Playing With Herbs

Peppermint Bugs

Peppermint bugs are funny little creatures made with fresh mint.

They make great garden friends and are perfect for when a bit of herby fun is in order.

mintbug3

This project came about when I was looking for ways to give kids a hands on experience with mint.  Actually I wasn’t sure how well the bugs would be received.  Luckily the kids really did get excited about making these funny looking things.

Note:  You could use any aromatic plant with flexible stems for this project such as lemon balm, lavender, anise hyssop or even basil.

What you need…

  • Fresh Peppermint Stems, 2 to 3 for each each doll.
  • Chenille Stems, any color works, we used sparkly ones for the wings.  You will need 2 for each doll.
  • Markers
  • Large Unfinished Wooden Beads
  • Scissors
  • Optional ~ Glue Gun and Beads with large holes

How To Do It…
Give your child a wooden bead to decorate for the bug’s head.  Next have your child choose two  chenille stems, one for the body and the other for the wings/antenna.  Cut the chenille stem meant for the wings/antenna into two pieces.  One piece being about a 1/3 of the whole stem, this piece will be the antenna.

Take a couple of stalks of peppermint and line them up with the ends overlapping each other to create one long line of peppermint with the leafy tops pointing away from each other.

mint

Center the chenille stem over the peppermint.

mint

Bend the chenille stem/peppermint bundle into equal halves to create a loop in the center.

mint

Push the bent part up through the wooden bead just far enough to thread the antenna chenille stem through to loop you created.

mintbug

If you want, add a small bead to the bug’s’ head by pushing both ends of the antenna chenille stem through the small bead then bend this second chenille stem around on itself to create antenna.
Pull the peppermint and chenille stem down to the height you want it to be at on the bugs’ head.

You may want to use a glue gun here to secure the head onto the stems even more.  If that is so, shove the glue gun up into the wooden bead and squeeze in some glue.

Next take another chenille stem, sparkly if you have it, and wind it around the bugs upper body to create wings.

mintbug

mintbug

Now you are done and you have an aromatic little friend to play with!

mintbug

These little creatures will only last a day or so before they dry up and get crumbly.  So make sure you are ready to play with them right after you make them.

Join us at our Summer Herb Camp for more ideas for play with mint!

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Categories: Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Peppermint, Playing With Herbs, Summer Herb Camp | Tags: , | 8 Comments

♥ Summer Herb Camp: Week Five Magical Mighty Mint ♥

Welcome to Mama Rosemary’s Herb Camp

Join us every week for a fun round up of projects and ideas to do with your kids during the summer.  Each week will have a theme with lots of projects to do using herbs, exploring science and natural, holistic living plus some great crafts for good ol’ fashion fun!  Many projects can be adapted for multiple age ranges depending on your child’s interests and developmental stage.

♥ Time to play with mint! ♥

Our fifth week of summer camp is all about one of my family’s favorite herbs, mint!  

Projects and Recipes

We have a huge mint patch in our backyard.  It started years ago when I planted a little peppermint plant next to a little spearmint plant.  With the passage of time they have grown and spread, intermingling into a luscious green wonder.  We also have a big whiskey barrel in our yard where chocolate mint plays with a raspberry bush and pansies.  The result is that I have plenty of mint to enjoy with my family.  You don’t need lots of mint to do these projects, just a bit will do.  But if you have a lot of mint, these projects will help you and your kids enjoy it!  

Learn about mint’s properties by clicking here.

Also this week we have some additional projects in the works.  Look for these posts coming up during the week. 

Just click on the below pictures to get full instructions.

… give your kids a hands-on experience of mint with this simple project. 

mint2

… emerse yourself in a day of mint play!  Make fairy crowns and wands made with mint to go along with tasty mint chocolate chip cookies!  Seriously these cookies are fabulous.  We eagerly wait each year for the mint to grow so we can make them together.

mintcollage

... another way to enjoy the culinary delights of mint because after all mint is so tasty! 

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream2 

More Magical Mint Ideas

Enjoy A Mint Bath With One Of The Following Bath Recipes ~

In The Kitchen ~

  • Add chopped mint to fruit salad.
  • Blend fresh mint and watermelon together for a refreshing drink.
  • Infuse fresh mint in your lemonad.e
  • Drink a nice cup of mint infusion.

More ~

  • Smell some mint or mint essential oil and use the scent as inspiration for creating a drawing or painting.
  • Add a couple drops of spearmint essential oil or a bit of fresh chopped mint to warm playdough for an aromatic treat.
  • Put a drop or two of essential oil in a 1/4 cup of corn starch, stir it up well to incorportate the essential oil and use as a cooling foot massage.

Coming Up Later This Week

Look for these posts on the blog during the week!

I am so glad you stopped by!  

Please join us again next week!  

