Ever have one of those days when you don’t know what to do with the kids and you’re stuck inside with a long, potentially boring afternoon looming in front of you?
That was our last Thursday and in a desperate attempt to try to come up with an idea for this week’s SMELL themed SUMMER S.T.E.A.M. Camp activity, I started grabbing everything out of the kitchen cupboards that I could that had a scent!
What I ended up with was a pile of spices (plus ground coffee and powdered cocoa) on the counter – and a very interested child. Read on to find out how we spiced up our afternoon with some math and art!
You will need:
- A variety of spices or scented ingredients from your kitchen cupboards
- A large piece of paper and a pen
- A roll of see-through, sticky contact paper
What Onetime (my 3 1/2 year old son) wanted to do at first was just smell everything!
***Now after reading a very sad news article last week about a 4 year old inhaling ground cinnamon and dying from inhaling the substance, I immediately put the cinnamon back in the cupboard. Please do the same.
Then I realized that this might be the perfect opportunity to do some sorting – so I grabbed a large piece of paper and a marker and drew a basic Venn diagram (two circles overlapping in the middle).
At the top of one, I wrote “Like” and drew a smiley face, and at the top of the other I wrote “Hate” with a sad face. In the middle circle I wrote “OK.”
Then the sniffing began in earnest! I showed Onetime initially how to place the spices on the diagram after his sniff tests, and he picked it up fairly quickly and was able to do this activity pretty much on his own.
Kids who are 3 to 5 years of age should find this activity fairly easy to do by placing the spice bottles on the diagram.
To make it more challenging (and more abstract) for older kids, you could have them place a sticker on the chart (or write the name of the spice) to indicate their decisions.
I poured approximately a teaspoon of each of his favourite spices onto a dinner plate, and cut out a large piece of sticky contact paper to be his canvas.
I placed the sticky paper face up on top of the flipped over Venn diagram, and I taped it at each corner to keep it flat.
I believe Onetime’s exact words were, “This is going to be the best art EVER! I’m going to keep it forever!”
Onetime actually worked for quite a long time on his art (for a 3 year old) – maybe 20 minutes. I can imagine an older child really taking their time to create a design or “picture.”
Now I’m not going to say it was pretty, but that’s not what process art is all about anyway.
It’s about experiencing creativity, enjoying the process, and exploring materials (in this case, with sight, touch and smell!) And this little project had tons of that!
I wonder where your child might take this idea? Wherever they go, I hope they’ll have a fun and spicy hour or two while enjoying some math and art!
Today’s post was a part of a 5 Senses Science Blog Hop that we’ll be participating in throughout June on Fridays with a bunch of other fun blogs!
This week’s theme was science activities that have to do with the sense of SMELL. Check out the other fun posts below!
How What We See Changes What We Smell – Left Brain Craft Brain
Scented Milk Carton Candles – What Do We Do All Day?
Lemon Volcanoes – Babble Dabble Do
Citrus Chemical Reactions – Little Bins for Little Hands
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