Smelling Jars

When baby girl was 2 months old we did this smelling activity. Now that she is older and getting into everything, I wanted to put together these smelling jars. This activity allows her to experience a variety of smells to continue to support the development of her olfactory system and expand her sense of smell.

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For this activity, I used items found at home to put the jars together.

Supplies: baby food jars, duck tape, and a variety of items with distinct and strong smells. I used coffee, oregano, lime juice (on a cotton ball), vanilla extract (on a cotton ball), and cinnamon. You could use a variety of herbs, spices, or citrus smells.


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Baby girl had a great time exploring these smelling jars. She expanded on the initial activity of smelling to include tasting, feeling, and shaking the containers.

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We also used our jars as blocks. We built a tower and used the words up and on and then knocked it down using the words crash and down. So entertaining!

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Be sure to expose your baby to language while you do the activity. Explain to your baby what you are doing (e.g. “Let’s smell the coffee together!”). If your child reacts to the smell, you can comment on the reaction (“Oh, you didn’t like the coffee! Was the smell too strong for you?”). Remember, your baby is watching you while you talk and taking in everything you are saying.

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