TiNY Club: Smelly Science

“With that, Omu put down her spoon and went to read a book before supper. As the thick red stew simmered on the stove, its scrumptious scent wafted out the window and out the door, down the hall, toward the street, and around the block…”

“Thank you, Omu!” by Oge Mora

We’re reading Oge Mora’s Thank You, Omu! this month! In the book, Omu makes a delicious stew. The smell of the stews wafts, or passes through the air, out of her home and to the street, where hungry neighbors smell it and rush to join her. 

Today, we’re going to experiment with some smelly science. Just like Omu’s hungry neighbors, we’re going to use our noses to track down some delicious scents!


Small bottles or cups
Cotton balls or paper towels
Coffee beans or grounds
Lemon juice
Vanilla extract
Peppermint extract or essential oil


1. Place a few coffee beans or grounds in one of the containers. Place cinnamon in another. Squirt some lemon juice on one of the cotton balls or paper towels and put it in another container; repeat with the vanilla and peppermint extract.

2. Once your smelly science bottles are ready, ask your child to sniff the bottles and guess what’s inside. 

3. Talk about how our noses are kind of like detectives. They pick up clues and help us learn about what’s around us! Noses also help us enjoy our food. Taste and smell work together to help us eat! Imagine biting into a delicious cookie without being able to smell it – you probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much.

4. If they are having a difficult time guessing, encourage them to sniff the bottle and tell you what it reminds them of. They may not be able to identify cinnamon, but might be able to tell you a food or holiday that it reminds them of. 

5. Try this with other food-related scents! 

Check out this video to learn more about how your sense of smell works!


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