Lavender

Simplest Air Cleansing Humdifier

Here is one of my favorite ways to add moisture to the air in my home while also cleansing the air.  It is crazy, silly simple and I set this up any time the air just feels to dry (like it does right this second here in Colorado) or when some one in my family seems on the edge of getting sick.

Dried lavender perfect for steaming.

Make a herbal steam for your home…

Equipment ~

  • Big Pot
  • Lots of Water
  • Aromatic Herbs

Instructions ~

Fill the pot with water set it on the stove and bring it to a steamy simmer.  Then add your herbs.  If you have a nice big pot and plan to simmer for a while use a nice big handful of herbs to insure you get a nice amount of essential oils into the air.   That’s it!  Within minutes your house will fill with a lovely fragrant smell while moisture circulates easing dryness.   Be sure to choose herbs rich in essential oils such as rosemary, thyme, lavender, mint, lemon balm, basil, sage,  cinnamon, and cloves.  The simmering water releases the essential oils from the herbs into the air and the essential oils being anti-viral and anti-bacterial in-turn clean the air.  Plus your house will smell great.  If we are home, I let this simmer all day long adding water and even more herbs as the day goes on.  To insure safety keep an eye on your pot to be sure it doesn’t boil dry.

My daughter recently had a slumber party and before her guests arrived I set up a pot on the stove with the simple additions of cinnamon sticks and cloves.  Every person who entered our home commented on how great it smelled!

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Categories: Cinnamon and Spices, Essential Oils, Herbal Tips And Tricks, Lavender, Natural Family Care, Peppermint, Practices For Intentional Living, Winter | Tags: , | 2 Comments

A Happy First Day of Preschool With Calming Aromatherapy

The new school year is quickly approaching for us at our very sweet little preschool.  Some of the kids will be coming to school for the very first time.  In fact they may have never been away from their mama.   Because needless to say, for some kids (and their parents too), the first day of school can be intimidating, scary and even a bit traumatic.  I know I sat in my car and cried for a good twenty minutes after I dropped my oldest daughter off on her first day of preschool.

Every year on this very special day we help the kids adjust to their new environment by offering a time-honored and much loved activity, playdough, made a bit friendlier with the addition of calming essential oils and herbs.

Playing with playdough on its own provides stress relief through tactile squeezing and massaging of the smooth squishy dough.  With essential oils added the child instantly gets all the benefits of aromatherapy.  Breathing deepens as the oils are inhaled calming the mind and body,  bringing about a sense of peace.  Read Herbal Playdough for more info on the benefits of playdough and to get some great ideas for making your own colorful fragrant completely chemical free playdough. It is fun to let each child custom make their own playdough to take home.  They have something fun they made to share with their family at the end of the big day.

Materials you will need:

Prepared Playdough or you can make the playdough with the kids. Here is my favorite recipe:

  •  1 cup of flour 
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp oil

Combine dry ingredients in a sauce pan.  Add the water and oil.  Stir together and heat slowly over low heat.  Stir almost constantly until the playdough sets up.  Let it cool to warm before playing, playdough right off the stove is hot.

Food Coloring (Please note that I am searching for affordable coloring made from natural materials that are healthy.  I do use powdered herbs for coloring when making a large quantity of one colored playdough for the school, yet I need something wonderful for coloring playdough when we are making personal playdough for taking home.  If any one has a source, please share!)

Essential Oils  I like to offer lavender, sweet orange, cardamon, spearmint, rosemary and rose geranium.

