Brilliant Tots

Scent & Smell Exploration For Toddlers

By August 31, 2020 No Comments

Exploring the five senses is an excellent way for children to understand the human body in a better sense, our ability to smell and pick up on scents is often overlooked and only the surface is breached when it comes to the particular sense. Learning about our sense of smell gives little ones an opportunity for hands-on experience and exploration, they will also learn the importance of the ability to smell and how it’s linked to the ability to taste. There are many fun activities to explore different scents and smells for your little ones to engage in, which is exactly what we bring to light today! We’ve got activities and games for little ones and their sniffers to explore. 

Scented Watercolours

Make homemade watercolour paints that will not only grasp your little one’s attention visually but the kinds that will also grab their sniffers by surprise. These homemade paints are safer for your little ones to paint with as they’re made with non-toxic ingredients.

Things You’ll Need

  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • Food colouring
  • Fruit flavoured extracts 
  • Ice cube tray
  • A measuring cup that has a spout attached
  • Spoon or anything to stir the mixture with


  • Add the cornstarch into a measuring cup along with the baking soda.
  • Add one tablespoon of water and stir well.
  • Drop in the desired amount of food colouring into the mixture.
  • Stir the colour thoroughly until it blends.
  • Add a drop of the desired extract and stir again.
  • Pour mixture into ice cube tray.
  • Set tray aside and allow it to dry for 24 to 48 hours.

Once the paint has dried down, it can be a tad bit difficult to get the colours working so spritz some water on the colours and it’ll work just like the real thing. Experiment with different colours and scents!

Fingerpainting & Sniff Art 

An activity that is great for tots right up to school-aged kids! All you need to do is to forage in the kitchen for the ingredients needed, and maybe your little one’s art supplies. A fun and simple way to explore scents!

Things You’ll Need

  • Jello Powder
  • Water
  • White glue


  • Mix equal parts of water and white glue in a bowl or a container of your desire.
  • Once you’ve mixed the water and glue well, divide the mixture into smaller containers, one container for each colour. 
  • Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the jello powder into each container and mix until combined well.
  • Let your tot get crazy and paint with their fingers!
  • Once their art has dried down, showcase their art in a place where it’s easily accessible for the little ones, and they will be delighted sniffing their creations.

Smell & Match Game

Put your little one’s nose to the test with this scent matching game!

Things You’ll Need

  • Foods and objects with that emit different smells, good and bad. Some examples include blue cheese, children’s shampoo, coffee grounds 
  • Jars or plastic cups
  • Plastic wrap
  • Pencil or toothpick
  • Blindfolds
  • Labels 

Game Rules

  • Before the game starts, talk to your tots about scents and smells.
  • The objective of the game is to smell each of the jars while blindfolded and then to match both jars that emit the same scent. 
  • Line the jars up in two rows, place two of the same types of foods and objects into both line-ups.
  • Cover up each jar with the plastic wrap and make a few holes on top with a pencil or toothpick. Line them up in random orders to challenge your little ones.
  • Blindfold your little ones and ask them to sniff each jar. When they get the match right, set the right sets aside until they have matched all the jars.
  • Play again with a bunch of different scents!

Self-made Play Dough 

A fun way to introduce your little ones to scents as they play with something familiar. Self-made playdough is a much safer option as to the store-bought ones. 

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons of dried spice, powdered liquids or dried flowers of choice. Some great examples are cocoa powder, cinnamon powder, dried rose petals
  • 1 and a 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1 cup of water


  • Combine the flour, salt, cream of tartar and the desired choice of dried spice/powdered liquids/dried flowers. Mix all the ingredients well.
  • Get a nonstick saucepan over medium heat.
  • Place all the dry ingredients onto the saucepan.
  • Add the oil and water into the pan.
  • Cook the mixture, stir until a dough-like consistency forms (firm but flexible).
  • Place the cooked playdough onto a cutting board until it cools enough to handle. Remember to be careful and make sure it has cooled down completely as the dough retains heat.
  • Once the playdough has cooled down enough to handle, let your little ones play with the colourful scented playdough. The homemade. playdough can easily be stored in sealed containers or plastic bags, and the best part is they last for weeks!

Taste & Scent Game 

This game will prove how our ability to taste is linked with our ability to smell, your little ones will be both surprised and amazed but the game itself will have them jumping for joy!

Things You’ll Need

  • Blue cheese (Cubes)
  • Fresh strawberries
  • chocolates
  • Raw apple, peeled and chopped 
  • Raw potato, peeled and chopped 
  • Raw onion, peeled and chopped 
  • Plates
  • Forks
  • Blindfolds
  • Nose clips 
  • Paper and pencil 
  • Glass of water 
  • Bin 

Game Rules

  • Place all the foods in front of your little ones.
  • Have them have a good look, taste and smell of all of them.
  • Ensure their palates are cleansed with water before the game begins.
  • Swap the foods around so they won’t know which is which.
  • Blindfold them and have them smell each of the foods.
  • Get them to write down their answer or write down their guesses. 
  • Swap the foods around. 
  • The next round involves nose clips and blindfold. 
  • Once again, get them to write down their answer or write down their guesses. 
  • They’ll be in shock that an onion tastes like an apple when their sense of smell is blocked!
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