Smelly guessing game

This guessing game, which tests your sense of smell, is a fun one to play at a community event – and provides an educational activity in school. 

Herbs and spices laid out on a surface

The game is basically a blind smell test, with multiple choice answers. Participants have a sniff of what’s inside the covered cups and circle the answer from amongst those printed on sheets of paper.

It’s up to you which smells you choose. You could, for example, go for a selection of herbs and spices which are quite hard to tell the difference between. This might suit a group of people who love cooking.

Or you could opt for a slightly easier collection of smells. For example, orange juice, nutmeg, chocolate and vanilla. This could work for children whose vocabulary you would like to extend.

What you need

  • A selection of food and drink with interesting smells
  • Paper or ceramic cups (they mustn’t be see-through)
  • Paper to cover the cups
  • Answer sheets

How to set up the game

  1. Decide on your groups of food or drink. See our downloadable example answer sheet for ideas.
  2. Place a small amount of each food or drink in a paper cup.
  3. Cover each cup with a piece of paper, pierce holes in it (not so big that people can peer through them). Check that you can smell the item strongly enough through the paper – you may have to add more holes, or more of the smelly item if it’s too weak.
  4. Label each cup by writing A or B or C etc on the top, then lay them out on a table.
  5. Create an answer sheet for each participant with multiple choice answers. (This is optional – if you don’t want it to be so easy, simply give each person a blank piece of paper.)
  6. Invite your participants to take part! You may want to create prizes – for example, the food itself, especially if it’s something really tasty like chocolate.

Thanks to Patent and the Pantry for this lovely photo.