Friday, March 1, 2013

Learn letters and their sounds using your sense of smell

Smelly Letters!!!
Caution: This project is best done in the spring/summertime.

Now, don't hold your breath or wrinkle your nose, these smell good!!

We have made touchy-feely letters, letters that are tactile. Why not engage the sense of smell as well?

My apple tree and hibiscus had some flowers on it, which triggered the idea.

These letters are mostly made with flowers and herbs, and teas (I love tea, all different kinds). So raid your garden and pantry. I also needed to raid my local nursery.

WARNING - Before you start: make a list of flowers, and then go over to the garden section of Home Depot, or to the local nursery, and get a few flowers (remember to ask nicely, and use the magic word). Dry the flowers, and you are in business. Other options - be on the lookout for flower bouquets with the right kind of flowers, go on a flower hunt in the neighborhood...

You can paste them on cardboard letters, or paste the smelly stuff in the shape of a letter. Or just form the letters with your sensory material, and then store them for next time!Or in other creative ways that I have not thought of.... 
OK, so here's the list. I have tried to limit the ingredients to short sounds for the vowels, and hard sounds for the consonants. So for example, you can make C with cinnamon, but that is the soft sound, whereas the kiddos master the hard sound first. 

Appy A
My super-heroes made an "a", and then put the blossoms in a bowl of water!  
- aniseed, or anise flowers, apple blossoms, flower petals from flowers like azalea

a with apple blossoms

Barky B 
- bougainvillea, bark (Batman's idea), basil from your herb pot, bay leaves, brown sugar

Bougainvillea b

Clovy C
- cloves, ground coffee, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, curry leaves, candy cane sticks, chamomile
C with cloves and c with cardamom pods

Daisy D
- daisy petals (my super heroes did not want to "hurt" the flower by pulling the "pretty" petals), dandelions (again, Batman is to blame), dill

D with daisy

Eggy E
Okay, so this one is not going to smell much of anything, as these are cleaned egg shells. In that case, switch to Elderflower. You might be able get your hand on the dried stuff. For older kids, try "earl grey" tea leaves or eucalyptus! Has anyone tried Bigelow's Eggnogg'n tea? That might be an option.
- eggshell, elderflower

Ferny F
- fern leaves from the garden, fennel seeds, a collage with different kinds of flower petals (Spider-man's favorite) 
F with fern leaves

Grassy G
I have Geranium flowers aplenty, but it starts with the soft G sound, as does ginger. And the kiddos did not want to use garlic. Sooo, a trip to the nursery, and we got some Gerbera flowers! But those were too pretty to be plucked, so we ended up using some grass :)
- gerbera or gardenia flower, garlic, grass, 
"g" with grass

Herby H
- collage of herb leaves from my herb pot, hydrangea and hibiscus flowers from the garden, hay (Spiderman says it has a nice hay-y smell), honeysuckle flowers
H with hibiscus

Inchy I
Try iris flowers, or irish moss for kids who know the long I sound.
- incense sticks broken into inch long pieces, (hence, Inchy), impatiens from the garden (am I a smart gardener or what!)

Jassy J
- jasmine from the garden

Kitchy K
I have an Indian pantry. You will have to come up with your own smelly letter for K!

K with Kala Jira
- Kala Jira, black cumin seeds, some kelp next time you visit the beach
Update - after dinner today, Batman decided to make a K in his Ketchup. It smells nice, it tastes nice, and it starts with K!
K in Ketchup
Abstract K painting in Ketchup
Lemony L
- lime or lemon peel, lavender leaves or flowers from the garden, lemongrass
L with lavender

Minty M
- mint leaves, marigold or mum flowers, mustard seeds, moss, mango tea leaves
M with mints

Nutty N
-  nutmeg, Nutella (suggested by Batman as it has a nice smell, vetoed by me), Nigella

Orangy O
- oregano, orange peel, oatmeal, orange tea leaves
O with orange peels

Peppy P
- peppercorns, potpourri, peppermint leaves from the herb pot or tea leaves from peppermint tea bags, pine-cones, pine needles, pineapple tea (it smells seriously good - thanks Dad)
P with cone and leaves

Quilty Q
- a quilt made with flower petals - we want to do yellow, red and white rose petals from the garden, quinoa

Rosy R
- rose to the rescue, rosemary, raspberry tea leaves (from Bigelow Raspberry Royale tea bags)
R with rose petals

Sassy S
- saffron, sage, sandalwood paste, scotch moss

Tiny T
- tea leaves, tarragon, twigs (from Batman, some twigs can smell good), tulip

Umby U
So I googled, came up with the Umbrella Palm, and I think I remember a tree that looked like one growing near a lake close to home. On our next visit to the lake, I will liberate a few leaves.

Viny V
-  a vine from the garden, vanilla beans or sticks, violet flowers

Woody W
- wood sage flowers, any white flower, white mustard, leaves from willow tree

Your X-cellency
- make an X with cinnamon sticks. 

Yolly Y
- any yellow flower or leaf, yarrow flower

Ziggy Z
-  zinia flower petals

So there you have it, gorgeous aromatic letters!!

Older kids can help you come up with sensory materials for the letters. I got lots of suggestions from Batman. I told him to look in the garden to come up with ideas, and gave him the spice rack for added inspiration.

Please leave some comments, and help me beef up some of the letter suggestions!

Disclaimer: I have a very well stocked spice rack. It helps, but is not a requirement.

Stress-Free Sunday at Fun-A-Day!