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The Smells of Childhood- 11 Scents That Take Us Right Back

Our lives are changing all the time and the products we use, the things we do, and foods we used to eat would be almost unrecognizable to ourselves as children. But, every once in a while you get a whiff of something from the old days and you are sent floating backwards in time to being young and playing outside or arguing with a sibling. Here are 11 of those smells from childhood- the ones that send us right back!

1) Baking Bread

If your mom didn’t bake bread at home fresh, then chances are you still grew up with this smell from your grandma or your neighbors. There’s nothing like this smell in the whole world. When you smell bread baking it just feels like everything is right.

The smells of childhood that take us right back!

Via/ Flickr

2) Cedar Chest

There was a time when a cedar chest of was on every young woman’s registry list. If you were lucky you got one- we had a Lane growing up. When you’d open the lid to get out a blanket that cedar smell would rise up like an old friend. Such a familiar smell years ago, it’s one we rarely get a chance to smell these days.

The smells of childhood that take us right back!

Via/ Flickr

3) New Baby Doll

The equivalent of new car smell for little girls, brand new baby dolls had a very particular scent.

The smells of childhood that take us right back!

Via/ Flickr

4) School Paste

That slightly sharp smell was a part of most days at school, so it became a distinct note in the miasma of growing up.

The smells of childhood that take us right back!

Via/ Flickr

5) Moth Balls

Getting clothes out of storage or opening the coat closet always meant the smell of mothballs. Our parents and grandparents used them for everything!

The smells of childhood that take us right back!

Via/ Flickr

Getting clothes out of storage or opening the coat closet always meant the smell of mothballs. Our parents and grandparents used them for everything!

From neighborhood aromas to the more personal smells inside our homes, so many smells permeated childhood.Those are just a few of the smells that take us back anytime we get a whiff of them. We may have changed how we do things, but some things never fade- like the memories of campfires and Mom cooking up a storm in the kitchen!

6) Burning Leaves

Now a restricted or banned practice in many places, when we were kids burning leaves was a fall ritual that left the air scented with the smokey smell for weeks. We also loved the intense aroma of siting in a pile of leaves!

7) Mercurochrome

Getting a scrape or cut as kid often meant that the smell of Mercurochrome was soon to follow.

8) Noxzema

The cooling, tingling skin cream has been a hit with women for decades. That cobalt blue jar would come out and what soon followed was an unmistakeable menthol smell, more pleasant than Vapo-rub, but less appealing than a cream like Pond’s.

9) Play-Doh

That salty smell was like nothing else in the toy box. We must have spent hours each week creating an army of amorphous shapes out of Play-Doh!

The smells of childhood that take us right back!

Via/ Flickr

10) Homemade Jam Being Made

Grape jelly, strawberry jam, apple butter were some of the many delights that Mom used to make back in the day. There’s nothing quite like the smell of simmering fruit for hours- it filled the house with such a wonderful fragrance.

The smells of childhood that take us right back!

Via/ Flickr

11) Burnt Marshmallows

Marshmallows being toasted over an open fire on a stick, some of them getting burned, maybe there would be hot dogs, too! Raise your hand if you like your marshmallows extra charred!

The smells of childhood that take us right back!

Via/ Flickr

Not only were they powerful scents at the time, but smelling them again now will often bring back a flood of memories. Scent has been shown to be highly linked with the parts of the brain that control emotion, so it’s no surprise that these make us long for sunny fall afternoons burning leaves and trips to Grandma’s when we were young!

Click here for 9 recipes for our favorite childhood treats!

These 9 Recipes Will Take You Right Back!: Click “Next Page” below!

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