The sense of smell is wonderful and is often heightened with an impairment of another; sight, hearing. Smelling is a lovely and gentle activity that we can all enjoy and benefit from in our sensory classrooms. Remember to allow your learners time to inhale and respond, so make sure the activity is calm, quiet and at a slow, slow pace. You may see some wonderful communication of pupils turning their heads, or even parting their lips for more!
And here are some ideas to make smelling even more interesting…..
- Create some scent tubs (you can get tiny snack tubs from supermarkets) and have them available within your continuous provision.
- Have a massage box on hand with all your unwanted Christmas smellies. Allow pupils to smell each one, and share a response, or even a preference. Pupils can then engage in a hand massage of foot spa with their favourite toiletry.
- Create a sensory story that focuses on smells only, for example a fair, or bonfire night. 5 pages would be lovely, with different smells telling a story. If they were familiar to a pupil, or a recent event, they may share great responses. Repeat it daily for a given period and see if pupils begin to have preferences or show anticipation.
- Alternatively, just add in a few smells to a story that you are already exploring.
- Add scents to play dough for example, vanilla, gingerbread, mint. As they knead, the smell will develop and make the activity extra interesting! Link the smell to your topic.
- Add scents to water play.
- Add scents to paint or glue.
- Add herbs and spices to a tuff spot/ tray full of sand or rice.
- Create scent squares that might line your walls, so when pupils are lying down for a stretch, they can be stimulated by their environment. It may encourage pupils to move and turn slightly.
- Create a scent book, where each page has a different spice or fragrance on it. Turn the pages together.
So in a nut shell, smells can be added to any activity, adding a multi-sensory twist to your teaching. I find smells are great for lesson observations as it shows that you are really thinking creatively for those pupils who have a visual impairment, or those that need the extra stimulus to make responses. It can provide you with that little bit extra to talk about with your pupils during activities, whilst still keeping them quite straight forward.