five sense smell test Children learn with all five senses which makes activities like this simple smell test so much fun! This might seem almost too simple for the untrained eye ( or should I say nose) but this activity teaches a whole bundle of things. What I love the most about it is that it actually sparks fantastic conversations. Smell is related very closely to memory and the same way that most adults associate specific memories to smells children do as well. As they try to match the scents be ready for personal stories too.

What You Will Need

smell test science for kids

  • ice cube tray
  • perfume
  • extracts like vanilla, mint, orange etc… I also had lemonade because I wanted a lemon scent. It worked but lemon extract would have worked much better.
  • marker
  • cotton balls
  • if you want you could have coffee beans on had to cleanse the nose as well. With my daughter i didn’t feel the need but when I did this with a large group of children it came in handy.

How to Set Up The Activity

smell science
  • Start by writing the name of what the scent is on the bottom of the ice cube tray.
  • Next add a little of the scent on a cotton ball and pop it in the correct spot of the tray. I flipped the cotton ball over so it wasn’t too concentrated.smell test set up


smell test for preschool
  • Set up the scents so your child can test the cotton ball by smelling then try to point to the correct bottle.

smell test is fun

I was super impressed with how much she loved trying to match the scents up. Her little nose was pretty good at it too. When she smelled the cologne she immediately said ” This smells like Bub.” That is her grandpa who is the only man she knows who wears cologne even though it’s not the same cologne. After doing this focus a little more on scent throughout the day. Ask your child what they smell. Tuning our kids into their senses will help them learn to observe and notice details which will help them with all aspects of learning.

About Allison McDonald

Allison McDonald

Allison McDonald is a former preschool teacher and director who started her popular early education blog No Time For Flash Cards as a way to keep one foot in her professional life while knee deep in motherhood. Learning should be fun and it's Allison's goal to help all parents be able to add a little fun and learning to their child's day. Allison lives in a yellow farmhouse outside of Seattle with her two kids and husband.

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