Exploring Christmas Scents: An Interactive Science Activity

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This post is part of the 2018 Homeschooling Through the Holidays series.

I know Christmas is around the corner when my mothers house smells like fresh pine trees, I see the decorations and taste all the delicious cookies. Without those few simple things stimulating my senses; Christmas just wouldn’t be the same.

This year, take advantage of the wonderful things this season brings and explore them scientifically. Let me walk you step by step through the process of having your very own Christmas senses activity.

Supplies needed for Exploring with your Senses

Gather 3-5 distinct or tricky (depending on your kids) objects that relate to the Christmas season. You will have the kids exploring with all of their senses so make sure that the objects you choose are safe to touch or taste.

Print off this worksheet (FREEBIE) to record your kids findings.

Here is a list to help you brainstorm

  • Gingerbread
  • Pine Needles
  • Hot Chocolate Mix
  • Cinnamon
  • Apples
  • Candles
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Scotch Tape
  • Candy Cane
  • Cranberries
  • Oranges
  • Snow

Keep Your Supplies Hidden

This activity is only a challenge if the objects are unknown so make sure to keep your supplies covered or hidden until its time to explore.

If you have toddlers, definitely keep everything out of reach or your Gingersnap cookies and candy canes will disappear even before you are set up. Speaking from experience…

Keep your Supplies organized

I choose to use small glass jars to help isolate the smells better but you can use whatever you like. You could even just have a pile on your table if that’s your style.

Required Accessories

This one is easy, just get out bandanas or a scarf. Whatever prevents your kids from using their eyes. A toque would even do the trick, and yes, I am Canadian.

Resources for Teaching the 5 Senses

Utilize YouTube while Studying Senses

YouTube has become a great tool that we use with our lessons, almost daily. It gives me a moment to do any last minute preparations or quickly throw in a load of laundry. Quick videos are seriously a lifesaver and my kids love it. You can search for your own videos for this lesson or watch my favorite clips about senses.

5 Senses Lesson

To start off your lesson introduce the concept of the five senses. If your kids are already aware of the concept now is the perfect time to review. Turn on a quick video or discuss the senses. Before you bring out your objects cover your children’s eyes. Then one by one explore your objects by smelling, tasting and touching them.

We watched the nose video (see above for links) then smelled our objects and then recorded our observations. The worksheet has enough space for your kids to write themselves or you can dictate for them. How does this smell? Is it sweet? Is the scent strong? Familiar? You can write down their answers or have them predict what the object is. Repeat this strategy with each object. Once you only have sight left have your kids guess what the items are to see if they are close.

Enjoy a Sense filled Treat

To end an amazing sensory activity you might as well enjoy the scents of Christmas. Eat some warm apple pie with cold ice cream and drink some hot cocoa while snuggling up reading a favorite Christmas Story. Moments like these are what memories are made of. Merry Christmas to you!!

What scents reminds you of Christmas?

Author Bio:
Lindsey is the Mum of four adorable, energetic, monkey like kiddos. Her home as always been focused around Christ, learning and dance parties. Life is meant to be enjoyed so she strives to find happiness and laughter everywhere she turns. She is a planner addict, mediocre wake boarder, lover of naps and always has a Dr. Pepper nearby. She blogs at Side By Side Learning. You can find her on facebook but her ultimate favorite place to hang out is instagram.






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Hi, there! I’m Heather Bowen, and I am so glad you’re here.

My passion lies in helping homeschool moms balance marriage, motherhood, homemaking, and homeschooling all while remaining sane!

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