More Summer Herb Camp ~

Shared On: Tender Moments, Eco-Kid’s Tuesday, Wildcrafting Wednesdays, The Kid’s Co-op, Friday’s Nature Table

Categories: Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Nature Exploration, Parenting, Peppermint, Playing With Herbs, Seasonal Herbal Crafts, Summer, Summer Herb Camp | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

♥ Summer Herb Camp: Week Four Squeaky Clean Bath Time Fun! ♥

Welcome to Mama Rosemary’s Herb Camp

Join us every week for a fun round up of projects and ideas to do with your kids during the summer.  Each week will have a theme with lots of projects to do using herbs, exploring science and natural, holistic living plus some great crafts for good ol’ fashion fun!  Many projects can be adapted for multiple age ranges depending on your child’s interests and developmental stage.

Let’s get squeaky clean 

with herbs and aromatherapy! 

Our fourth week of summer camp is all about using herbs, essential oils and other natural materials to care for our bodies all while having a blast!  First is a fully description about how to host a spa day for kids.  Then there are some great bath recipes that kids can make.  Finally, please find a little section for parents!   

♥ Spa Day For Kids  

Host a super fun, messy, gooey spa day for your little ones and their friends,

perfect for a hot summer day!

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This is a great way for kids to explore using natural materials to care for their bodies while providing a fun activity filled with tactile, creative opportunities.

Materials ~

Feel free to use any combination of the items below to create your own customized special day!

  • Kiddie Pool, this will be like a big bath tub!
  • Sprinkler
  • Clays ~ I like to use rose, french green and kaolin clays.  You really only need one clay but it is fun to have several different options with all the pretty colors to choose from.
  • Avocado ~ smashed up
  • Fruit Slices ~ I usually get whatever is on sale or in season.  What you want here are slices of fruit high in alpha hydroxy acids which help exfoliate the skin removing dead skin cells.  Sure, there aren’t many kids that will benefit from this action but knowing about it and feeling the effects of the fruit on there skin, that’s pretty cool.  Good choices are apples, grapes, strawberries, oranges and even lemons.  (I would be careful about giving little ones lemons to use though because they might get the juice in their eyes!)
  • Cucumber Slices, kids think it is super silly that people put these on their eyes!
  • Bowl for Discards
  • Stuff For An Herbal Bath ~ roses, lavender, chamomile, mints, calendula etc….  Also, epsom salts, oatmeal and essential oils like lavender, rosemary, rose geranium etc…  And cloth (with a band to tie it shut) or sock for making a bath.
  • Aromatherapy Spritzer
  • Corn Starch

spaday1

Instructions ~

Fill the kiddie pool with water.  Place bowls with fruit, avocado and cucumbers outside on a table that is easy for the kids to get too.  You might want to put the table in the grass.  It is going to get really messy and the stuff that falls on the ground can become food for you lawn instead of a big mess on your patio!  Mix the clays with enough water to make a paste and put the clay on the table too.  Put your discard bowl under the table Make sure you have your spritzer and corn starch handy.

Get all of your bath ingredients set up over by the kiddie pool.  Then when you are ready bring the kids over and make an herbal bath with them.  I usually start this off by talking with them about the benefits of an oatmeal bath while I put the oatmeal in the sock (or cloth).  I make sure to tell them about how the oatmeal makes a slimy goo when you squeeze the bundle we are making.  Next we add some epsom salt.  Then show the kids all the beautiful herbs you have to add to the bath and ask the each to choose one herb they would like to add.  Give them each a handful to toss into the tub.  Next add a couple drops of essential oil, using a total of 5 to 8 drops at most.

spaday2

Next take the kiddos over to your spa table where all you fruits, clay and so on are set up.  And tell them all about how to use these fun substances.

  • The avocado is oily and nourishes the skin
  • Hydroxy acids in the fruit help exfoliate the skin
  • The clays help to nourish and tighten the skin
  • Cucumber slices on the eye reduce puffiness and refresh the eyes

The kids can use these to make art on their bodies too, making little patterns and drawings!  A couple of cautions: If you have young kids, be sure to tell them not to eat the fruits and veggies.  Explain that after a piece of fruit or cucumber is used it should be placed in the discard bowl and not back with the fresh pieces of fruit/cucumber.  Finally I always tell the kids not to put any clay around or above their eyes because when it dries, they clay begins to flake and gets into their eyes.  Trust me, this freaks them out.

Then let the fun begin!  Turn the kids loose!  Turn on the sprinkler if you have one.  If you want, you can walk around with the spritzer and spray it above the kids occasionally.

Finally, when the kids get tired of all the spa day activities, finish up with corn starch foot rubs.  The kids always love these.  Just have them grab a seat and give them little handfuls of corn starch to rub on their feet.  The corn starch is silky and cooling, and of course messy!

spaday4

Thanks for reading about how to host your own spa day.  It is so much fun and I hope you will consider giving it a try!

