Introducing young children to herbs!
I decided to bring some herbs from my garden into the classroom for the children to explore.
I selected a sprig of rosemary, mint, lemon balm and chive. I put each one into a brown paper bag and made sure to rub the leaves along the outside so the smell was strong and apparent.
To start the introduction, I first wanted the children to use their sense of smell to explore the herbs. I invited each child over to smell each of the bags and tell me what they thought it smelled like.
Their predictions varied greatly on the rosemary and mint but many thought the lemon balm smelled like jelly beans or candy. While many predicted the chive to smell like pizza or pepperoni. I told the children these were wonderful predictions because each of these scents belonged to an herb which can be used to flavor food. We then went on to discuss that there are many different types of herbs and that some are used not only in food, but for medicine, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, and many other things.
I then showed the children what each one looked like and some of the foods that they are often paired with. The children were all given a chance to explore them independently in our discovery center. The children were invited to touch, smell and get a closer look at the herbs. They were also encouraged to sketch the herbs and match them to their corresponding picture.
Numerous studies have shown the best way to teach children to respect nature is to let them play and explore it as a child. It is my hope that by introducing the children to herbs and teaching them the importance of nature that they will want to take better care of their environment now and in the future.