If you’ve ever had a stuffy nose and not been able to taste anything you understand how closely related taste and smell really are. One greatly affects the other. And if you’ve had young children you also know how much exploring happens with the mouth. How something feels in the mouth is one of baby’s first ways to explore the properties of an object. Sense of smell also develops perceptions of surroundings and early preferences.
Because these two senses are closely related we’ve grouped them together for suggestions of sensory play activities.
Sensory Activities to Explore Sense of Taste
- Work together to make a simple snack. (Tips to turn your kitchen to kid-safe play area.)
- Bake some cookies or muffins.
- Make popcorn or popsicles.
Edible Sensory Materials
- Cooked noodles
- Dry cereal
- Painting with yogurt or pudding
- Cool Whip
- Fresh fruit
Sensory Activities to Explore Sense of Smell
- Set out bottles with different scents just to explore.
- Place familiar foods in cups and identify by smell without looking.
Scented Sensory Materials
- Add scent to playdough with essential oils.
- Add cinnamon to yogurt painting.
- Add vanilla or peppermint extract to a sensory bin.
There are many ways to play that combine both taste and smell because they are so closely related. One of the best no prep ways to explore both senses is getting outside. A trip to an apple orchard or a berry picking outing allow for exploration of delightful tastes and scents.
Of course double check edible content, use safety precautions and avoid choking hazards when providing anything edible for play for small children. But then enjoy the learning that occurs naturally through some of our most enjoyable senses!
Amy is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and writer. She loves sharing what she knows about family, play and early learning. When she’s not at her computer you can find her spending family time, organizing or decorating her home, reading a good self-help book or pretending she knows how to cook but she usually leaves that to her awesome husband!