Next check out some fun baths to make for your kids to use in the tub!

♥ Baths For Kids To Make & Use ♥ 

Each of these baths are not only fun to make, they are great for body and soul!  

Just click on the pictures to get full instructions.

… create a customized Sock Bath full of herbs and oatmeal goodness, slimy and squishy skin nourishing fun!   

sockbath2

… become a chemist experimenting with acids and bases and blow up couple of volcanos, even one in your bathtub! 

volcano2

... create beautiful layered bath salts!  These were originally made as Holiday gifts but you could change around the scents to make it more Summery.  Consider using rose geranium, sweet orange or even ylang ylang.  Kids love to watch the layers build as the bath comes together.    

xmas-0272

 

♥ Well Deserved TLC For Parents ♥ 

Summer time is fun and exciting but let’s face it, Summer can also be a bit tiring for parents.  It is important that as parents we take time to care for ourselves which also models healthy self-care for our children.  Please join me in a the honored art of bathing.  At the end of this post of a few lovely bath recipes perfect for soothing away the cares of any mommy or daddy.  

bath2

I am so glad you stopped by!  

Next week Mama Rosemary is on vacation!  Please join us again on July 20th for lots of fun crafts and tasty recipes using a beloved herb, mint.

In the meantime, if you are looking for herbal crafts and creations to make with your kids, check out Herbs For Kids.

Shared On: Eco-Kid’s Tuesday, The Kid’s Co-op, Wild Crafting Wednesday, Tender Moments, Friday’s Nature Table

Categories: Bathing, Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Mindful Self Care, Natural Family Care, Parenting, Playing With Herbs, Practices For Intentional Living, Science Exploration, Science Investigation, Summer Herb Camp | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

There’s A Volcano In My Bathtub!

Experiments In Acid-Base Chemistry

What do you get when you mix an acid with a base?

A party!

“It is like the acid and the base like each other so much

that they make the best of bubbly friends.”

This is one way that I explain the fun, interesting chemical reaction of acid/base mixing to little kids. I also make sure we talk a bit about the ph scale; where an acid and a base are on that scale; and how when mixed together, they meet in the middle becoming neutralized.

Mini Bathtub Volcanoes

Mini Bathtub Volcanoes

Acid & Base Fun For Little Ones

~ A Very Simple Experiment ~

Demonstrating this reaction for kids is easy.  Put a spoonful of baking soda in a clear glass then add a bit of vinegar and watch the bubbles!  This is a great time to talk about what exactly is happening inside the glass.

~ Blow Up A Play Dough Volcano ~

Every year we make a volcano at preschool filling it with a mix of baking soda, vinegar and food coloring to create an explosion!  It is always a major hit with the kiddos.  They love watching the volcano erupt over and over and over again.

This year we made our volcano with left over rose bud play dough and blue lava, kid's choice!

This year we made our volcano with left over rose bud play dough and blue lava, kid’s choice!

The coloring started to run out but bubbly white is fun too!

The coloring started to run out but bubbly white is fun too!

Materials ~ 

  • Play Dough, this is the perfect time to use up any old play dough you have lying around.
  • Vinegar, lots of it!  (this is the acid)
  • Baking Soda, lots of this too!  (this is the base)
  • Food Coloring, optional.  For our next volcano I think I will try using  beet powder instead to color our lava.  I love to find natural alternatives to food coloring.
  • A Pan with high sides

Instructions ~ Shape a volcano from play dough in your pan.  Use your hands to form a play dough cone, get the kids involved they love it! After you gather your audience, put some baking soda and coloring inside the volcano then add some vinegar and watch the fun!  If your kids are anything like mine, they will probably want you to blow it up again and again! It is fun to add a few “vents” by poking holes along the side of the volcano so the lava comes out there too.

~ Create Bathtub Volcanos ~

Follow up your volcano with mini bathtub volcanos for the kids to take home with them.  It is the perfect way to extend the learning and the fun!  These really are bath bombs; did you know that fun fizzing of bath bombs is all about acids and bases reacting?  Here is how to make your own! Mini Bathtub Volcanoes Materials ~ 

  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Citric Acid  (this is the acid)
  • 1/2 cup Epsom Salts
  • about a tablespoon of Witch Hazel
  • 10 to 20 drops of Essential Oils, favorite kid safe options are lavender, sweet orange, rose geranium, cardamom, spearmint and ylang ylang.  We used lavender to keep things simple.
  • 1 teaspoon Oil, like almond, apricot kernel or olive oil .  We used a calendula and lavender infused almond oil.
  • Molds, we used plastic eggs to make tiny volcano shapes; I also brought some soap molds that I have on hand so kiddos could have a choice.

There are lots and lots of bath bomb recipes online.  After researching I decided to based our super simple bath bombs off Mountain Rose Herbs beautiful Rose & Geranium Bath Bombs.

