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Sweet Smells of Christmas Book Day Tutorial

Step-by step instruction manual how to bring books to life in your home!

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie backdrop

One of the best things about the holiday season is the themed books! There is something special about saving books for a particular time of year.

A Christmas story near and dear to my heart is The Sweet Smells of Christmas by Patricia Scarry. This book is completely unique in the fact that you get to experience the story through smell. The pages host a variety of scratch and sniff stickers that take you on a holiday experience.

As you embrace all the sights and sounds of this magical season, add this book to your Christmas repertoire.

I hope you enjoy the following tutorial and glean inspiration for your own Book Day!

Wayfair Chocolate Chip Cookie Cutout


Book Days starts with the backdrop. The area designated for the theatrical reading sets the tone for the whole day.

The first thing I do, is pick the color of the backdrop based on the book. For this book, I picked red tablecloths and overlayed it with a living room scene.

Eating a chocolate chip cookie


Book Day snacks are the biggest hit of the day. One of the wonderful things about this book is that some of the featured smells are food products. Allow each child to have a taste of apple pie, gingerbread, and oranges.


One of my favorite Book Day activities is the sensory play! Every bin introduces a larger understanding and exploration of the world around them. It is ideal for infants and toddlers, but still so beneficial for Pre-K and elementary age children. One of the biggest benefits of sensory play is how it fosters social interactions between children. (Source).

Child playing with sensory bin

Here are the products used to make the Hot Chocolate sensory bin:

-1 Storage box from Walmart

-1 Large Box of Cookie Crisp from the cereal aisle

-1 Bag of Marshmallows

- 2 Plastic Starbucks Cups (Ask your local Starbucks)

- Measuring Cups & Spoons

- Baking Utensils

Begin creating this sensory bin by pouring the cereal into the storage box. This will be the base of the bin. Next, sprinkle the marshmallows on top of the cereal. Strategically place cups on opposite ends of the bin. Fill in the gaps with baking utensils, measuring cups, and spoons.

Child creating chocolate chip cookie


One of the beautiful things about kids crafts is that they can be simple without a thousand parts and a novel of instructions.

The themed craft of the day was an invitation to create a custom Christmas tree. I gave each child their own jar of green Play-Doh and sequence. It gave them flexibility to create whatever size tree they envisioned along with the ornamentation.

Tracing letters with chocolate chips

Fine Motor & STEM

Fine motor activities are important because they strengthen children's hand grips that are essential for every day tasks, such as tying shoe laces. (Source)

Some Book Day activities combine multiple elements.

The Bow Sequencing activity pairs fine motor skills with STEM concepts. This simple activity involves a strip of poster board and gift bows. Each child is instructed to make a pattern using the bows. Patterns are a great way to introduce kids to basic math concepts. This activity hides fine motor skills by removing the adhesive to make the bows stick to the paper.

Mouse hat

Loose Parts

A great way to encourage further STEM thinking is through a box of loose parts. These boxes are given to kids with no restrictions, simply for the use of imagination and creativity. Some kids focus on story plots, others build things out of the pieces. These boxes can be filled with seasonal elements found at your local craft store.

Final Comments

The Sweet Smells of Christmas truly immerses children into the holiday season through the sense of smell. Make memories over the bond of a Christmas story.

I hope this post has inspired you to see the depth of wealth that is sitting on your children's book shelves! Bringing books to life at home can provide an out-of-the-box event while creating an engaging hands-on educational experience. Whether you do one activity or all five, I know the kids in your life will be invigorated to read more and approach learning with a passion. Remember, everyone has a role to play in early childhood education. Whether you are a mom, dad, aunt, uncle, or grandparent you have the ability to bring wonder through the lens of a book!

I want to challenge you to create a Book Day in your home! Let us know about it ( so you can be featured on our page "Book Days Across America."

Until next time,


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