Be sure to add some scented sensory activities to your list of simple sensory activities for preschoolers! We typically think of hands-on activities when it comes to sensory play. But it’s so much fun to include the other senses as well. And the sense of smell is no exception. Check out these smelly sensory play activities below!
Sensory Activities that Engage the Sense of Smell
I’m excited to join in 6 Days of Sensory Play with some amazing bloggers. Today we’re focusing on olfactory sensory activities for the kiddos. Basically, scented play and learning experiences! A few of my preschool students this year really responded to scented activities, so I have quite a few to share with you below.
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1. Our super simple spring-scented water table was a big hit. While the kids loved the feel of the water and bubbles, many of them adored the smell. “It smells just like flowers! I love flowers!”
2. Engineer got a kick out of this scented color mixing experiment! So much sensory, science and math fun in one easy-to-set-up activity.
3. Pumpkin pie painting came about when we added spices to a process art activity. The spices evoked memories of pumpkin pies during the holidays.
4. Our icy, fizzing letters have been a staple at my house for some time now. The chemical reaction released fizz and yummy scents – so much to delight the senses!
5. Around Christmas, I put together a pepperminty candy cane bin for my students. They loved the feel of the beans and corn, but the peppermint smell is what brought them back again and again. They literally played with this bin for weeks!
6. My son and my nephew helped me add a scented twist to the basic oobleck recipe. Lots of fun ensued!
7. The coffee beans in our flower sensory bin added a distinct feel and scent to basic spring play. I love the smell of coffee, but was afraid the kiddos wouldn’t. I needn’t have worried — “Oooooh, this smells like mommy!”
8. Painting with apples and spices made us crave apple pies! Such fun, and so engaging for the kids’ senses.
9. Our colorful, scented “explosions” were cheap and easy to set up. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve done these at home. Engineer likes picking out new smells and colors to use time.
10. Creating a vanilla spice writing tray combined touch and smell with lots of learning.
11. Near Thanksgiving, the preschoolers and I added pumpkin pie spice to oats. They enjoyed imaging pumpkin pies around the dinner table with their families.
12. Another fall fun scented bin was dedicated to apple pie!
13. Colorful and scented rice was a huge hit with the kiddos. They loved the feel of the rice, but the smell was their favorite! “Oh, it smells so sweet!”
14. Scented whipped cream play allowed kids of all ages to play together. Taste-safe for the little ones, with a delicious feel and scent for the older kids.
15. Oh, how gorgeous did this apple pie play dough smell! My preschoolers adored creating and playing with this scented dough.
Do you have any scented sensory activities to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below! And be sure to check out the other sensory activities from our 6 Days of Sensory Play!
More information about sensory activities and play:
- Sensory Play: Is This Really Necessary from Twodaloo
- A Handful of Fun: Why Sensory Play is Important for Preschoolers from Not Just Cute
- Meeting the Sensory Needs of Young Children is a PDF from NAEYC
Hands-On Preschool Materials
It is super important that we keep our classrooms stocked with materials that will give our students the hands-on learning experiences that they love (and need!). There are a few specific things that I always keep on-hand in my classroom. Check them out in the list below.
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- Safety scissors
- Dramatic play items
- Math manipulatives
- Dry erase markers
- Sensory items
- Play dough
- Craft supplies
- Playground balls
- Music and movement tools
- Books, books, and more books!
When it comes to preschool, this list is really just skims the surface of the wide variety of materials that can be used. The best thing about this age group is that they learn the most while playing. So, whether they’re playing on the playground, building with blocks, or creating a masterpiece, rest assured that the children are learning so many important skills, all while having fun!
Done-for-You Preschool Resources
Planning meaningful lessons for students week after week, all while balancing other teaching responsibilities and a personal life, can be a daunting task. That’s where Preschool Teacher 101 comes in to save you time!
Preschool Teacher 101 is excited to share with you some amazing lesson plans, activity packs, and much more! We offer a wide variety of themes that are frequently used in preschool classrooms, as well as some less common (but super interesting) themes. Click on the image below to learn more about our five senses lesson plans!
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