Did you know the same part of your brain that controls emotion and associative memory also processes the scents you smell? That’s why memories—even those from decades ago—can be easily evoked by scents that are familiar to us. In this activity, your child will test out his sense of smell as he is exposed to common Christmas scents found in your kitchen. What better way is there to get excited for the upcoming holiday season than to sniff out some cherished memories from last year?
Blindfold your child and tell him he is going to have to use his sense of smell and taste in order to identify various Christmas smells.
Put each spice in front of him one at a time and have him touch it, smell it and taste it (if he wants). Make sure that if he chooses to taste it, he only puts a little on his tongue as some children find cocoa very bitter and ginger a bit harsh.
Record his final guesses before you take off the blindfold and reveal the mystery spices to him.
Discuss the strong ties of memory and scent with your child. Did these Christmas scents remind him of anything that he has experienced before?
If your child had trouble identifying many of the spices, blindfold him again after you have revealed them to him and encourage him to ace it the second time around!