Walk Back Through Time with Scents

Walk Back Through Time with Scents

  • 30


  • Find Calm
  • Bring Joy

What you need

  1. A cloth bag
  2. A selection of familiar items e.g. Brylcreem, baby powder, Sunlight soap, favourite perfume/aftershave, lavender bag, peppermints


Smells can transport us back to a particular time… Johnson’s baby powder reminds us of baby’s bath time, or a favourite perfume or aftershave of a special evening out.

Smelling familiar scents can prompt memories and can be an enjoyable and multisensory activity. This activity can aid in reminiscence as smells can evoke powerful memories.

The Activity

  1. Before the activity put items into the cloth bag.
  2. Before the activity, make sure that you have a surface that the materials can be laid out on next to where the person is sitting.
  3. Hold/touch the person’s hand and say their name to introduce the activity.
  4. Support the person to feel the cloth bag. They can have the bag on their lap or on the table.
  5. Support the person to put their hand into the bag/gently guide their hand into the bag.
  6. Suggest to them to pull out an item.
  7. Encourage them to look at and to explore the item.
  8. Ask the person if they would like to smell the item and ask 'Do you like the smell?'
  9. Talk to the person about the item. This may encourage reminiscence conversation for example… 'Have you used this before? When did you use it? What did you use it for? Do you like the smell of this? What does it remind you of?'
  10. Ask the person if they would like to pull out another item from the bag.
  11. When the activity is complete, ask ‘Would you like to help me put the items back into the bag now?’Written by Sophie Jopling and Sarah Mousley from Kent Occupational Therapy_