Do you have an herb garden growing this year? Do you have curious little ones running amuck? Awaken their sense of smell (and taste!) with a little herb sensory table!
We were sitting out on the porch the other day when one of my little ones pointed to the mint plant on the table and said “Basil.” “That’s mint,” I said and encouraged her to gently rub a leaf between her fingers and smell. “Mint, sweet mint,” I told her. “Mint,” she replied.
From there we went on to exploring the other herbs growing in the garden. Rosemary, chives, and basil were next. I showed her how to pinch a little piece off the chives and encouraged her to taste.
She seemed very pleased that I had given her the go ahead to pluck a little piece off and nibble on it all by herself. “Yum,” she said with a smile. “Try Noah?” she said and offered my 8mo a taste, to his delight!
I always strive to encourage curiosity and build on language development throughout the day with my little ones. In this moment, I saw her interest and thought it would be neat to set up a little herb sensory table.
During nap time, I snipped a few pieces of each of the herbs and laid them about the cutting board. Next, I printed out the names of each on a label maker, totally not necessary, but I have the tool, so why not use it? If you don’t have a label maker handy, I would recommend labeling the herbs by simply writing the names on paper.
Even though our youngest learners aren’t exactly “reading,” exposure to print encourages print awareness and provides a language rich environment.
Article contributed to Father. Food. Fun. by Mama Bear. You can find her on Pinterest, pinning and chatting about early childhood education, the Reggio approach to learning, sensory play and more!