What smells can you find in nature?

By Jon Attwood

The Basic Idea

Get your group to explore and collect natural objects from the ground such as leaves, moss, mud, grass, etc. in a cup. Ask them to find a small stick to stir and crush the contents in the cup to bring out the smells - also add a splash of water if you want to help. Ask them to have a good sniff and come up with a name for their natural perfume. Get the group to share the name and smell with the rest of the group.

Have a brief chat with your group about responsible collection of natural objects and trying not to pick or damage wildlife and look for things already fallen on the ground. The leader should also be aware of any stinging or poisonous plants and fungi and highlight this to the group (easiest to avoid anyone picking fungi).

Give each learner a cup and ask them to explore for 5 minutes and find things that they think will smell. Also ask them to find a small stirring stick to crush and mix what they have found to bring out the smell. If wanted they can also add a splash of water to help.

Get them to come up with a name for their natural perfume. Get the group back in to a circle and get everyone to pass round their cups with the perfume name in a carousel to share their creation. The group can then discuss what they liked and didn't and why.

How to take it even further or make it more challenging

If wanted this activity can be made more challenging for older groups by going down an Apprentice style branding approach where they can spend more time on naming their perfume and then 'selling' it to the group through exploring why their perfume is so great and what makes it so appealing to the consumer.

This activity can link to the science of smell and aromas and use it as a starting point to explore these topics.