Wondering how to DIY montessori smelling bottles? Or what to put in smelling jars? I got you covered in today's post!
This is a montessori sensorial activity actually that builds on vocabulary, exploring new foods, and their sense of smell of course. You can buy smelling bottles here – or you can DIY your own like I did in the fall sensory bottles tutorial below. This is a great activity for toddlers, picky eaters, and preschoolers.
Youtube Montessori Fall Sensory Bottles Tutorial:
Fall Smelling Jars Supplies:
- Amber jars (can you solo cups or dixie cups if you don't have)
- Fall scents (look in your spice cabinet or in the spice section of your local grocery store or using child safe essential oils – more detail below)
- Cheesecloth or gauze rubber band
- Cotton balls
Step 1: Create your smelling jars
So ideally you'll use some sort of amber glass jar for your smelling bottle, but really any container that isn't see through and you have multiple of will work.
Create a list of the smells you want to make for your child. For instance, maybe you do clove, apple, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, oranges, brown sugar and vanilla extract, etc. You could even use actual foods from your Thanksgiving meal here too when creating your fall sensory bottles.
TIP: For the “most montessori” experience all of the cups should look and feel the same – meaning they'd be the same weight. For example, instead of adding an orange slice, you'd add a cotton ball to the base and squeeze orange juice on top. Instead of just adding vanilla extract, you'd add a cotton ball and a few drop of vanilla extract to it. See video.
You can even mix some of the scents together. For instance, in one jar do just vanilla extract, and in another do vanilla extract with brown sugar.
Step 2: Cover your jars
Using cheesecloth or gauze, cover the lids of your smelling jars. This way everything really does look the same and your child relies solely on their sense of smell. For younger toddlers, you may want to use mason jars where you can twist the empty lid over the cloth as they may pull off the lid if it's just secured with a rubber band. You could also tape the lids on.
I used dixie cups and gauze. I cut a circle in the dixie cup lid so you could see the gauze and smell through it. With that said, my daughter isn't even 2 yet, and she enjoyed the mix of covered and uncovered jars (see video); even going as far as tasting some of the uncovered ones!
Step 3: Experience the fall sensory bottles!
Do this fall activity with your toddler at first. Showing them how you smell the different scents. They will probably start having a ton of fun doing this on their own. If you want to work on their vocabulary, describe what you smell to them.
TIP: You can use this smelling trick any time, anywhere! My daughter always wanted me to cut up oranges, but would never eat them. Finally I smelled one with her one day and she started copying me and within minutes started eating it. It's a practice in mindful eating!
If you try this with your toddler, I'd LOVE to hear about it! Tag me on Instagram @theconfusedmillennial!