Touch, See, Hear, and Smell

Whether you want your child to develop acute senses or just want your child to recognize dangerous objects, Stroller Hikes has the activities that meet your needs. You can do the games individually or follow a lesson plan.

Listening and Naming
What Do You Feel?
What Do You Smell?
What is Gone?
What’s in the Can?

Lesson Plans


Lay out common household objects like brushes, capped pens, and unsharpened pencils on the floor so that your child can feel each object. Ask your child to relate the sensations they experience to previous ones. For example, you can ask your child to fill in this statement: “Brushes feel like __.” Afterward have a discussion about the names of different textures – like soft, hard, smooth, and ridged – and remind them about the dangers of sharp things. Finally, introduce the items you will use in the “What do you Feel” activity and start the game.

For the field trip, (a) take your child to the San Francisco Zoo to touch fuzzy plants, life-size statues, and depictions of hippos and gorillas; (b)take your child to the Stanford Campus to touch the garden sculptures in the free Stanford’s Cantor Art Center; or (c)take a hike to feel the sand, rocks, sticks, moss, grass, or any number of other textures in the natural world.


Ask your child about colors, shapes, and sizes. Make sure that your child knows the different colors of the rainbow, the basic shapes, and the different measuring tools available. Then have your child pick out three household objects and start the game “What is gone.”

For the field trip, take your child to the Embarcadero to look at the Bow and Arrow sculpture, the Baseball Park, or even the materials in the Mariner’s Museum.


First you can start off with the question: What do you hear every day? Ask them to demonstrate the sounds that they mention and have a discussion about how there are different sounds in this world — high, low, loud, soft — and how each object makes a unique sound. Then introduce the materials that you will use for the “Listening and Naming” activity. After you play the game, take a break. If your child still feels up to it, you can start the “What’s in the Can” game. Remind them that this is a hard game so that they won’t feel discouraged.

For a field trip, take your child to a Bay Trail hike to listen to the different bird calls at these bird watching locations.


Ask your child about the things that smell good and the things that don’t. Have a discussion about the nose and how you can’t smell with a stuffed nose, and mention that we need to take showers in order to not smell bad. Finally, introduce the objects in the activity “What do you smell” and begin the game.

For the field trip, take your child on a hike in chapparal-type regions (where it can be dry in the summer) to smell the sage, rosemary, bay, and flowers. A great example is Picchetti Ranch.

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