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  • Teacher Stacey

Five Senses (Part 2) Smell

Updated: Jan 13, 2023


For teaching smell I had some fun ideas!

At the art table we did spice painting. I used fall scents since it is also the beginning of fall here, but really any spices would work. Think strong smells: ginger, cinnamon, chili powder, cumin. You will want to use powdered spices for this rather than dried leafy ones. Pour a small amount (approximately a tablespoon) of the dried spice into a child-sized bowl and add just enough water to blend up the spice. I had the children help with this process because, hey why not? Then provide small paint brushes and smooth paper (I used finger paint paper). This center was definitely a favorite and the children had fun smelling the different bowls and choosing which scent to paint with instead of which color.


At the sensory table we had fun with shaving cream. I bought scented shaving cream but you could always add essential oils to revulat shaving cream if you'd like. And speaking of essential oils I had a whole bowl of empty bottles in another area. This was one of those "no instructions needed" areas. I just set the bottles out and let the children explore. Unfortunately I don't have any pics but the children really did gravitate toward the area. They took turns smelling and asking friends to smell, I had one student who categorized each bottle in good smells and bad smells. And then at free choice I noticed many of the bottles had made their way over to the kitchen area and had become ingredients. Many people buy/sell them these days just put the word out that you want to recycle the bottles and you should get loads if you are interested in obtaining some.



At circle time we read several books on the 5 main senses. Here are a few of my favorites:


To bring our SMeLlY lesson more to life I added a blind smell test. I asked the children to close their eyes while I placed a jar or bottle under their noses. The game was for them to try to guess what they were smelling or at least tell me if it was a nice smell or a yucky smell. The children's personalities really show up in a game like this. Some flat out refuse to participate. Evidently I am not to be trusted yet! And in that case, I would never force it. Others are all in and full of giggles!

Some of the smells I used were vinegar, hot mustard, menthol, coffee, frosting, salsa, garlic, perfume, scented candle, Italian dressing, sunscreen, pepper, and peanut butter.


We had a smelly good time and hope that you do too!

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