I've always thought the sense of SMELL could be the most powerful in transporting us to another place or time. Cut grass, curry, or the smell of rain after a dry spell - these all conjure up memories for me that are deeply personal and remind me of certain times and places - my childhood, travelling in India, summer storms - SMELL can really be an effective tool in the Sensory Story kit and shouldn't be overlooked.
But how to bring smell in?
Well, firstly - as with TASTE - try to make it a nice smell. We all know seaweed has a strong aroma, but would you like it shoved in your face when you're trying to relax and enjoy a story? Much better to get a nice suncream or coconut spray if you're going for a beach (but that of course is just my opinion.)
When to bring it in - depends on your own creative craft - but I look for smells that work in places - such as the beach (as above) or flowers in the forest. Also, if there is a food element, you could consider using smell - if you didn't want to use taste (probably a good idea for herbs!)
The basic tools that I have experimented with are:
There are many other ways to bring SMELL in which I haven't used yet - herbal pouches, scented materials (you could soak in a smell the night before) soaps... anything that has a nice aroma can be used.
Scented candles are good, but be aware of little hands and fire hazards.
Basically, experiment and try things out.
Be aware that smell can be potent and leak onto other materials. If you want to keep the rest of your sensory experiences un-affected, you might want to keep your scented prop in a sealed bag or box within your story container.
Vicky McFarland is a storyteller and writer based in Northern Ireland. She tells stories all around the country as well as providing story and creative writing resources. Visit her website www.taletime.co.uk to find out more about Vicky's Sensory Stories.