After having so much fun watching the children tune in to their sense of smell at our aromatherapy center earlier this week, I had to create a follow-up sensory station with new materials.
Olfactory receptivity is a fast and lasting pathway to the brain. Have you ever smelled an aroma that instantly triggered a memory from childhood? I can still "smell" my cookie monster Halloween costume from kindergarten. I personally smell everything, and have been teased for it. My sense of smell is how I believe I categorize information in my brain. Our program appeals to the "whole" child and therefore we keep in mind that a child's use of the sense of smell also promotes specialized brain activity. There are many ways to do this, and here is one:
Essential oils of peppermint, lavendar, and orange
Apply aromas to index cards after labeling the card with the scent. The cinnamon powder can be rubbed into the card, while the extracts and oils can be applied and allowed to soak through. I labelled them before applying the smell so my hand wouldn't transfer the smells back and forth between cards.
Don't forget to add the awkward "smell station" sign that has what appears to be giant nose hairs sticking out of the nose (it's supposed to be aroma going into the nose...equally awkward!).
There are so many variations in the vehicle for delivering the aromas (cotton balls, drops in containers, scented dough, oils to paint with, in the paint itself) to where they are derived (e.g. the actual plant, the extract, the essential oil, manmade vs. natural). I might also ask the children what aromas they would like at this center. You could also make this a matching games by not labeling and making duplicate aroma cards.