Guessing that Smell

Try exploring objects with your child using the sense of smell alone.

Gather some household items that have specific scents your child is familiar with. Spices (like cinnamon), foods for baking (vanilla and lemon), and bath products (soaps and shampoos) work especially well and may be readily available. Or you can try natural items, like flowers and pine needles.

Do not encourage your child to do this without your help. Some smells, like ammonia, can be dangerous.

Have your child close her eyes as you hold the items up for her to smell. Can you describe the smell? Do you like some smells better than others? Can you guess what it smells like?

If your child enjoys this activity, play this smelling game. Gather extracts (like almond and orange), cotton balls, and small containers (baby food jars or old film canisters work well). Make two samples of each scent by soaking two cotton balls in each extract and placing them each in a separate container. Once you've made about eight to ten altogether (four to five different scents) move the containers around to mix them up.

Now, ask your child to try and match the identical scents. Once your child masters this game you can add more smells to make it more challenging. If you put the covers on the containers, you can keep this game and play it on another day.

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