SCENTsational activities to develop sense of smell

Numerous researches show time after time that engaging all kids’ senses helps their brain development. And their curiosity! There are so many toys that offer bright colors, wild sounds, interesting textures… and we have the whole kitchen pantry to taste. It is the smell that usually goes forgotten and ignored. It is no less important. And it is so easy to set up an activity to provide smell sensory stimulation… that every single one of my boys, in turn, enjoyed it from baby age and we’ll through early school years. General idea is simple: fill the bottles with interesting smells, set them up on a tray and get started. Having kids of different ages who like a great variety of activities, I set up two trays. Super Easy Olfactory Tray Supplies: Activities: Babies: 1. Just smell! I used to take my little ones (pretty much as soon as we settled after coming home from a hospital) to the kitchen cabinet and let them poke their curious little noses into something interesting! Spices, bread loaf, fruits – everything is exciting to a brand new little baby who is just getting used to the world around him. 2. By toddler years (and still!), all of them LOVED staying in mommy’s arms and pointing to interesting looking bottles to smell. Vinegar smells too strong, vanilla doesn’t remind grandma’s cake at all, but cinnamon does smell yummy!… Toddlers 1. These guys are ready to enjoy the Olfactory tray. They really enjoy opening the bottles, sticking their noses inside, putting it back. Again. Now the disks. “Ohhh, smell mommy, smell this! – constantly goes my two year old! 2. I tried to show the cards, line them bottles together, but at this stage they all just enjoyed the interaction with the grown-up looking bottles. Preschoolers These are ready for the cards. Smell the bottle, try to match the smell (or name on the bottle) with the name on the card. Line them up together. Clean up! That’s quite a feat for a little guy. School-age kids They love teaching the little ones, sharing this experience, providing demonstrations, and are surprised that familiar smells are found in a bottle. Matching Olfactory Tray: Supplies: Activities: Babies, Toddlers Still smelling. More interesting smells to investigate. Preschoolers, Older Kids Matching. I add each smell into two bottles. The bottles should have either different colored lid, or put a different stickers on the bottle, or just tie different colored ribbons. Kids have to smell bottles and find it’s pair. It is much harder than it sounds, but really a lot of fun!