Try making scented playdough! Substituting one tablespoon of massage oil for one of the two tablespoons of oil suggested in most playdough recipes makes great scented playdough (see Scented Playdough Recipe #1). Flavored powdered drink mix, such as Kool-Aid, also creates a nicely scented playdough (see Scented Playdough Recipe #2).
What You Do:
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over very low heat until mixture is no longer sticky to the touch. Add a teaspoon of flavored extract to make fragrant playdough.
Scented Playdough Recipe #2
- 1 package powdered drink mix, such as Kool-Aid
- 1 cup (240 ml) water
- 1 teaspoon baby oil
- 1 cup (240 ml) flour
- ½ cup (120 ml) salt
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- Measuring cups
- Mixing spoon
- Hot plate
- Wax paper
What You Do:
- Stir drink mix and water in a saucepan over medium heat until steam rises. Add baby oil and stir.
- Mix together remaining dry ingredients. Gradually add to heated liquids and stir until a mashed potato consistency is achieved.
- Remove from stove. Place playdough on wax paper and knead until smooth. Allow to cool. Have fun!
Some other ideas:
- Encourage your child to use scented markers for writing and drawing activities. Create your own colored markers by dipping dried-up markers in scented dyes or paints.
- Add cooking extracts to tempera paint, then ask children to make “scent-sational” paintings. Note: these are not edible!
- Use potpourri. Your child can make her own potpourri by placing cloves, cinnamon sticks, or scented cotton balls in a four-inch (ten-centimeter) square of netting, then tying it closed with a piece of ribbon.
- Provide hand lotions by the sink for children to use after washing her hands.
- Make scratch and sniff pictures. Mix gelatin using only half the amount of water called for in the recipe, then invite your child to use it as paint. After the paint dries, she can scratch and sniff.
- Make perfume. Collect old flowers from a florist. Remove petals and place them in an empty orange juice can. Add enough water to cover petals. Put the orange juice can in a saucepan of water and warm on low heat for a couple of hours. Strain the liquid and bottle as perfume.
- Play florist! Put out flower pots, potting soil, and, if possible, discarded flowers from a florist for a realistic and aromatic touch.
- Grow an herb garden. Introduce children to various herbs and invite them to participate in cooking activities that will utilize the herbs.
- Fill beanbags with herbs. And then get to playing with them!
- Take a nature walk. Encourage children to close their eyes and try to identify the smells of nature.
- Place calming or relaxing aromas in quiet areas and aromas that encourage alertness in more active areas.
- Make smelling bottles by dipping cotton balls in extracts and placing them in film canisters. Poke holes in the lids. Create two of each scent and encourage children to match the scents by using their sense of smell.
- Create scented crayons for children to use. Melt old and broken crayons in cans on a warming tray. Add extracts before the wax hardens.
- Make homemade toothpaste. Add water to baking soda until you have a paste consistency. Add a couple of drops of peppermint extract.
- Plant a rose garden or a flower bed and encourage children to help take care of it.
Books for children:
Smelling Things by Allen Fowler
Nose Book by Al Perkins
Sniffing and Smelling by Henry Arthur Pluckrose
Smelling by Richard L. Allington
Want to read more?
Rechelbacher, Horst. 1987. Rejuvenation: A Wellness Guide for Women and Men. Rochester, VT: Thorsons Publishers.
Howard, Pierce J. 1994. The Owner’s Manual for The Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind-Brain Research. Austin, TX: Leornian Press.
Adapted with permission from "Start Smart" by Pam Schiller. Copyright 2009. Used by Permission of Gryphon House, Inc., Maryland. All Rights Reserved.