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Is your child or student sensitive to certain smells? Maybe they can smell something that you can’t, or they can’t be in certain environments because of the smell. Today I want to share some of the best activities for the olfactory system, or our sense of smell.

What is the Olfactory System?

The olfactory system, or our sense of smell, travels through chemical receptors with direct neuronal connections to limbic system (responsible for emotional memory). This is often why our emotions are tied to smells and food. 

When we eat, we smell something first. If it smells good we are more likely to try it. If it smells bad that sends a warning that we may not like it OR that it is dangerous for us to eat.

Some sensitivities for the olfactory system include:

  • overly sensitive to certain smells and avoids them
  • limited diet (gagging or avoiding)
  • explores objects by smelling
  • craves certain smells or textures
  • holds their nose to avoid smells, even if you don’t smell anything
  • avoids foods most children their age enjoy

Best Activities for the Olfactory System

  • scented play dough, finger paints, or sensory doughs
  • use scented markers or stickers
  • create smelling bottles with various spices or items to introduce new smells
  • use scented bubbles – a recipe for scented bubbles here
  • scented chewable items
  • avoid scented soaps, lotions, perfumes, and oils
  • visit a herb garden

If you are looking for specific resources for picky eaters, my friend Alisha over at Your Kid’s Table is an Occupational Therapist expert with this.

She has a FREE Picky Eating Workshop that you can sign up for here, which is a great first step.

Free Handout on the Olfactory System

I have a free handout on the visual system, along with all 8 sensory systems in these 8 sensory systems printable packet. You can access it for free when you subscribe to Growing Hands-On Kids. I send a weekly newsletter of child development tips, tools, and strategies, plus other free handouts and printables.

To get your free printable packet, put your email address into the form below. You’ll be redirected to a thank you/success page and then check your email for the free download. You’ll also receive my free sensory systems email series with more tips and ideas for all 8 sensory systems.

You May Also Like:

  • Pencil Grasp Development Handout
  • The Best Activities for the Visual System
  • DIY Sensory Tools and Activities for the Classroom
  • What are the 8 Senses?

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