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Your senses

taste; tongue; sight; eyes; ears; hearing; touch; skin; sensors; nose; smell;


What are the senses?

Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting are 5 of the senses.

our senses

Our bodies are so amazing that senses can combine to give us a fuller experience.

Have you ever come home and smelt food cooking? Even before you start eating you can almost taste it can't you?

Of course sometimes if there is a really terrible smell like fertilizer on the paddocks in the country or in your garden, you can almost taste that too! Not so good!


eyes have two different types of sensorsOur senses work because we have sensors all over our bodies. Each sensor can detect only the sensation it is supposed to detect.

The message goes through nerves to the brain which works out what the sensation is and adds it to any other sensations it is receiving to get the whole picture. Like food cooking might produce a sound, a taste, a sight, a touch and a smell which combine to give you the full experience.

To give you a quick idea about sensors:

  • Eyes (seeing) have two different types of light sensors. Rods which sense black and white and details and cones which sense colours. Your brain then adds all the information together so that you know what you are seeing. Our topic on Eyes - how your eyes work can tell you more about this.
  • Ears (hearing and balance) have sound sensors in your inner ears and also sensors which work on keeping you balanced and aware of where you are in your environment. Our topic on Ears - how your ears work has more information about this.
  • types of sensesSkin (touching) has at least 5 types of nerve endings which work to give us our sense of touch.
      1.  Heat sensors
      2.  Cold sensors
      3.  Pain sensors
      4.  Itch sensors
      5.  Pressure sensors

    Learn more about your skin in Skin - it's all over you.
  • Noses (smelling) have sensors which detect chemicals (say kem-i-kals) which make up a smell. Your nose tells you more about this and other fascinating things nasal!
  • Tongues (tasting) also have chemical sensors to give a sense of taste. Look at Your terrific tongue to find out more.

But there are also other sensors:

  • Sensors in the muscles and joints tell you where the different parts of the body are in relation to each other. Try closing your eyes and then put the tips of your fingers together. You couldn't see what you were doing but you could still do it.
  • Sensors in your bladder pass on the message to say when you need to do a wee.
  • Sensors let you know when you feel hungry or thirsty.

Sixth sense?

  • Have you noticed how animals seem to sense when there is a storm coming?
  • Some people seem to be able to sense weather changes too.
  • Some people seem to sense danger before something happens.
  • Some people sense when someone is looking at them.
  • Twins often seem to have an extra sense which links them very closely with their other twin. Some twins have even been known to feel pain when it's the other twin who is hurt!
  • Other people, especially mothers and teachers, seem to sense when you are about to do or have done something which was probably not a good idea!! The 'eyes in the back of the head' sense!

What kids say

  • I love hearing people's different accents.
    I love to hear rain.
    I love to stroke animals
    I hate to see dog poo in the lane.
  • I love to smell roses
    To touch a cat's fur.
    Hate the feel of pain
    And of freezing rain.
    I love to smell lavender
    But hate the feel of mud.
  • I love to hear trees rustling.
    I love to feel water trickling on my hand.
    I hate to taste burnt food.

Dr Kate says

Dr KateSometimes people are born without one or more of their senses, or they may lose a sense (like seeing or hearing).
It often seems like the remaining senses develop more to try and make up for the missing sense.

For example a sight impaired person may develop extraordinary senses of hearing and touch, as well as memory skills.

Why don't you have a try at writing a poem about your senses? Try something like this.

I love to feel….
I love to taste….
I love to hear….
I love to smell…
I love to see….
But I hate to…..

dogs can smell food through walls

Did you know?

  • flies have 3,000 lenses in each eye
  • blowflies have 3,000 sensory hairs on their feet to 'taste' things with
  • a hawk can see 4 times the distance that a human can
  • a pigeon can see everywhere except right at the back of it's head!
  • when wolves howl together they each have a different note - like a choir singing in their different parts.

To find out more about the amazing senses of animals type 'animal senses' into your search engine.

Crossword puzzle

The words in this puzzle all relate to your senses - give it try and see how many words you can guess.

CLICK HERE to go to the exercise

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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