Dried Herbs like lavender blossoms, ground cinnamon and rose petals

Glitter 

Here is how I do this fun activity:

  1. Give each child a nice blob of playdough and some playdough toys.
  2. Have them pick out one color from your food colors to add to their playdough.  Put a couple of drops of food coloring in their playdough and start mixing it in for them so they don’t get a big blob of food coloring on their hands.  You will have rainbow hands at the end.
  3. Let everyone smell the essential oils.  I usually talk with the kids a bit about smelling the oil by inhaling, not exhaling.  And then we practice.  I tell them to be sure not to touch their nose to the bottle.  This keeps the oils clean and safe for everyone to use.  Then let them choose which oils they want in their playdough.  I have found that most kids will want every oil!
  4. Have the child make a hole in the playdough.  Then you place a drop or two of oil in the hole and take a moment to personally squish up the oil into the playdough so that the oil doesn’t come into direct contact with the child’s skin. It is safe once it diluted into the playdough.
  5. Offer herbs and glitter for the kids to mix into their playdough.  Just dust a bit over the top of their playdough or make a little pile on the side for them to add in.  Some kids find the glitter and herbs to be “sharp” but usually they love adding in more and more as they go.
  6. When the child is done playing, bag up their playdough so they can take it home at the end of the day.

How do you welcome little ones to your school for that first big day?  I would love to hear all about it! 

Well, the first day has come and went.  We had a blast making our playdough.  Some of the kids made some really neat pieces of art with their playdough and all the additions we used.  Fresh lavender stalks became trees and dried roses became lava.

Enjoy the pictures!

 

 

 

 

Please Note about essential oils: Essential oils are concentrated plant substances.  They are dangerous and should not be used unsupervised around children.  Always keep the oils up and out of reach when you aren’t using them and be sure that an adult is the one who holds and uses the bottles.  I tell the kids that the essential oils are for teachers to use.  Some oils smell like really yummy food, so please do be careful.  Use mild oils like the ones listed above.

Shared on: The Weekly Kid’s Co-op, DJDaniel4’s Mom, Charlotte Mom Favorites

Categories: Aromatherapy For Kids, Back to School, Cinnamon and Spices, Essential Oils, Lavender, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Play Dough, Playing With Herbs | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Aromatic State of Mind

 Art inspired by Aromatherapy and  Emotional Awareness with Children

Breathe deep and what do you feel?  Taking a slow deep breath relaxes mind and body bringing clarity and calming anxiety.  Now take a deep breath of a high quality aromatic essential oil and all the therapeutic benefits of the oil are added to the experience.  Um, I am feeling more relaxed just thinking about it!

Happy with orange!

We conducted our own little experiment to see how different essential oils made us feel.  Seated in a circle on the floor I passed around smell sticks I had made from card stock.  Each stick had a number on it which corresponded to my list of essential oils.  I did this because I didn’t want the kids to know what oil they were smelling but then I realized, silly me, they can’t read yet!  I got a good chuckle at myself for that one.  Anyways, we passed around the sticks one at a time having fun sniffing.  After everyone had their fill of smelling each stick, we tried to figure out how what we had smelled made us feel.  We took the smell stick and placed it on a wheel I had drawn with the emotions calm, happy and refreshed.

It was so very cute to watch the kids smelling and feeling.  When we passed around the stick with orange on it the kids got giggly and wiggly.  We decided that orange made us happy!  Lavender produced a group of peaceful, relaxed and quiet kids; still where they sat and reflective.  We decided that lavender was a mix between refreshed and calm, but “mostly calm.”  We also investigated cedarwood, spearmint, cardamon and rosemary.

Here is a chart of our results:

  • Lavender: calmingly refreshed
  • Orange: happy
  • Spearmint: happy and refreshed
  • Cardamon: calm
  • Cedarwood: very, very calm
  • Rosemary: refreshed

After all of our sniffing and feeling was done, I asked the kids to each choose their very favorite oil to create a piece of art work with.

Happy with orange!

Can you guess what oil was the most popular?

“Happy!”

“Orange!”

Happy with orange!

Isn’t it wonderful how children just want to be happy?  What a gift it is to be around such joy.  A few kids wanted lavender and one chose cedarwood.  Apparently, none of them needed to be refreshed!

Calm with Lavender

Next I gave them piece of paper with a drop of their chosen oil in the corner.  I asked them to create a piece of art work with the emotion and smell as their inspiration.

