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little girl smelling flowers by kk+ via Flickr

Join me each week as I explore the naturally aromatic side of DIY.
Helpful recipes for your "scentual" pleasure: from essential oils, herbs, and other botanicals to soap-making, body care products and other useful blends.

I admit it -- Diane's Avant Yard post, 75 tricks to get your kids outdoors, inspired me. It's one thing to enjoy scents, to make scented products, and to use essential oils and herbs in your daily life. But have you shared your love of scents with your children?

Inadvertently, you just may have. I know my three-year-old wanders through my garden with me, picking leaves off the basil plant for nibbling (he knows which plants are the edible ones), admiring the hard-working bees at the lavender plants, and of course, stopping to smell the roses (stereotypical, yet true).

Kids catch on, through your modeling, to the things you love. If you feel like spicing it up a bit, though, how about creating a scent hunt for your kids?


This is a wonderful seasonal activity to do with your children, rain or shine. Arm them with a checklist -- discuss the categories first -- and send them on their way (or accompany them), to find things that smell:
  • flowery
  • fruity
  • herbal or "green"
  • stinky
  • metallic
  • woody
  • earthy
  • sweet
Or, just send them out to find three things they love the smell of, and three things they think stink! It will be fun to share and discuss.

When your kids have completed their scent hunt, use the following questions as discussion points:
  • How did you decide what category to put your item into?
  • What did you like about your scent hunt?
  • What was difficult about it?
  • After discussing the scents, are there any you'd change into different categories? Why?
  • What is the most interesting thing you learned on your scent hunt?
As a result of this activity, your kids will be:
  • more in tune with the nature around them
  • more observant in general
  • physically and mentally active
  • high on vitamin D
  • enjoying the fresh air
  • able to speak intelligently about what they smell
  • confident about sharing their opinions on what they like and dislike, and able to tell you why

Maybe you're in need of a rainy-day activity. There are lots of things that smell inside your home, as well. Let's make this scent hunt a little different. Arm your kids with a checklist with categories like these.

  • something that smells good that you can cook with
  • a sweet smelling thing that you cannot eat
  • a smell that makes you feel happy
  • the yuckiest smell you can find
  • a fresh smell
  • two things that smell very different from each other
Try these discussion questions after the activity:
  • What would you cook with your good-smelling thing? (Definitely bake something!)
  • Tell me about why _____ scent makes you feel happy. Tell your kids about a smell that makes you feel happy, too.
  • What makes the two things smell so different?
  • What was the most interesting thing about this scent hunt?
There are so many varied ways to have your own scent hunt with your kids; it's an activity you could do with them again and again. The most important thing, though, is that it helps refine your child's senses and the way they talk about smell, while bringing you closer together.

  • Ellen from

    This is such a cool idea. I wish that I would have thought of this. My children are ages 6 and 4 and I think they would be so pleased with this type of activity. They also would be pleased with the amount of undivided attention that they would receive from mommy before, during and after this type of activity.

    You should submit this idea in a video form to The Baby Formula contest: an online video contest for parenting insight for ages 0 to 3. Really, everyone should submit their parenting ideas/thoughts/skill to this contest because at this point the odds of winning are great!

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