Using herbs and spices are a great way of getting little ones to explore the sense of smell. They are also readily available – we just had to venture into our kitchen cupboard (and Nana’s garden) to set up our Dinosaur smelly swamp sensory bin.
Many herbs and spices do not smell until they are crushed. Instead of using a mortar and pestle, we used dinosaurs to crush the different herbs to release their fresh flavours and experience their scent.
Setting up the dinosaur smell swamp was easy. We used any herb that would emit a scent once it was crushed. This isn’t an activity you would want to go out and shop specifically for as it could be quite expensive. The only item we purchased were the mint leaves and we used them in our evening meal afterwards.
For the swamp we used a recycled meatball container and added Colman’s Mint Sauce. Cinnamon sticks were used to separate the dried mint, star anise and cardamon pods. We made prehistoric trees from toilet roll tubes and mint leaves. Two prehistoric bushes were made from rosemary and thyme – fresh from Nana’s garden. All that was left to add were the dinosaurs.
Adam delved straight into the smelly swamp and placed the majority of the dinosaurs into the mint sauce swamp. He enjoyed making the dinosaurs eat the herbs. As there wasn’t much room in the sensory bin for the dinosaurs to crush the herbs I placed additional cardamon pods and star anise in separate bowls. Adam had to use a lot of pressure on the dinosaurs to get them to crush. The smell made the effort worth it!
* A variety of herbs. We used Colman’s Mint Sauce, cinnamon sticks, dried mint, star anise, mint leaves, fresh rosemary and thyme
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