The kids were very creative and had a blast!

Thanks to 2flowerslearning for the great post inspiration for this fun class!

Shared on: Kid’s Co-op

Categories: Aromatherapy For Kids, Essential Oils, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Lavender, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Mindful Self Care, Playing With Herbs | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Lovely Teacher Gifts

Over the years our family has been truly blessed by all the wonderful teachers that have taught our children.  Amazing souls that have nourished and cared for our children, striving to do their best with each interaction.   Having guided and taught my kids with love, insight and a firm hand;  every single one of these people has not only passed on the required material but have also imparted their own unique wisdom and gifts to my children.  This is a most precious gift.

Our supply of gifts all done.

My kids and I love to make something special to give to these amazing people as a small gesture to tell them thank you and that we really do appreciate them.  The holidays provide a perfect reason to gift our teachers.  In years past we have made everything from cookies to hand painted picture frames to bath salts to tiny terrariums planted in glass balls.  This year we  made a selection of herbal body care items complete with lavender spritzers, lotion bars and candy cane bath salts.  It is a small little something for someone who gives so much every single day.

Lavender Aromatherapy Spritzers

These are astoundingly easy to make and people love them!  Win, win!  We used lovely 1 ounce cobalt blue bottles filled with water to which we added 5 drops of lavender essential oil and viola!  That is it.  So simple.  I chose to use lavender because it is generally considered to be a very safe essential oil and it is almost universally loved.  little hand printed labels with a happy holidays message from our family completed this little gift.  We made a lot of these spritzers to hand out to all the people at the school who are often forgotten but make such a big difference in the girls’ day to day experience.  People like the bus driver, librarian and the sweet lady who walks my kindergartener from her class to the bus every day.

Lotion Bars

The lotion bars we made came from Rosalee de la Forêt at Learning Herbs.   This is the first time I have made lotion bars and it was great fun.  My oldest daughter who is almost 10 really enjoyed helping out with these and watching them set up.  My hands are always crispy dry when I leave from working at the preschool because I wash them at least 20 times while I am there!  So I think the teachers will like these a lot and hopefully provide some much needed relief.  For the full recipe click here to visit Learning Herbs.

The girls and I gently infused calendula and rose petals into the grapeseed oil we used.  Calendula and rose are both so beautiful and healing.

Once we had melted all the oil, butters and wax together we did the spoon test.  We took a very small amount of our melted solution and placed it on a metal spoon.  Then we put that in the fridge for a few moments to hasten its cooling  This is a great way to check out what consistency your finished product will have before you pour it into molds.

We found the consistency to be quite hard so we added another ounce of shea butter into the mixture, did another spoon test and the consistency was perfect.  The bars are still hard but they yield their moisture when held.  We decided to scent our lotion bars with cardamom essential which is smells absolutely amazing, never mind that I love cardamom, and lavender essential oil too.  Combined with the chocolate scent of cocobutter and the deep honey fragrance of beeswax, the bars smell amazing.  When we were looking them over this morning, my youngest who was gazing at them from eye level, said “Mommy why do these smell so good?”

Candy Cane Bath Salts

Making these bath salts is such a visually beautiful experience because of all the colors and layering.  To make your own layered candy cane bath salts click here to get the recipe and read about my adventure in making these at the preschool with lots of excited little children.  When my kids heard what I was doing with the preschoolers at the school, they wanted to make these baths too.  So we did and we had a blast making these together.

We updated the recipe a bit by adding some beautiful course coral Himalayan salt crystals to the reddish pink layer in the salts.

We used a 1/4 cup measuring cup for each kind of salt and just layered them into the jars with equal proportions.

What are you giving to teachers?  Anything homemade?  My girls and I would love to hear about it.

Blessings and Happy Holidays!

