I don’t want to neglect this severely forgotten sense, and this is a cheap and easy way to get toddlers learning with their noses!
Then I used 4 extracts we had in the cabinet: vanilla, almond, peppermint, and lemon. A word to the wise: use lemon extract – lemon juice is not strong enough to smell. Put a little extract on a cotton ball, drop the cotton ball inside the container, and you have a smelly bottle!
The toddlers were very intrigued! At first they were only interested in the containers… and the activity of rolling the cotton balls around in the containers.
But then I showed them how to open the tops (fine motor skills! Yay!) and smell what was inside. They also got a lesson in how to sniff with their noses, since half of them were blowing out instead of exhaling, and several were trying to taste it with their tongues.
Before long they had even developed their own favorite scents! This was a very popular activity that I left out for quite awhile, and there was always someone who would be over there sniffing vanilla or something.
This is a great activity for a study of the five senses, but it would also be fun for learning about families. You could put some of mom’s perfume or dad’s shaving lotion or some potpourri… what are some other scents to put in smelly bottles?