There’s nothing like a smell to trigger the fondest memories. One quick whiff of something familiar and we’re instantly transported back to running around in the summertime with the neighborhood kids or curled up on the sofa watching Saturday morning cartoons. Of course some scents are more memorable than others, but the power of scent and memory is beyond our control.
How are scent and memory connected?
When you smell something, it starts inside your nose and runs all the way up to the bottom of the brain, a.k.a the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb is directly connected to the amygdala, which is involved with the experiencing of emotions, and the hippocampus, which is deeply involved with our memory. Our other sense do not pass through these parts of our brains, which is why the power of scent is so strong and why our sense of smell can trigger memories and emotions.
Certain smells are extremely reminiscent of childhood, no matter which decade you grew up in. Here are 10 scents that are sure to bring back your favorite memories of being a kid.
- Pencil Shavings
No matter which decade you grew up in, the smell of pencil shavings practically defined your elementary years. Manual or electric—it doesn’t matter; pencil shavings are etched into our memories.
There’s something magical that happens when you get a whiff of Crayola crayons, Mr.Sketch markers, or dry-erase markers. You’re instantly transported back to your elementary school classroom, doodling a picture. Ahhh, I can smell the colors.
That woody aroma of burning wood that lingers in your hair and on your clothes brings back warm feelings of making s’mores around the campfire.
- New Plastic
The smell of fresh, new plastic is practically synonymous with brand new toys. Enough said.
- Freshly Cut Grass
The universal favorite smell of freshly cut grass brings up memories of running around the neighborhood in the sweet summertime as a child.
- Play Doh
Play Doh is many people’s all-time favorite scent, and it’s easy to understand why. Not only does it just smell inexplicably wonderful, but it also conjures up memories of childhood in the best possible way.
Chlorine is essentially the international scent of summer. You’d smell chlorine as a kid and just know school’s out and it’s time for fun!
Whether it’s scented erases or regular erasers, they all smelled the same, and the scent brings us back to our school days when we’d frantically erase math problems until the correct answer was practically illegible.
- Blown-out candles
This one is a given, but blown-out candles equal birthdays. Birthdays as a kid were much more fun than they are as an adult, am I right?
The strong, yet delightful, smell of burning charcoal conjures up memories of your parents firing up the grill during family barbecues and summertime cookouts with your friends. Yum!
Some scents are never forgotten, and these 10 are definitely among those. Call it the science of smell, scent memory, or whatever you wish, but one thing is for sure: the power of scent is quite extraordinary.