Shared on: Natural Life Link Up, The Kid’s Co-op

Categories: Aromatherapy For Kids, Herbal Gift Ideas, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Lavender, Seasonal Herbal Crafts, Winter Holidays | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Herbal Playdough

Important play

Minty Green Playdough colored with ground parsley, sprinkled with purple glitter, and scented with spearmint essential oil.

Squishy texture blobbing through fingers with a mystical doughy smell raising up told me that I was doing something important.  I could create anything from this stuff!  And the satisfaction I got from squashing and rolling this forgiving dough was immensely pleasurable.  This was playdough to me and it was one of my favorite toys from childhood.  And now it is one of my favorite things to share with kids and they sure do love it.  At preschool playdough provides a quiet time for kids creating side by side and with a sense of comradery while sharing the playdough toys around the table.  Playdough is great for parents too. I have found hours of time for me to get something done around the house while my little ones happily pound, roll, and squish the afternoon away.

Color and Aromatherapy

Tactile experiences help kids explore and make sense of the world; teaching them about cause and effect as well as developing small motor skills.  There is something about squeezing a soft blob that releases stress just like those squishy stress balls made for adults.  This is enormously helpful for a child who maybe experiencing overwhelming emotions that they don’t know how to put into words.  By adding something that smells or looks beautiful to the playdough you amplify the power of this classic toy.  So the children and I use aromatic substances to color and scent playdough.  And when the playdough is freshly made warm from the stove, the gentle heat further releases aromas from plants and essential oils.  So nice.

Beet Red Playdough colored with beet powder, sprinkled with purple glitter and lavender blossoms, scented with lavender essential oil.

How to do it

Playdough is made from a few basic ingredients you might have on hand now.  Follow my basic recipe or look for another online, there are many to choose from.  When coloring playdough with powdered plants you might find it works best to mix the colored powder in when you cook the playdough.  Otherwise you can let the kids work it in while playing.

Chocolate Spice Playdough colored with cocoa powder, sprinkled with cinnamon and rose petals, scented with ground cinnamon and cardamom essential oil.

RECIPE FOR HAPPY PLAYDOUGH

1 cup of flour

1/2 cup of salt

1 cup of water

1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tbsp oil

Optional: powdered herbs for color, either mix in when cooking (can give more even color) or let the kids mix in at the table.

Combine dry ingredients in a sauce pan.  Add the water and oil.  Stir together and heat slowly over low heat.  Stir almost constantly until the playdough sets up.  Let it cool to warm before playing, playdough right off the stove is hot.

Field and Flower Playdough colored with ground chamomile and calendula flowers, sprinkled with red glitter and lavender blossoms, scented with rose geranium and orange essential oils.

Now it is time to make it special

  • For color: of course you can use food coloring but I like to use all natural materials when possible.  You can use herbs that are already powdered or grind your own.  My favorites for color so far are: beet powder (reddish pink), cinnamon (light brown), coco powder (dark brown), calendula (yellow) and parsley (green).
  • Essential oils: my favorites are lavender, rosemary, orange, spearmint, rose geranium, cocoa absolute and cardamon. Have the child make a hole in the playdough.  Then you place a drop or two of oil in the hole and take a moment to personally squish up the oil into the playdough so that the oil doesn’t come into direct contact with the child’s skin. It is safe once it diluted into the playdough.
  • Dried Herbs: lavender blossoms, calendula petals, rose petals, as well as ground spices like cinnamon and cloves.
  • Other Mix-ins: small amounts of glitter, food coloring if you want a more intense color than herbs can bring.  Anything goes!  Be creative!
Please Note about essential oils: Essential oils are concentrated plant substances. They are dangerous and should not be used unsupervised around children. Always keep the oils up and out of reach when you aren’t using them. Some oils smell like really yummy food, so please do be careful.  Use mild oils like the ones listed above.


Categories: Aromatherapy For Kids, Cinnamon and Spices, Essential Oils, Lavender, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Play Dough, Playing With Herbs, Roses | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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