Make your own Sensory Smelling Game, with Sensory Smelling Jars. I really enjoy it when an initial idea that I have becomes something more in the eyes of Monkey, and this time his little friend as well.  I’ve been wanting to do something that focuses on the sense of smell for a while, ever since Monkey announced one morning when I was cleaning his teeth that he uses his nose to smell. A typically off the wall random comment that had no bearing on the current activity… And it got me thinking about sensory bottles or jars in this case.

DIY Sensory Smelling Game

I had trouble narrowing it down to eight smells, because this is the first time we have done it I decided to stick with the strongest or the most usual fragrances. Hoping to keep their interest for a bit longer. The beauty of this activity is that after a run through the dishwasher to eliminate any trace of the last odour you can just keep refreshing the jar contents. Redoing it around a current interest or a theme based on an event coming up. The jars I used came from Ikea, they are just the right size and Monkey can twist the lids on himself.


The smells I used are things you are likely to have round the house or in the garden

  • Black Pepper
  • Chocolate
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Rosemary
  • Cardamon

The only one that took anytime to prepare was the lemon as I dried it in the oven. All I did was to cut it thinly and place it in the oven on a low heat for most of the evening.

When I first laid the jars out the kiddies we’re really excited. I also laid out pictures of the contents. Initially we matched the smells to the pictures, I was quite surprised how quickly they managed to do it, taking in turns to pick and smell.


After we had completed the initial game which went down a storm, a blind fold came out which was even more of a success. All of a sudden it was a lot of fun to test the mummies sense of smell! Cue laughter and mischief… Monkey had a go himself as well and thought it was hilarious… Although it’s difficult to watch the giant chocolate buttons with a blindfold on, I think several went missing…!


Some of the benefits of this game is that is quick to pull together and quick to execute when little ones attention spans are still quite short  It is also really easy to update the contents of the jars when they get use to the smells. More recently I have changed the contents to the below to keep Monkey on his toes.

  • Dried Chilli
  • Sugar
  • Clove
  • Mace
  • Vanilla Bean
  • Salt
  • Curry Powder
  • Fenugreek Seed

What items and smells would you use?



  1. That is such a fun idea – I love how creative your activities always are. I can just imagine my daughter sniffing a few of these!

  2. Lisa - Four Walls, Rainy Days Reply

    This one looks great for a quick distraction – In particular for my very short of attention span toddler! I should probably wait until this cold goes and gives me back a sense of smell, but it’s being bookmarked! Great post!

  3. What a great idea! My youngest daughter is obsessed with smells so I think she would love this game. I just need to find enough jars to put them all in but I am definitely going to do this!

  4. The L's Mum Reply

    This is such great idea. I definitely want to give at a go with my little boy, It’s such an effective way of learning and sound like lot’s of fun. Thanks for sharing.

  5. rightroyalmother Reply

    I love this. Yesterday, NG knocked a bottle of scented oil off my sister in law’s fireplace and it was SO (delightfully) smelly … it got me thinking I should introduce more smells to her. With spring nearly here, I might try flowers and cut grass and things this weekend. Thanks for the prod! #bloggerclubuk

  6. What a fab idea! Love that its so simple and easy to pull together – would be fab for my pre-schoolers, just have to watch for hayfever sufferers at this time of year! #bloggerclubuk

  7. What a fantastic idea! Love this – my little one is a bit too young for this yet but definitely something I’d do in the future xx #BloggerClubUK

  8. I love this idea. Not sure if Mini R is slightly too young yet (22mo) but maybe another couple of months and we can have a go! #BloggerClubUK

  9. Petite Pudding (@petite_pudding) Reply

    Brilliant idea and so easy to do – might try this with mt big boy and see if we can keep his attention for more than 2 minutes! Thanks for the idea #BloggerClubUK

  10. I love how you are so inventive and creative! This is such a great game for little ones to not only explore the world are smells around them, but educating them on focus ing on their sense of smell! xxx #BloggerClubUK

  11. I love this idea! A great talking point with kids as well to get them recognising familiar and unfamiliar scents and smells! #bloggerclubUK

  12. Sensory play is so important for young children. This is a another great idea, Clare! I would definitely use herbs 😉 Those jars look perfect 🙂 #BloggerClubUK

  13. THIS IS A BRILLIANT IDEA. I had to use caps to convey just how excited I am about this. I’m so gonna do it. #bloggersclubuk

  14. Fionnuala Zinnecker Reply

    This sounds like a great activity for all sorts of things as well as smell – colour, shape, what the smell reminds them of, etc. I must give it a try when Number Three is older. Thanks for sharing, and hosting!

