I think smell is such an undervalued sense, even though it is so closely linked with our sense of taste. Smells evoke memories just as strongly as music and photographs (the smell of suncream is an instant ‘holiday’ fix, and aromas of cinnamon and dried fruits are so ‘Christmassy’) and yet we don’t treasure them in the same way. We cant expect babies to suddenly be masters of this sense when they start weaning, if we have not exposed them to it before. So, since my babies were very small, I have played the smelling game with them and I would like to share it with you here. It is essentially a way of exposing them to the wonders of flavour (through their sense of smell), before they are able to actually eat. Its a lovely quiet, sensorial activity to do and my girls have always enjoyed it. Older children can play it too, as a guessing game.
You will need:
a piece of clean fabric that you don’t mind cutting up (maybe an old muslin)
food with a variety of aromas such as: Spices, herbs, fruits, chocolate, mint, cheese.
- With the scissors, cut the fabric into small squares (about 10Cm by 10Cm). You will need enough squares for the food aromas that you have.
- Place a small amount of each food item into the centre of each of the fabric squares (one food per square).
- Tie the squares into a mini parcel with the cotton thread.
- Allow children to pick up the little parcels and smell them (you can place them in front of your babies nose if they are too little to grasp). Let them enjoy the sensory experience.
- For older children, you could label the bags (for a bit of reading practice too!), or make this into a guessing game- name the smell!