What is a busy bag that will help my toddler develop a strong sense of smell?
I’ve wanted to do a smell matching activity with Smiley Man for some time now and I figured turning it into a busy bag would be the perfect way to do that. This busy bag is great for developing a stronger and more discerning sense of smell, which I am really excited for Smiley Man to get! To make this busy bag, you’ll only need a few materials.
I used salt and pepper shakers for my containers because they have holes in the top, which is perfect for smelling. However, you could use any container with holes in the top or with an easily removable lid. Look around your house and see what you have. You probably already have something that will work great.
First, get your 6 cotton balls and add your smells to them. You only need 3 smells and you will put each smell on 2 cotton balls so that each smell has a match. I used lemon, peppermint, and serenity (which mostly smells like lavender) essential oils to scent my cotton balls. I suggest using 3-5 drops of essential oils* per cotton ball.
Essential oils work great to scent the cotton balls because they won’t color the cotton balls and give a visual clue. You don’t have to use essential oils though. You could use spices like cinnamon, curry, rosemary, etc. You could also use cooking extracts like vanilla extract, almond extract, maple extract, etc. You could even dip your cotton balls in melted candle (scented) or Scentsy wax. Just use whatever you have lying around and remember to make sure all three smells are different.
Next, put one cotton ball in each container. I added some masking tape to the tops of my smell bottles so the smells don’t combine in the busy bag. To play, just have your toddler smell the containers and try to find the container that has a matching smell.
*A quick side note about essential oils: I use doTERRA essential oils, which are certified pure therapeutic grade oils. I use them for medicinal purposes which I won’t go into because that isn’t the purpose of this blog. These essential oils are quite expensive, which is fine for what I use them for, but I would not recommend buying doTERRA oils if you’re just going to use them for their scent. You can buy cheap essential oils from craft stores, I think Walmart, and even from amazon. These cheap oils don’t really have any healing properties, but they’ll work great for this busy bag. If you do have any questions about doTERRA or essential oils in general, feel free to email me (email@example.com ), but just know that I won’t be posting any essential oil information on this blog.
*Want to see more themed activities like this for toddlers or preschoolers? Check out our store page where our toddler and preschool series are compiled into Activity Packs for only $1.99! The Activity Packs are full of lesson plans, printables, and a curriculum guide.
We’ve found some fun people with great linky parties. You might just see this post linked up on one of these amazing sites!
No Time for Flashcards, Train Up a Child, Teach Beside Me, 1+1+1=1, Living Montessori Now, In Lieu of Preschool, ABC & 123, Sun Scholars, All Our Days, Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails, Homeschool Creations, 123 Homeschool 4 Me, Teaching Mama.