  15. I love this game! I used to play a more primitive version of it called taste, touch and smell when I was little. I was planning to do this with Little Button, but I think I will give your version a go first. #bloggerclubuk

  16. An imperfect Mum (@animperfectmum) Reply

    Oh I love this game and adding the blindfold makes it so much more fun. Of course mummy had to have a go. My oldest has an amazing sense of smell, he’d love this!

  17. Lovely idea for an activity. My son usually really likes sensory activities but haven’t done any with the sense of smell before so might be fun to try! #BloggerClubUK

  18. Hi Clare,this sensory game is a brilliant idea and not one I ever thought to do with the children when they were little. To be honest I couldn’t trust myself to no eat the chocolate buttons whilst the children were blindfolded!


  19. I’d have to include chocolate, mint and garlic I think. My eldest has a great sense of smell, but then all his senses are a bit heighted (part of his autism). He’s usually decided whether he will like dinner or not just by the cooking smell!

  20. That’s a great idea, the kids must have loved it. I sometimes get my girl to sniff my essential oils and describe them, I hadn’t thought to match with pictures.

  21. I absolutely love this, and what a fun idea! It’s such a neat what to really help your kiddo hone in on their sense of smell, and learn the different smells of foods. This is definitely something I will be doing when my son gets a little older! #bloggerclubuk

  22. Haha Fab, I think I would be mean and put smelly socks in one. This would be great to do in school. We would definatley have a play with the blindfold! Think this is a really good, inexpensive but cool game to play with little mischiefs. You are a clever mummy! Thank you for sharing. #bloggerclubuk

  23. What a brilliant idea! My little girl has just started discovering that she ‘smells with her nose’ and tends to sniff everything- this is ideal for me to try with her! Xx #BloggerClubUK

  24. Petite Words Reply

    Ah I am so into sensory play and this is such a nice and super simple game, love it! #bloggerclubuk

  25. This is such a creative and fun activity! I can just see mine wrinkling up their noses! 😉 #bloggerclubuk

  26. emetomumblog Reply

    brilliant! i remember doing something similar at baby sensory. used to love going #BloggerClubUK

  27. I love this idea. I used to do something really similar with Baby Girl at her baby sensory class and she loved it. Need to try it again. Thanks for the reminder x #bloggerclubuk

  28. I shall have to give this game a try. Great idea. some of the smells are quite tricky to identify so I’m completely amazed that the little ones managed to match them with the pictures. So clever. #bloggerclubuk

  29. This is a brilliant idea, that’s our next rainy day stuck-in-the-house activity sorted! My daughter is Marmite mad, so I am definitely going to have to put that in one of the jars… #BloggerClubUK

  30. Laura: Adventures with J Reply

    I love this! We have these jars to hold spices and have let J smell them several times. I look forward to experimenting more with him when he is a bit older. #BloggerClubUK

  31. Double the Monkey Business Reply

    What a great idea! This is why I love reading blogs, as I would never have thought of doing this. #bloggerclubuk

  32. mumworkrepeat Reply

    Brilliant idea and one that I could do without too much organisation too – perfect! Oh I’d get some basil in there #bloggerclubuk

  33. supermum2016 Reply

    That looks like so much fun. Really gets their senses going . I was expecting to read that sneezing was followed after smelling the black pepper lol.

  34. Very cool. I hope he didn’t sneeze after the pepper! #bloggerclubuk

  35. This looks like so much fun! And my son still seems a bit iffy about what ‘smell’ is, so might have to give this game a try with him! x #BloggerClubUK

  36. This is a brilliant idea – I would never have thought of it! (I also really love the idea of having a small child who is able to identify fenugreek seed – how posh is that?! Will immediately start working on my daughter being able to identify equally impressive items!) #BloggerClubUK

  37. Becky, Cuddle Fairy Reply

    Lol you were asking for trouble with chocolate buttons & mummy blindfolded in all fairness! This sounds like such a fun game!! The jars are fab, I wish we had an Ikea near us. #bloggerclubuk x

  38. I’m definitely going to give this a go! I imagine it would be a really good activity to do with reluctant eaters too. #BloggerClubUK

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