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Smelling Bottles

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Pairs of bottles containing various substances with distinct odors, aromas, or perfumes. The bottles must be opaque or otherwise disguised to avoid visual cues. Substances or oils may be wrapped within cotton balls and placed in the bottles. At the beginning, smells are contrasting; later, smells may be classified/categorized.


  1. Invite the child to the lesson.
  2. With your dominant hand, take one of the marked smelling bottles out.
  3. Remove the lid, smell the contents inside.
  4. Invite the child to also smell it.
  5. Place the lid back on.
  6. Take out of the next marked smelling bottle and repeat the process.
  7. Begin to form a column on the left with the marked smelling bottles.
  8. Repeat this process with all the marked smelling bottles.
  9. Take the unmarked smelling bottles out one by one.
  10. Place them on the table in a column on the right.
  11. Ask the child to watch as you will proceed by yourself.
  12. Take the first bottle in the left row.
  13. Remove the lid and smell it.
  14. Put the lid back on and place the bottle front and center.
  15. Pick up the first bottle in the right row and do the same thing.
  16. If it is a match, set it down in the front center of the table next to the other bottle.
  17. Move the bottles to the center-back of the table.
  18. If it not a match, place it to the right of the right-column, forming a temporary discard column.
  19. Pick up the coffee bean neutralizer bottle.
  20. Explain to the child that you are using this bottle to clear your nose of the other smells.
  21. Smell it and place it back.
  22. Pick up the next bottle and smell it.
  23. If it is not a match, place it in the discard column again, and repeat this process until you find the match.
  24. Once the match is found, move the match to the back center of the table, and move the discard bottles back into the right-column.
  25. Repeat this process until all the bottles are matched.
  26. Ask the child to perform the exercise.


Exercise 1, Matching


None, other than casually using the names of the smells.

Control of Error

Child’s discrimination of smell.

Direct purpose

Refinement of the olfactory sense.
Lead the child to a higher consciousness of odors.


3 1/2


Four contrasting smells such as clove, lemon, eucalyptus, and lavender.
You can use citrus, spices, herbs, teas, floral, etc.
This exercise helps the sense of smell become more intelligent.
Some children won’t want to do this exercise as the strong contrasting smells can irritate them.

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