The Scent Guru Group's MindScent® was invited to participate in Adult Night at The Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville on February 13th, and so it was my first public event down in my home state of Arkansas. The incredible Amazeum team lead by Erik Smith conceptualized a fun, interactive activity in which five cocktail tables were set up in my area of the museum. Each table consisted of a set of different smell prompts with the scents applied to color-coded paper smelling strips, a sun-shaped cutout with a question like "What childhood memory does this smell call to mind?" or "What emotion does this smell evoke?". Color coordinated Magic Markers were placed on the table top and attendees were encouraged to write their answers to the question on that table and try to guess what the scent on the paper strip was. At the end of this phase of the activity, the attendees would open a little box that contained the MindScent® visual and fact cards for added fun and discovery. Rotating from one table to the next, the attendees would continue stimulating their sense of smell and sharing their comments and memories with each other. The MindScent® area was abuzz and I think that all attendees enjoyed reading the various comments by others before them. One response that triggered my own memory was for the smell of bread: "smells like the bread at Macaroni Grill" --where I often took my girls for family night out while living in Middletown, NJ. I'm not sure if that Macaroni Grill is still on Highway 35, but we sure enjoyed the smell and taste of their homemade bread!
In a follow up email, the Amazeum's Erik Smith told me that "it really looked like the adults had a great time last night. It's clear to us that this is a great way to engage people in communicating and sharing memories and stories with each other."
It takes these out of the box experiences to think about other ways to present my kits to the public. My creative juices are now flowing faster than my fingers can type words on this keyboard but one thing is for sure: I have not only created an educational tool for SLPs and Educators, but a social activity for people of all ages that provides entertainment, discovery and vehicle for storytelling and communication. Watching the adults at the Amazeum made me realize that no matter what age you are, there's a little kid in all of us, and the sense of smell is a way that connects and keeps us sharing aspects of our lives in a very unique and fun way.