Smell and taste is very acute for a young child. This exercise helps develop the sense of smell. You can make these scent bottles very easily.
12 to 16 similar plastic or glass containers with lids (old baby food jars, spice jars, medicine bottles, or old metal bandage boxes are great for this)
cotton wool or cotton balls
6 Scents such as potpourri of flower petals, spices ( cloves, cinnamon, etc.), liquid flavoring such as vanilla, almond, peppermint, lemon, eau de cologne, perfume etc. Use any non-toxic flavor you have in the house.
Muslin materials for dry scents
How to make the scent bottles:
Put about a teaspoon of oil on a small piece of cotton, add the scent and cover with cotton. Put the scented cotton in the jar and seal. Do a second identical jar of scent. Continue until you have 2 pairs of each sent. (If you are using just potpourri make sure the jars are covered with contact paper so you child can’t see the differences visually between the spices. If you don’t wish to cover the jars, dry scents can be put into small sewn muslin bags) Sometimes potpourri can be purchased in packages that can not be distinguished by sight. Just make sure that all the bottles look the same since your child is going to distinguish the pairs by smell only. Store the bottles in a small box or container.
Presentation: Take two or more pairs of scented bottles. Remove the tops and mix the containers. Smell the bottles and then show the child how to pair by smell. Put the pairs side by side with the tops on. Add more pairs as your child becomes more proficient.
Control of Error: The last pair of scent won’t smell the same.
You can expand this lesson by planting an herb garden with your child. Aromatic herbs such as rosemary, lavender, basil, thyme are a great opportunity for exercising the sense of smell. Also, the herbs can be used to make potpourri or used in cooking lessons.