Daycare providers for child care centers like The Cottage School are always looking for new activities to share with their children, and it's ideal to find an activity that blends fun and learning. There are a number of activities that you can organize that will challenge children to identify different items by using just one of their senses. If you're interested in an activity that tests your children's sense of smell, you can gather a handful of products and introduce the group to the following fun game.
You'll need to gather a handful of colored plastic cups, a roll of aluminum foil, and as many uniquely scented items as you wish. You place each item in its own plastic cup, and then tightly cover the top of each cup with a small piece of aluminum foil. Then, you use a sharp tool, such as a knife or a pair of scissors, to poke a handful of holes in the foil. These holes will allow the scent to escape each cup, but only mildly — and this is better than leaving the top of the cup open and having a child smell the contents very strongly. Colored cups are necessary, as clear cups would reveal the product inside.
The Scented Products
As you gather scented products for the activity, think about those that have a unique, easily identifiable smell — these will give the children the satisfaction of getting some of their guesses right. You may also wish to find some scented products that children may not recognize, as these can serve as a teaching topic as you explain what each product is and how it's used. Products to consider include coffee beans, freshly squeezed orange juice, a vanilla bean, fresh springs of mint, and other similar products.
Place a small portion of each of your scented products in its own cup, and then set all of the cups but one aside. Have your children line up, and give each child a chance to hover over the cup and smell its contents through the holes in the aluminum foil. The child can then guess what might be inside. Repeat this process for each of the children, and then reveal the cup's contents — and, if necessary, explain how the product is used. Then, repeat the activity with the rest of the cups. If your group is large enough, you may to divide the class into three of four groups and set up stations throughout the room. This will shorten the amount of time that the children have to wait for their turn to smell.