Kids love painting; kids love things that smell. So of course, scented painting is an amazing activity to add to any lesson about the five senses. And as a special bonus, it only requires 2 ingredients!
How to Introduce the Sense of Smell
Prepare the students for the activity by talking about the five senses, especially the sense of smell. What do they use to smell? Can they name some of their favorite smells?
Take a cotton ball with a drop or two of each of the scents and let the children smell.
Write down some of the words they use to describe the smells – and can they guess what each one is?
What materials are necessary to create a scented painting?
Any kind of paint can be used to make scented paint – from homemade, tempera, watercolors – the choices are up to you. And to make these paints smell irresistible, it only requires a quick trip to a local grocery store to get some imitation flavoring.
Are natural scents better?
In most cases, yes, natural is better. The students won’t be eating them though, hopefully, and imitation flavors tend to have a stronger scent and blend a little bit better with the paints. (If you are doing this activity with younger students that will eat the paint, try this easy recipe for yogurt paints.) Of course, if only natural flavoring is available, it works very well too.
How much flavoring is needed to make a scented painting?
It only takes a couple of drops! Simply pour some paint in a cup and add 2-3 drops and stir. Yes, it’s that simple! Sometimes paint will have an aroma of its own. A few extra drops can solve that problem, but in general, these bottles of flavoring will last through many, many art projects.
While it is tempting to use ALL THE FLAVORS, to prevent overwhelming little noses, it’s best to stick to about three at one session.
There are so many options that this activity is great to repeat all week long, using different colors and scents, or even adapted for the seasons. Try frosty mint in blues and white for a unit on Winter! Fruity scents accent a unit on farms! The only limit is your imagination!
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