Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ten Scents of Christmas - Sensory Cards

After seeing how much the girls enjoy playing with the scented playdough we made recently (and how often) I decided to create a game including some other 'scents of Christmas'. At first Bubble was reluctant to smell any of the satchets, but once she got a sniff of the cinnamon (really, who doesn't like cinnamon?!) she was right into it, sorting the cards into two piles - the ones she liked and the ones that were "too yucky". I'll be elaborating on this activity tomorrow using photo cards since most of the scents are of things that Bubble has never seen before in their natural form.

Our ten scents of Christmas:

Cinnamon - ground spice
Pine Tree - cut needles from a pine tree in our park
Cranberry - crushed dried cranberries
Clove - whole dried cloves
Peppermint - essence on cotton pad
Almond - essence on cotton pad
Vanilla - essence on cotton pad
Spice - ground allspice
Chocolate - sweetened cocoa powder
Ginger - ground

I really wanted to add Nutmeg and Cherry to this list, but was all out of both nutmeg spice and cherry extract. I think they'd be a great addition though!


* cardboard strips (cut from a cardboard box)
* small plastic snap lock bags (available at craft and dollar stores)
* marker/texta
* sticky tape
* items to fill the bags (see list above of what we used)
* needle

These sensory cards were really simple to make - I cut strips from a box we had and used a marker to write the names of our 'scents' on each one. Each scented item was added to a bag and then taped to it's corrosponding card.

The essences were added to a cotton pad cut to fit inside the bags.

I used a needle to create tiny holes in the pine needle and cloves bags, but all of the other scents easily permeated their bags and needed no piercing.

I loved this game as much as Bubble did, the room smelt so warm and festive with all of these scents in the air.


  1. I'm always looking for ideas that add a sensory component. Thanks!

  2. Great activity! I love your seasonal twist to sensorial and language skills! I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page at

  3. Another great post! Love the idea! I've linnked up to it on my weekly favorites post here:

  4. Thankyou so much for taking the time to leave a comment everyone and to Deb and Darcey for linking up (off to check out your pages now :-D). Hope you all enjoy this activity, the girls have been having a smell-a-thon again over breakfast this morning!

  5. I just found your blog on Facebook through "Teach Preschool". What a creative sensory activity! I am a children's yoga teacher and I work with children with autism and other sensory challenges-I am going to incorporate this activity into all my classes this week. I have alos re-posted the link for all my parents and other educators-thank you for all your creative ideas! :) Find FB link here:

    ~Barbara Gini

  6. Thankyou Barbara! Now following your great page on FaceBook :-)

  7. Love this approach! Thank you for sharing with us.

  8. LOVE this idea! What a practical idea =-) I am your newest follower. I'd love for you to follow me back, if you want to =-)

  9. This is GREAT! I had been wondering how to incorporate smelling activities without any jars. I will be shamelessly copying your idea on The Usual Mayhem - thanks!


  10. This is such a wonderful idea! I started setting up some salt shakers with differently scented objects inside, but was limited by the size of the holes.

  11. thanks a lot for your idea, i like it and i'll use it, i'm sure

  12. Love it! I am going to do this in December with my preschoolers! Thanks!

  13. Just found this on Pinterest. I love this idea!

  14. What a great idea! I love this. Would like to try adding visual, too, since the way the spells appear naturally are so different from their refined forms. Maybe could make a Montessori style matching game to match up scent with name with natural form? Such fun inspiration! Thanks!

  15. Thanks for a fantastic idea!