This simple Christmas preschool activity with The Sweet Smell of Christmas is a fun way to get kids thinking about the signs and symbols of Christmas while building vocabulary, practicing matching skills, and engaging their senses.
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I was driving to the store last weekend with my boys (to buy more lights for our half-lit tree), and I couldn’t help but smile at their excited chatter about Christmas. “Mom, he said ‘baby Jesus’ on dere!” exclaimed Little Brother pointing to the car radio, which was playing Christmas music.
“Mom, look!” Little Man chimed in, pointing to a car driving by. “They have a tree on their roof!”
As we walked through the store, their self-imposed scavenger hunt for signs of Christmas continued. “Look! A nutcracker!…Look! A funny snowman!…LOOK! SANTA CLAUS!”
I love Christmastime, and it’s even better with little kids who make everything so magical.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons I love the book I’m sharing with you today. The Sweet Smell of Christmas is about a little bear who is SO excited about Christmas (like a couple of little boys I know). The story follows his family’s activities on Christmas Eve, and all the things he smells that tell him that Christmas is almost here. I loved this book as a little girl (I rubbed the scratch and sniff stickers off from so many times of reading it), and now my boys love it, too.
With it’s obvious focus on smells, it seemed like the perfect book to use for a preschool sensory activity, so I turned it into a “guess the smell of Christmas” game. Wanna play with your own little ones? Here’s what I did:
The Sweet Smell of Christmas
Literacy & Sensory Preschool Activity
What we’re learning:
- reading skills
- identifying the five senses (especially smell)
- word/picture identification
- The Sweet Smell of Christmas
- items from the book to smell:
- apple/apple pie
- pine branch
- candy cane
- hot chocolate
- paper bags (to hide items)
- activity cards for each item (free printable here!)
- blindfold (optional)
Preparation: Beforehand, prepare your secret bags by placing one of the items from the book inside each bag. I happened to have everything on hand already because we had just gotten our Christmas tree that weekend, and we had made gingerbread cookies the day before. If you aren’t quite so lucky, you might have to plan ahead a little to gather everything. It’s not expensive stuff…get an apple hand pie from the grocery store. Most places that sell Christmas trees will give you free cuttings leftover from the low branches they have trimmed off for customers. Most things, if not everything, can be purchased for just a few dollars at the grocery store.
Also, print and cut out the activity cards ahead of time.
- Read the story The Sweet Smell of Christmas to your child. Discuss the activities that Little Bear’s family does on Christmas Eve, and talk about your own family’s traditions.
- Point out all the items that Little Bear smells throughout the book.
- Once you have read the book, get out your activity cards. Ask your child if he/she can remember any of the items that Little Bear smelled. Turn over the cards as your child lists the items. Remind them of any that have been forgotten.
- Get out your “secret smell bags,” and explain to your child that you’re going to play a guessing game. Blindfold your child, pick a bag, and see if your child can guess the right smell. Once you have identified the item, discuss what it smells like. This is a good chance to build your child’s vocabulary and introduce them to new descriptive words.
- Replace the blindfold and continue the game until all the bags have been opened and identified. Talk about which smells were easiest to guess and which were harder.
- If you want to practice other senses, trying putting everything back in the bags and see if your kiddos can guess the items by touch…or taste!
*BONUS activity: If you print two sets of cards, you can turn this into a matching/memory game. When he saw me printing them off, that’s what Little Man thought we were going to do. What a good idea!
To download your activity cards, click the image below:
What are your favorite Christmas smells?
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