Little Minds: Tasting and Smelling

Theme: Senses of Smell and Taste

Twins-Actual Age: 18 months, Corrected Age: 16 months; Tex-18 months

Hello friends! If it seems like our tot school posts have been a bit scarce lately, you are right! The past month has been a bit off kilter due to traveling and summer holidays, so we have not had a formal Little Minds session in a few weeks.  But don’t despair…we will be starting again this week and have some fun ocean themed activities in the works.  Before we went on “hiatus,”  the twins and I joined Tex and his mama at their house for a fun morning of activities exploring our senses of smell and taste, finishing up our five senses series.

We began our session with our welcome song and weather check.  Our book of the day was Yummy, Yucky by Lesli Patricelli. I do believe I enjoyed this book even more than the little ones did! Our song of the day was “Apples and Bananas.”  After we were good and warmed up, Mama Tex brought out some activities and the fun began!

Activity #1: Herbs and Spices

To get our sniffers sniffin,’ Mama Tex brought out a tray of spices straight out of her kitchen cabinets.  We took turns smelling all the different herbs and spices and deciding if they smelled “yummy” or “yucky.”

I think that might be Toots’ “yucky” face 😉

Tex had a pretty good “yucky” face, too!

Activity #2: Scented Playdough

For another smelly experience, Mama Tex prepared some special scented playdough using this recipe. She added various extracts to the playdough to make different scents.  We had vanilla, orange, mint, and almond, to name a few.

The little ones had fun pushing shaped cookie cutters into the dough, as well as driving toy cars through it to make tracks.

Activity #3: Sweet, Sour, Salty

Next, Mama Tex brought out some foods so we could explore different tastes.  We talked about how the foods tasted sweet, sour, or salty. Although our babies were a bit young for more than just tasting, touching, and talking about the foods, there are plenty of opportunities for extension activities for older children within this concept.  Children could sort foods into the three different categories by taste, or be asked to predict which taste category foods fell into before trying them.

Fun Fact: Having fun with food is a great way to keep picky eating at bay.  Offering new foods to try in a low-pressure environment along with peers sometimes helps reluctant eaters build confidence.

Little Man was the first to taste a lemon slice.

Then Miss Toots got in on the action!

Tex was no fool.

He opted for the sweet mini-marshmallows instead 😉

Now that’s more like it! Seconds, anyone?

After all that excitement, it was time for a change of scenery.

So we all moved outside for some slightly more messy activities.

Activity #4: Coffee Ground Sensory Bin

Mama Tex brought out a fun, fragrant sensory bin full of coffee grounds, measuring cups, and other kitchen goodies.

While the boys played in the coffee grounds, Miss Toots practiced her Tai Chi on the lawn.

Activity #5: Fruit-stravaganza!

For our grand finale, we decided to take advantage of all the gorgeous summer produce available at our local farmer’s market with a giant fruit picnic. I wish I had gotten more pictures of this activity, but I was too busy touching, smelling, and tasting the fruit along with the little ones!  The twins and I took a trip to a local market the day before school and picked out tons of fruit, including peaches, oranges, strawberries, grapes, plums, blackberries, cherries, and even a pineapple.  Because of the “mess factor,” I admit I don’t always give the twins their fruit in whole form. Giving them neat little pre-cut portions is much cleaner and faster than allowing them to run around the house with an entire piece of fruit, plus I don’t have to worry about choking.  But I think it is important for them to know where their food comes from and be able to experience the simple joy of biting into a juicy peach on a hot summer day.  So we all sat down on our blankets and dug into our feast.  We even gave them plastic knives to practice their cutting skills.  They all tried a few new things and had a great time using all their senses to explore the fruit.

Mama Tex had a few other activities planned that we didn’t get to on this day. One of them was peanut butter playdough, which the twins and I took home and played with later.

Here is the recipe she used:

1 C peanut butter

2 C dry milk

2 T honey

Mix the peanut butter and honey with 1 cup of the dried milk.  Slowly add the rest of the milk until the mixture is no longer sticky.

I hope you enjoyed the last installment of our five senses series!

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