With the Kids

Exploring Our 5 Senses: Smell

We’re on to the next of the 5 senses in our Exploring Our 5 Senses series. We’ve posted about sight, taste, hearing, and touch. Now we are exploring our sense of smell – smelling all the smells!

Exploring Our 5 Senses Smell Tests with Kids

We’re using items we have around the house, as well as essential oils we have on hand, to see if we can smell the right item. For the results, we’re recording them in our science journal. We love science, and a good scientist always has their journal to record their findings!

Science Journal for Exploring our 5 Senses of Smell

Here’s what you’ll need for a sense of smell experiment:

  • cotton balls or craft sticks
  • smelly things – items around the house or essential oils are great
  • paper and pencil
  • optional: washi tape 

For our first experiment, we used 4 items found around our house and cotton balls: vinegar, cinnamon, vanilla, and a lemon. TIP: If there’s color on the cotton ball and you don’t want the kids to see it, you can blind fold them as they smell.

Exploring Our 5 Senses with Smells

I’ve numbered each smell with washi tape on the board. And be sure to write it down for yourself if you can’t remember which smell is which. Then hide your items and bring in the kids!

Using Our Sense of Smell with Kids

One by one, let your kids smell the cotton balls. Let them each take a wiff before they each try to guess. Write down your findings. My girls were pretty good with these smells. They knew the vinegar one right away!

Kids Writing Findings in a Science Journal

For our second experiment, we used 4 of our essential oils. I have peppermint, lemon, joy (which is very flowery), and lavender.

Using Essential Oils for a 5 Senses Smell Test

I added one drop to each of the craft sticks. TIP: add a little washi tape to one end of the stick to let the kids know where to hold if you don’t want your child to touch the pure essential oil. 

Exploring Our Sense of Smell with Essential Oils

Time to smell!

5 Senses Exploring our Smell with Essential Oils

My girls wrote down their findings, although they couldn’t guess the flowery Joy essential oil smell. They kept thinking it was basil or cilantro. But they knew lavender right away, it’s one of our favorites we use all the time!

5 Senses Exploring Smell with Essential Oils and Craft Sticks

Here are a few more ideas for items to smells to test out with your kids:

  • fruit
  • fruit juice
  • herbs
  • spices
  • mustard
  • peanut butter
  • leather
  • wood
  • soap
  • coffee beans
  • stinky socks :)

Smelling Our 5 Senses

Have fun exploring your 5 senses with smell!

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