Using herbs and spices are a great way of getting little ones to explore the sense of smell and learn about different smells and tastes. 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.
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Resources needed for the Dinosaur Smelly Swamp Sensory Bin
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. We used any herb that would emit a scent once it was crushed:
* Sensory bin – we used a Ikea Trofast Storage Box
* Variety of plastic Dinosaur toys
* Variety of herbs including Cinnamon Sticks Mint dried herb 100g from The Spiceworks-Hereford Herbs & Spices Star Anise Cardamon Pods
* Recycled toilet roll tubes
* Fresh rosemary, thyme and mint leaves
How to set up the Dinosaur Smelly Swamp Sensory Bin
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.
How to play with the Dinosaur Smelly Swamp Sensory Bin
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!
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