Online Learning
Curriculum Resources

Five Senses Sunscreen


The five senses sunscreen activity involves exploring sunscreen using the five senses (excluding taste!).  The activity aims to familiarise students with sunscreen, and is designed to analyse sunscreen, discuss what it feels, smells, looks and sounds like, and record one or more adjectives that describes sunscreen on the template provided. It is recommended that parents/carers are informed of the activity in case of student sunscreen reactions. Students can provide their own sunscreen if required.

Key messages

  • Sunscreen reduces the risk of skin cancer, sunburn, and the ageing effects of UV radiation from the sun.
  • Broad spectrum sunscreen protects the skin from both UVA and UVB radiation.
  • It is recommended that sunscreen is applied 20 minutes before going into the sun. This allows the sunscreen time to bond properly to the skin.
  • Apply sunscreen generously, layer it and do not rub it in.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or more often if swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
  • SPF stands for Sun Protective Factor. Water resistant sunscreen SPF 30 or higher is best.
  • When the UV forecast is 3 or above, sun protection is required.


  • Activity sheet: five senses sunscreen template
  • Resource: How sunscreen works
  • Sunscreen (SPF30 or higher)
  • Petri dishes or small lids (milk bottle tops also work well)
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Correct sunscreen application poster Download
  • How to Apply Sunscreen video – Cancer Council


  1. Activate prior knowledge about sunscreen and discuss as a class.  Ask key questions.
  2. Distribute five senses sunscreen activity sheet and petri dish to each student.  Place a small squirt (about 20 cent piece) of sunscreen into the dish.
  3. Starting with the sense of smell, students smell the sunscreen and using adjectives, describe what it smells like.  Does is smell like perfume or plain?
  4. Write one or more adjectives for ‘smells like’ in the space provided on the activity sheet.
  5. Repeat for, looks like and sounds like (not taste).
  6. Finish exploring the sunscreen with the sense of touch, what does sunscreen feel like?  Students apply the sunscreen from their dish onto their arm. Discuss what it feels like.  Is it thick or watery? Does it feel slippery or oily? Encourage students to not rub in the sunscreen, and watch it disappear/become invisible like magic!
  7. Wipe hands with a tissue and write adjectives describing how the sunscreen felt.
  8. Watch video how to apply sunscreen
  9. Watch the video again and discuss what students learnt from the video.
  10. Demonstrate/role model putting on sunscreen, then students practice putting on themselves, paying particular focus on areas that often get missed, such as the ears and back of the neck.

 Key questions

  • What do you know about sunscreen?
  • Why do we need sunscreen?
  • Do you know how sunscreen helps us?
  • How often should you apply sunscreen?