Love that baby powder fresh scent that often accompanies babies? How about the smell of a fresh box of crayons or a fresh baked batch of cookies?
Those classic childhood scents can bring back powerful memories and can also be used to strengthen your child's learning through his olfactory sense.
Toddlers love to smell new things, from mommy's lotion to daddy's aftershave. By providing your tot opportunities to experience new scents, and talking about them as you go, you are opening the door to a whole new type of learning.
A fun way to get those tiny noses working is to visit local bakeries and eateries. Long Beach's Second Street, in the Belmont Shore area, is like a treasure chest of scents because of so many outdoor dining spots. Veer towards Sweet Jill's and your little detective will able to make predictions as to what is baking, all the way from the other side of the street. Does he smell cookies or cakes or cinnamon rolls? Walk on towards Open Sesame for a tantalizing twist of spices that will delight his senses. Head back towards BJ's Pizza and Grill and see if he can detect what type of pizza is being baked in the ovens.
Ready for a scent-sational smell activity that you and your preschooler can do at home? Head toward your kitchen and start scouring the spice rack. Grab some cinnamon sticks, a bottle of vanilla, cocoa powder, almond extract, some pumpkin spice, a few cloves and the pepper. Show your child what you're using and allow him to smell as you go.
Using either plastic baggies or small containers (think clean jam jars or film canisters), fill each vessel with some of the scents. If you're using a liquid, dip a cotton ball in it and place the saturated ball in the baggie or jar.
You can make one set of each smell or you can make two of each, and use it as a matching game. Have your tot open the baggie or jar and take a whiff. Can he name what the smell is? Can he find a match for that same smell? How about describing the smell, using words like, "spicy," or "strong" or "delicious."
Did your tot pick his favorite scent? Mix up a fresh batch of homemade Play-doh and add that scent in, while it's cooking on the stove. He'll be able to enjoy the smell as he engages in a multi-sensory play activity!
Your toddler will love the exposure to real world scents and you'll have quite the journey exploring new smells!
For a comprehensive list of restaurants and bakeries on Second Street in Belmont Shore, visit Travel Guide's site.