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The Imagine Neighborhood Presents: 
Macho and the Worrycane

Macho Supreme is the toughest Space Marine in the whole Imagine Neighborhood. In this episode, he’s getting ready for the Space Marines Annual Smelling Bee! But there's just one problem: Macho is full of worries. And when Macho's worries get out of control, they become worrywarts that get bigger and bigger! Macho needs Scotty's help to calm down, talk about his worries, and prepare for the things he's worried about—before the worrywarts turn into a worrycane that blows away his chance to win the Smelling Bee!


Sometimes we worry about everything at once—even the things we can't change. But it's important to calm down and talk about our worries. Otherwise, our worries might turn us into a worrycane! And then we won't even be able to help fix the things we can change. Listen to the episode here.

After you listen to the episode, to the activity! It’s time to host your own Smelling Bee! You can compete to see who can recognize the most smells—and use your sniffing skills to practice taking slow breaths to calm down, too.  See below for more details, or download the PDF here.

Kids Listen Activity Podcast

The Imagine Neighborhood™ Activity


The Smelling Bee



-          Paper bags (or other containers)

-          2-3 smelly things per Smelling Bee participant (you can set your own rules about which smells are allowed)

-          A blindfold (optional)

-          Paper and pencil (optional)



  1. Each participant in the Smelling Bee should gather 2 or 3 smelly things. These can be good smells (like candles, a cookie, or lotion) or bad smells (like socks, dirt, or spoiled leftovers), or anything in between, as long as the item has a smell. It’s a good idea to talk together before starting your Smelling Bee search about which kinds of smells are okay, and which are off-limits (e.g. “Nothing that belongs in the toilet or came out of the garbage.”).

  2. Put your smelly items into paper bags. (If you don’t have a paper bag, you can use a different bag, or box, or napkin -- whatever you have handy.)

  3. Choose which participant is going to go first. You can cover their eyes with a blindfold, or they can use their hands. Hold the first bag under their nose. Let them take a good sniff.

  4. The player gets two guesses. If they guess correctly, they get a point! If they’re stumped, you get a point.

  5. Now it’s your turn! Cover your eyes with a blindfold or your hands. The other Smelling Bee participant will put their first smelly item into a paper bag and give you a chance to sniff.

  6. You get two guesses and the chance to win a point.

  7. Take turns until all of the smelly items have been guessed. 

  8. Total up your points and see who has the most. If you want a rematch, you can play again with the same items, or dig up some new smells and play again!


The Big Idea:

Just like Macho Supreme in The Imagine Neighborhood, you get to put your smelling skills to the test in your own Smelling Bee! And, like Macho, you can practice taking some slow breaths -- both when you’re sniffing items for the Smelling Bee, and when you need to calm down your body or feel less worried. Breathing deeply into your belly helps your heart to slow down, your body to feel more relaxed, and your worries to feel more manageable. 

You can try it! Imagine you’re smelling something delicious - like some hot, tasty soup. Put your hands on your belly. Smell the soup by breathing in deeply through your nose. Feel your stomach expand and push up against your hands. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth - like you’re blowing on the hot soup to cool it down! Practice this a few times. Breathe in through your nose and smell that yummy soup. Then breathe out through your mouth and cool it down. 

This is a great trick both for using your smelling skills, and for calming your body down when you’re feeling overwhelmed or worried. Try talking to your grown-up, or your Smelling Bee competitor: was it easy to practice deep breathing? How did your body and mind feel after those deep breaths? What kind of delicious soup did you imagine smelling?

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