5 Senses Activities

8 Fun Sense of Smell Activities for 1st Graders

The sense of smell, while not as important as sight or sound, is still an important sense. Sometimes our noses alert us to danger. Other times they tell us of something pleasant or unpleasant nearby. In today’s post, we will be looking at 8 fun sense of smell activities. These activities will get your students thinking about their sense of smell and what they can learn from it.

8 Fun Sense of Smell Activities

sense of smell activities

Describe How It Smells

Give your students something to smell, then have them describe how it smells. Some suggestions could be a candle, room freshener, scented wax melts, or something else that is fragrant.


Mrs. Gibson has her children sniff a strawberry cheesecake candle. Then she asks each of them to describe it. Laura says that it smells like some kind of fruit. Joey says it smells sweet. Marcus says it smells like something good to eat. And Olivia says that it smells like a fruit dessert. (Notice the children’s answers all involve something related to eating. The sense of smell and the sense of taste are closely related, as we will be exploring in the blogpost on the sense of taste.

List of Smell Words

Have your students compile a list of words related to the sense of smell. They could all work on the list together, individually or in teams. A time limit or race of some kind could turn this into a fun game.

Some word ideas for the students’ lists could be: nose, smell, sniff, stinky, fragrant, aroma, and odor. They could also list adjectives that do not specifically relate to smell, but are commonly used to describe smells, like pleasant, nice, bad, or good.

Smell & Describe

Tell your students a particular item with a smell and have them describe it in as much detail as they can. If they are old enough, they could write their description. Or they can tell it to you.


Marcus is describing how a pizza smells. He tells Mrs. Gibson, “A pizza has a lot of different smells that make up the pizza smell. There’s the spicy meat smell, and the smell of the crust, that smells like bread baking. There’s the smell of tomato from the sauce. If there’s onion on it, then there will be the strong onion smell that I don’t like.”

Guess the Smell

For this activity, you will again need some different scented items. Without letting the students know what the scent is, have them smell the items one by one. After they smell each item, have them guess what scent it is. This will give them practice figuring out what different things smell like

Draw something __

Give your students an adjective that can relate to smell, and tell them to draw something that smells like that word. You could give all your students the same word, or you could give them each a different word.


Mrs. Gibson gave each of her children the word good. Now they are all drawing a picture of something they think smells good. Marcus draws a picture of a cake. Laura draws a picture of a rose. Olivia draws a picture of a marker (she loves scented markers.) And Joey draws a picture of a hamburger.

Interested in fun sense of taste activities? Check out these 8 activities!

Guess the Item

For this activity, you will need some slips of paper with the names of different items on them. One student will draw a paper, and try to get the other students to guess what is on their paper. They will give clues describing how this thing smells. The student who guesses correctly will then get a turn to have the other students guess their word. The game can continue until all the slips have been used or time runs out. This is a game that can be played for just a few minutes or for a longer amount of time, whatever you have available in your class time.

How to play:

Joey is trying to get his classmates to guess the word on his piece of paper. His first clue is, “It smells really bad.”

“A trashcan,” Olivia guesses.

Joey shakes his head and gives another clue. “The smell lasts a really long time.”

“The dump?” Marcus guesses.

Again, a wrong guess. Joey gives another clue. “If you smell like this, your mom won’t let you in the house.”

“A skunk!” cries Laura. She is right, so now she gets to take a turn giving clues.

The Poky Little Puppy & the Sense of Smell

Teach your students other fun sense of smell activities with the children’s classic story The Poky Little Puppy. They will enjoy the story and then doing the accompanying worksheets and crafts in the activity guide.

sense of smell activities
sense of smell activities

The Scent Contest

This is probably the most involved of the fun sense of smell activities. You will need several different scents for the students to smell. Have each of them smell two of the scents. Then have them vote which scent they like best. The loser is taken away, and another scent is added.

Now the students smell the new scent and vote if they like the new one or the winner of the last round. Whichever one wins, stays, and another scent is added. This continues until one scent is the winner over all the other scents.


Mrs. Gibson has several different candles for her students to smell. The first two are watermelon and raspberry. The students smell both of them and vote. The winner is watermelon. Miss Gibson sets aside the raspberry and adds a vanilla candle. Now the students smell both candles and vote again.

This time, the winner is the vanilla candle, so raspberry is removed. The new scent is apple pie. All the students vote for it over vanilla. The next round is apple pie versus birthday cake. Apple pie is still the winner.

For the final round, the students must decide between apple pie and strawberry cheesecake. It takes a little bit for them to decide. Marcus still votes for apple pie. Laura and Joey have both voted for strawberry cheesecake. Will Olivia make it a tie by voting for apple pie, or will strawberry cheesecake be the winner?

She sniffs the two candles one more time. Now her mind is made up. “Strawberry cheesecake,” she announces. And the strawberry cheesecake candle is the winner!


With these fun sense of smell activities, your students will be learning about how their nose works while having fun. They will have a greater appreciation for the smells around them. Are there any fun sense of smell activities your students enjoy doing? Please share them with us. And let me know in the comments which of these activities your students like best!

sense of smell activities

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