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Experiments: Smell

What Kids Learn

Smell is a very powerful sense. When we tune into our sense of smell, we notice all kinds of things. In addition to getting kids thinking about their sense of smell, this experiment is a great way to get them outside and active!

Just be sure to check with parents before doing this walk outdoors. If the kids have asthma or allergies to pollen, it may not be a good idea to take them outside!

How to Play

What You Need

  • A notebook
  • A pencil or pen

What to Do

  • Plan a walk for the kids. Your stroll could be inside or outside, even around the house.
  • As you walk, have the kids write down all the smells you find (or, if the kids are really young, write it down for them).
  • How many smells did the kids smell? Which one did they think was the best? Which was the worst one?

You can also let kids have fun with smell by putting different things in a bag or jar, blindfolding the kids, then letting them sniff and guess at what's inside. Try this with lemon and/or orange peel, bananas, vanilla, vinegar, onion, mint, pine needles, and pencil shavings.

Just be sure to avoid anything kids might be allergic to. Some allergieslike nut allergy, for examplecan turn into serious emergencies even if a kid breathes in nut particles. You don't want to have a medical emergency on your hands!

Reviewed by: Eric H. Chudler, PhD
Date reviewed: August 2011