10 School Smells That Bring Back (Mostly) Sweet Childhood Memories

Judy Dutton | Aug 5, 2014 Big Kid
10 School Smells That Bring Back (Mostly) Sweet Childhood Memories

The instant I set foot in my daughter's school, WHAM! I was overwhelmed by the scent of Eau de School. It's a heady blend that brings back memories of cafeteria lunches, sweaty locker rooms, musty textbooks, and more. School scents can be powerful memory triggers, so don't be surprised if the smells in your child's school send you on a powerful nostalgia trip. Here are a few to keep an eye (or rather nose) out for this fall.

Image © Randy Faris/Corbis

  • Crayons


    Image ©iStock.com/YinYang

    This waxy scent is one of the best, harkening back to scribbling pictures in art class. And if it was a new set with 64 colors and a sharpener? Heaven.

  • Square Pizza


    Image ©iStock.com/DougSchneiderPhoto

    I remember my puzzlement the first day I got pizza in school: Why is it square? Nonetheless, it tasted cheesy, strangely sweet, and fantastic, so I didn't complain.

  • School Library


    Image ©iStock.com/Eclectic_Fishbowl

    Barnes & Noble can't compete with the musty, dusty scent of a school library -- a treasure trove of stories and need-to-know info from The Little Prince to Where the Sidewalk Ends.

  • Chalkboard Erasers


    Image ©iStock.com/mdegrood

    In many schools, chalkboards have been replaced by white boards, and this is a shame. Few things are more fun than clapping two erasers together and poof! You're enveloped in a cloud of chalk dust.

  • Pigs in a Blanket


    Image ©iStock.com/sshepard

    Yet another cafeteria highlight: mini hot dogs rolled in pastry dough! There's little not to love about this finger food; serve 'em up at an adult dinner party and we'll wager they'll be gone in seconds.

  • Playground Ball


    Image ©iStock.com/GeoffBlack

    Kickball, dodgeball, soccer... gym class wouldn't exist if it weren't for these all-purpose orbs. Their rubbery scent alone can bring on an adrenaline rush.

  • Glue or Paste


    Image ©iStock.com/Devonyu

    This art class staple also had a very distinctive and oddly pleasant smell -- so much so that kids would occasionally eat the stuff. Plus, if you "accidentally" got it on your fingers, it was fun to peel off later.

  • Sloppy Joes


    Image ©iStock.com/DanBrandenburg

    This beefy goodness on a bun is another one of those signature meals served up in school. The only downside, really, is that it squirts out the end you're not eating and makes a mess.

  • Pink Erasers


    Image ©iStock.com/russellart

    There's no math mistake that can't be undone with a rubbery pink eraser. Whether it's the tiny nub on top of a pencil or larger, they all come in handy and smell uh-mazing.

  • That Sawdust Janitors Sprinkle on Puke


    Image ©iStock.com/BackyardProduction

    Last but not least: Remember when Jimmy upchucked on his desk? And how the janitor sprinkled that pink sawdust on top? Like kitty litter, it's supposed to absorb smells, and maybe it did, but it also seemed to have a scent all its own. Still, it beats what's underneath it any day, so we're glad it's around.

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