What's that Smell? Exploring the Sense of Smell Lesson Plan for Kindergarten

What's that Smell? Exploring the Sense of Smell Lesson Plan for Kindergarten
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Doesn’t the smell of a certain perfume or cookies baking instantly bring back memories? Out of all the senses, our sense of smell is most linked to memory. In this lesson students will learn more about their noses. How does the sense of smell protect us? What smells do we like?


1.The students will discover that we use our senses to learn about the world around us.

2. The students will learn that we breathe in odors in the air and our brain makes sense of what we smell.

3. The students will learn how to protect our noses and how our noses can protect us.


Book: Smelling by Rebecca Rissman or similar book about the sense of smell

Miscellaneous items for smelling

Some suggestions: onion, banana, lemon, flower, permanent magic marker, orange, peppermint, pencil shavings, potato chips, coffee, pine needles, moth balls, bread, cinnamon

Baggies in which to put the items you have chosen

Small box with holes in the top for the odors to escape


Place the items that you are “smelling” into individual plastic bags and hide them from the class. When the time comes, place an item in the box and open the plastic bag so that the odor is diffused. Close or cover the box so that the students are unable to see what is inside.


Show the students the book Smelling by Rebecca Rissman and tell them that it is a nonfiction book, which means it has real information. Here are some facts to discuss as you read the book:

  • You breathe in through your nostrils, the two openings at the end of your nose. The nose sends messages to your brain and the brain tells you what you smell.
  • Some smells, like smoke from a fire, protect you by alerting you to danger. Other toxic things, poisons or rotten food, smell so bad that you will not be tempted to eat or drink them.
  • Your sense of smell and taste are connected. If you have a stuffy nose your food will taste different because you can’t smell it.
  • The tiny hairs in your nose help to filter out dust particles and germs.

Then ask the students to sit in a circle. Prepare the first item in the box. Pass the box around for the students to smell. Ask them to keep their answer a secret until everyone has had a turn to smell the item. Then ask the students what they think the item is. How many guessed it right?


Use the printable worksheet and instruct the children to draw pictures of things they like to smell and things that they don’t like to smell. How many different answers will there be? Compare!


I Like to Smell Worksheet

Fun Facts About Smelling:

  • Some animals don’t smell with their noses. A snake smells by flicking its tongue in and out of its mouth. A luna moth smells with its antennae.
  • Odor fatigue can happen when you are exposed to a smell for a while and your brain stops getting signals from your nose. So you stop smelling it.
  • Almost all animals have a better sense of smell than humans.


Rissman, Rebecca.Smelling. Heinemann Library, 2010.

Collins, Andrew. See, Hear, Smell, Taste and Touch: Using Your Five Senses. National Geographic, 2006.

Romanek, Trudee. Wow! The Most Interesting Book You’ll Ever Read About the Five Senses. Kids Can Press, Ltd., 2004.

Prochovnic, Dawn. Four Seasons! Five Senses! ABDO Group, 2012.


This post is part of the series: Exploring Our Five Senses

This series of Kindergarten lesson plans focuses on exploring the five senses. Teach your students to interact with their world through seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching!

  1. Our 5 Senses: What a Sight! A Lesson Plan for Kindergarten
  2. Our 5 Senses: Let’s Hear It for Our Ears!
  3. Our 5 Senses: What’s That I Smell? A Lesson Plan for Kindergarten
  4. Our Five Senses: How Do You Feel? A Lesson Plan for Kindergarten
  5. Our 5 Senses: That Tastes Good!