25 - 27 Months

DIY spice paints, nature soup, and more ways to explore smell

Toddler painting on a white piece of paper

A lot of sensory activities focus on texture, temperature and other tactile properties. Here are a few ways to incorporate smell into your two-year-old’s sensory play.

DIY Spice Paints

DIY Spice Paints are a unique, multisensory way for your two-year-old to make art.

You’ll need:

  • Water 
  • Small bowls or cups for mixing the paint
  • A few spices of different colors

Choose spices with concentrated pigments like turmeric, paprika, nutmeg, tandoori, cinnamon, and matcha. 

To make the paints:

Put a tablespoon of the spice into a small bowl or cup and add just enough water to make a paste. The amount of water you add may vary from spice to spice based on the texture and how translucent or opaque you want your paint to be.

Note: some spice powders can stain, so consider protecting clothes and surfaces before you start. 

Nature Soup 

Before you start, collect aromatics like flower petals, rosemary, orange peels, and garlic cloves. 

Combine your ingredients in a large mixing bowl or sensory bin. Then invite your child to pour the water from a pitcher into the container and start stirring with a whisk or slotted spoon. The more mixing you or your child does, the stronger the smell. 

Some two-year-olds are beginning to engage in more pretend play; follow their lead if they invite you to help them “serve” or “cook” the soup. 

Cut and Compare Fruits 

Woman and toddler looking at a tray filled with different fruits

Start by smelling whole and cut up fruits and compare them with your child. Are some of the fruits easier to smell than others? A peach, for example, smells stronger than an apple. Consider buying a few types of fruit you don’t usually eat to explore at home.

Coffee Bean Sensory Bin

Setting up this sensory bin for your two-year-old is just like setting up a rice, lentil, or pinto bean bin. Pour the coffee beans into a large shallow container and add scoops, tweezers, and a scale

If the smell of the coffee is too strong for either you or your child, consider other scented sensory bins: you can add lavender to lentils, lemon zest to rice, or a drop of your favorite essential oil to some water. 

Always keep a close eye on your child while they play with these bins, especially if they’re still likely to put things in their mouth. 


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Posted in: 25 - 27 Months, Sensory Play, Playtime and Activities, Child Development

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