Recommended ages: 4+
Try making a scent game with different smelly items you have around your home!
Did you know that humans can identify more than 10,000 different scents? The sense of smell begins to develop in utero and is well developed at birth. The Nose Knows Memory Game asks that your child identify different smells and then pair them with its matching smell. CCRI’s Quality Every Day manager, Lee Perry, suggests playing this fun, easy game with your child. It hones their sense of smell as they notice the nuances of scents and develops their language skills as they describe what they smell.
- An even number of empty jars (without lids) or glasses
- On-hand items with strong scents (coffee, orange peels, pickles, vinegar, soap, flowers, sunscreen, etc.)
- Place each scent in two jars. Make sure you have at least 3 different scents in 6 different containers.
- Explain the game to your child before presenting the scents. Tell the child what is going to happen and what they are going to do. Some children might be uncomfortable wearing a blindfold. If that’s the case, suggest that he/she just close their eyes or hold their hand over their eyes. Make adjustments based on what your child is comfortable doing.
- Present the containers with the scents and encourage your child to sniff and identify what they think they are. Ask questions such as:
- Is this a familiar smell? What could it be?
- What does this smell make you think of?
- Can you describe the smell?
- As your child identifies the smell, hand the child another jar to sniff and identify.
- Ask if any of the items smell the same. Can they pair the same smells?
- Once your child has matched two scents, set them aside.
- Continue until all the scents are matched.
Debrief: Once the game is over, talk about how your child recognized certain smells and if each smell evoked any specific memories. Ask your child to think of other items you could use with distinct scents. You could even take a turn wearing the blindfold and matching the scents!
Pro Tip: Adjust this game based on the age of your child. For younger children, have them identify one smell without matching scents. For older children, use more obscure scents such as garlic, rosemary, and mousse. Add more scents or more obscure scents if your child needs more of a challenge!
Stay safe (and at home) and take care.