brain to keep you safe.

Day 7
Formatively assess students’ knowledge of the five senses and how they allow us to take in and respond to information in order to learn about our surroundings by specifically looking for oral responses in #4 in the procedure section. The nerves in the skin take messages to the brain. The teacher formatively assesses students identifying safe and unsafe behaviors and knows and accepts the differences of people with special health needs by listening to oral answers in #2 and #3 in the procedures section. Look for answers on bicycle safety, diving, jumping on trampolines. Also answers on how to help students at PE or others in their neighborhood.
Formatively assess the students' understanding that illustrations reinforce the information in a text by oral answers given in procedure #4. Specifically the answer must be a snowman to match the text to a picture.


The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files, (if any).

Art center: Set out red and green play dough plus cookie cutters, rolling pins and other kitchen gadgets for the children to use to reinforce the sense of touch.

Science center: Move the shape cards and mats over to the science center for students to explore.

You may consider asking a handicap person to visit the classroom or even bring in a wheel chair.

Turn the lights out, put on soft Christmas music and have the students close their eyes. Tell students it is going to snow on them. Then go around and drop kleenex tissues on them. Then have a mini snowball fight!

Web Links

This is a good place for teacher to learn more about skin as an organ and what it does.
Kids Health

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