How do we smell?

Today we have been talking about how our sense of smell works.

Did you know the inside of your nose is filled with goblet cells which create mucus, and very tiny hairs called cilia. The bigger hairs, which according to my little boy only grown ups ( and by that he means his Daddy ) have, help stop unwanted particles getting into your nose.

Everything you smell gives off molecules which are very light and float in the air. When these get into your nose, they dissolve in the watery mucus. At the top of your nasal passages there are patches of neurons* which have tiny hairs called cilia. The smell molecules bind to the cilia which trigger the neurons to transfer the message to a part of your brain called the olfactory bulb which tells you what the smell is.

I wanted to get Baby H involved with todays experiment  so we decided to make some smelly play dough.

We followed this recipe on Red Ted Art to make the play dough.

Z wanted to make ‘Halloween’ play dough, so we made it black and crushed some garlic in it.

Then we gave it a big sniff and talked about the particles going up into our noses.

We also made some nice cinnamon smelling play dough for Baby H to play with.



*neurons are  cells which transmit information through the nervous system.


There are 13 comments

  1. HELEN

    oooh yum cinnamon & garlic, 2 of my favourite smells, although not sure if I’d like them together!
    Looks like baby H enjoyed getting in on the action & can’t believe how much blonde hair she has now!

  2. maggy, red ted art

    Oooh Science Sparks! Thank you so much for using our Play Dough recipe!! YAY! I am glad you liked it! And yukky yuk yuk GARLIC play dough… that is hilarious! What a fun fun activity and way to explore sense of smell.

    Thank you so much for getting crafty AND for linking to Kids Get Crafty!


  3. Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

    love the addition of the garlic – how fun & definitely a smell that is strong enough to stand out! We have been talking about spiders and my girls were so amazed that their hair on their legs helps them smell. It’s one fact that has really stuck w/them! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing on last week’s Sunday Showcase. I hope to see you share more of your fun ideas this week.


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