Simple Sensory Play: Scented Ice Lab

Welcome back for another day of simple sensory play with Ice! So far we have shared a tactile ice bin and vestibular ice toss.  Today we will share olfactory (scented) play ideas  you can try today! Sensory play is such an important part of early childhood. Not only can it be vital in speech, language, and cognitive development, it also plays a key role in helping children organize their world and allows them to integrate the input to develop a healthy sensory system. That is why I am excited to part of the Sensory Play Blog Hop, hosted by my new favorite blog, Sensory Activities for Kids. My goal is to bring you simple sensory play by using the same material throughout the whole series.  One material for 7 activities engaging 7 sensory systems.

Olfactory Sensory Play


Sensory System:

Olfactory (Smell)

Benefits of Olfactory Sensory Play:

The olfactory system is responsible for a child’s sense of smell. Did you know that our nose receives olfactory input (smells) and sends the message directly to the most primal part of the brain? It is responsible for moods, feelings, and emotions.

Olfactory play can provide opportunities for a child to explore scents that are either alerting or calming to their nervous system. Many children have specific aversions to certain scents and this simple sensory play can help them build their tolerance to a variety of input they are susceptible to in their environment. Scented therapy can be beneficial in calming a child during a sensory overload or alerting them when they are seeming low tone or need of arousal.  Olfactory sensory play restores emotional balance as it soothes, relaxes and increases concentration.

Olfactory Sensory Play Setup

Materials Needed for this Simple Sensory Play

Variety of Spices (we used dry and liquid)

* Lemon Juice, Vanilla, Vinegar
* Cinnamon, Salt, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper

Optional Materials


Instructions for this Simple Olfactory Sensory Play

Setup for this play idea is simple and easy. In small bowls prepare a variety of spices and scented liquids. We got ours at the dollar store because spices can get very expensive.  Place a large bowl of ice in the middle of the table.

This simple sensory play is perfect for a HOT summer day and is a great Summer Science Experiment!

Scented Ice Experiment

At first, I had the boys test each piece of ice separately to really discover what each spice did to a piece of ice. Not only did they smell, they observed the changes, the reactions and compared the variations in the experiments.

Smelling Experiment with ice and Spices

We reviewed how to “waft” since some of the scents were very strong. I like to teach them how to correctly carry out science activities.

Scented Ice Play Pepper

They noticed some really cool things! Did you know that cinnamon and cayenne pepper will stick to ice and coat it. It also takes the longest to melt. It was also fun to see how the boys used both their tactile senses as well as their olfactory sense.

ice and spices sensory experiment

We have experimented with ice and salt before, but doing this experiment with more than one spice really expanded the boys’ vocabulary and their understanding of the way liquids and solids react with each other.

scented ice experiment with spice

Next, the boys couldn’t wait to do the experiment with ALL of the materials together. This was when they got completely engrossed in the sensory play with all of their senses, especially their olfactory sense.

Scented ice lab sensory play

They squeezed and sprinkled, mixed and experimented. They were occupied and entertained for over an hour with this sensory play! What an awesome summer boredom buster!

Scented Experiment with ice

As I have mentioned before, you will need to monitor your child to determine what scent is arousing or calming. All children are different and react to different sensory input differently. For Legoman, he could not stop smelling the Vanilla (calming) yet Bones LOVED the Lemon Juice (alerting).

ented Ice Art

In the end, it turned out to look more like an art project than anything else. Both boys were so proud of their scented art that they demanded that I take a picture before the ice melted!

Did you know sensory play could be so easy and so beneficial? It doesn’t have to take expensive materials and complex plans to make it work.

 simple sensory play ice series

Click more to read other posts from our Simple Sensory Play | Ice Series! Be sure to check back tomorrow for more icy sensory play.


More Resources for Olfactory Sensory Play

Sensory Diet Activities | Sensory Smarts

Olfactory Dysfunction  | Child Behavior Guide

Bedtime Sensory Tub | Nurturestore

Follow Dayna :: Lemon Lime Adventures’s board Sensory Play on Pinterest.

Today more than 5 other bloggers are sharing their ideas for vestibular sensory play that you won’t want to miss! Be sure to hop over to Sensory Activities for Kids to read all about them.

Sensory Play Hop

Scented Lemon Rice | Smelling Bottles | 15 SCENT-sational Sensory Activities | Scented Chalk Paint | Orange Ginger Playdough

 What is your favorite tactile sensory play idea? I would love to hear! Connect with me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram or subscribe by email. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.


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4 thoughts on “Simple Sensory Play: Scented Ice Lab”

  1. Pingback: Ideas for Creative Sensory Play - The Chaos and the Clutter

  2. Pingback: Lemon Scented Rice Summer Sensory Bin Olfactory Sense

  3. Pingback: Ideas for Creative Sensory Play

  4. Pingback: 16 Surprising Things to Do with Ice (It’s Not Just for Cocktails!) - Ponytail and T-Rex

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