Remembering With Our Senses

Our senses help us navigate our world and often bring back vivid memories and emotions. Using our senses can be a powerful way to connect with our loved ones. The following activities are for ALL age groups and can help us honor the ones we love. As always, we’d love to see and hear how you and your family are doing these activities at home together! Email your photos and thoughts about the activities to


Cologne, perfume, candles, scented oils, lotions, spices, baking or cooking

Use or recreate different scents that make you smile or bring you comfort when you think of your loved one. The smell of cinnamon, vanilla, lavender, peppermint, coffee, cookies, or your loved ones’ favorite scent can bring back treasured memories.


Candy, gum, desserts, cookies, popcorn, snacks, beverages, ice cream, or favorite meals

Taste test or try your loved ones’ favorite treats.  You could even create a new treat in memory of your loved one.  Create a new family favorite like a snack mix of all of their favorites combined.  Prepare your loved ones’ favorite meal or order from their favorite restaurant in honor of them.


Movies, television shows, pictures, art, books, sunrises and sunsets, nature and outdoors

Watch one of your loved ones’ favorite movies, television shows, or put together a marathon of their favorites.  Spend some time outdoors with your family, go for a walk remembering them, and pointing out things along the way that remind you of them.  Look at family pictures or pictures of your loved one.  Create special art pieces, photo albums, or videos with your loved ones’ favorite activities or some of your favorite memories.


Music, favorite songs, play or listen to instruments, audio recordings or videos, and laughter

Create a music playlist of your loved ones’ favorite songs or songs that remind you of them.  Play the music while you write or draw.  Play your special playlist during dinner or family time.  Talk about things that remind you of your loved one.  Listen to each other and share funny stories.  Laughter can be healing and can bring a little joy into your life.


Hugs, hand squeeze, snuggle time, special clothing, blankets, stuffed animals, smooth rocks, mementos, pets, planting or playing in the dirt

Touch is such an important part of connecting with our loved ones.  A group hug or “hand hug” might be just what you need.  Holding a special memento that reminds you of your loved one or running your thumb across a smooth “comfort stone” can help. Taking time to snuggle with your pet, a comfy blanket, or your loved ones’ favorite sweatshirt could bring some much-needed comfort.

Memorable Senses Jar: Combining all of the senses

Supplies: Small slips of paper or sticky notes, writing utensils, jar (box or container)

Give each family member at least 5 small slips of paper.  Have each family member write down different activities they would like to do in honor of their loved one.  You can talk about the activities you select as a family or place them directly in the jar.  Each family member can choose an activity that reminds them of their loved one for each of their 5 senses.  For example, smell – use peppermint lotion, taste – make homemade pizza, sight – watch “Star Wars,” sound – listen to George Strait, touch – family hug.  Each activity will go on a separate slip of paper.  One idea would be to use a different color paper for each sense.  For example, smell – yellow, taste – orange, sight – green, sound – blue, touch – red.  Fold all the slips of paper and place them in the container.  Each day you can mix them up and select one to do as a family.  You can take turns as a family selecting them.  You could also choose one from each of the five senses if desired or even make separate jars for each sense.  You can decorate your jar if you would like, put your loved ones’ name on it, or give your jar a special name.  For example, “Special Activities in honor of Gloria,” “Sensing You Are Near,” or “We Remember Them.”

Dana Minor, M.S., LPC-S, CSC

Dana Minor, M.S., LPC-S, CSC

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