 Instructions ~ First it is really fun to run another simple little experiment with the kids so they know exactly what is happening with these mini volcanos.  Once again we created an acid/base mix in a glass by putting one spoonful of baking soda and a 1/2 spoonful of citric acid in the glass.  And what happened?  Nothing.  Nothing happens until you get water involved.  So we added some water and bubbles! Next we made our volcano bath bombs.  If you are making this with a group of kids, I really recommend practicing because the process is a tiny bit fussy. First, mix all the dry ingredients together making sure to break up any lumps. mixing Carefully add the oil and essential oils while stirring to limit any bubbling action in your bowl. Finally add the witch hazel a bit at a time, again stirring while you go.  I actually put the witch hazel in a spritzer bottle and spray it in to the mixture a couple squirts at a time.  This worked really well for me.  Keep spraying and mixing until the mixture holds together when you squeeze it in your hand. Mold the bombs with the kids by having them tightly pack the mixture into a mold. ~ as I said I brought in a few different shapes to choose from with plastic eggs as one choice.  Using half off a plastic egg creates a little volcano shape.  You can use what ever you have on hand and even just shape them with your hands by squeezing the mixture into whatever shape you want.

Using A Heart Shaped Mold

Making Heart Shapes

Pressing mixture into a plastic egg.

Pressing mixture into a plastic egg.

Let the bath bombs dry for a few days before using.  So the kids don’t miss out on the fun make sure to let them know to get into the tub before they put the bath bomb in because it only fizzes for a minute or so.

Do you have a favorite way to experiment with acids and bases?

Our Volcanoes/Bathbombs  

Shared On: Eco-Kid’s Tuesday, It’s Playtime!, Kid’s Get Crafty, Tender Moments, Kid’s CoopFriday’s Nature Table

Categories: Aromatherapy For Kids, Baths, Essential Oils, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Medicine Making, Playing With Herbs | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Rose ‘n’ Salt Dough Finger Prints For Mother’s Day

Precious little hands stay tiny for such a short while.  I am so in love with making a keepsake of this very special time, of those amazingly beautiful little fingers and palms.

dough prints

Pink rose petals in this dough are to symbolize love and motherhood, plus they give the dough a very delicate fragrance.

pink rose petals

I did this simple little project both at home with my girls and at the preschool, making two different versions.  At home we made a big plaque with both my big girls hands pressed into the dough, their thumbs overlapping.  The kids at the preschool cut out hearts from the rosy salt dough and pressed their fingers into the dough.  Both versions are totally cute and precious!

~ Materials ~

This makes enough dough for 15 hearts about 2″ by 3″ and one 8″ by 6″ plaque.  You can cut the recipe it in half if you want!

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of salt
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water, rose tea or rose-water for fragrance
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fluffy pink rose petals
  • straw
  • heart-shaped cookie cutter, optional
  • ribbons
  • sharpie marker, optional

~ Instructions ~

  • Blend together the flour, salt,  cream of tartar and rose petals.  
  • Next add the water a little bit at a time until you get a nice doughy consistency that holds together but is not sticky.  I did this all in my Kitchen Aid the night before going into the preschool and it was easy!  You could certainly mix this up with the kids too, which I am sure they would enjoy.  
  • At this point you are ready to make your shapes and prints, or you can refrigerate the dough in an air tight bag if, like me, you won’t be using it until the next day.  
  • Roll or press the dough out.

dough all pressed out

  • Either shape the dough to desired shape or cut out heart shapes with your cookie cutter.
  • Press the child’s hand into the dough.  You may need to talk with them about spreading their fingers apart.  Most of the kids I worked with instinctively placed their hand on the dough with their fingers all held together.  Also you may need to help them press their fingers into the dough.

imprinting

  • Use the straw to poke a little hole for hanging.
  • Dry these in the oven at a low temp for a couple of hours.  Be sure to keep a close eye on them and flip them half way through the drying process.  Or you can let them air dry for a couple of days.
  • Use the sharpie to write the child’s name and their age or the date on the back of the heart/plaque and add a pretty ribbon for hanging.

fingers

You could also paint these with modge podge to preserve them.  Or you could let the kiddos paint them to add a nice little personal touch.  Because we used the roses we aren’t going to paint ours so we can see and smell the roses!

A little poem to go with this sweet gift would be a lovely addition.  I found all a wonderful collection of poems on Can Teach.  Most of them make me tear up thinking about my own little ones growing up so very fast!

Mother's Day 2013

More Ideas for Mother’s Day Gifts ~

Some Sweet Foot Lovin’ For Mother’s Day

When I was researching this project I found a lot of wonderful salt dough recipes to choose from.  Here are two that I used the most for inspiration:

Create, Craft, Love and eHow Mom

Are you making gifts for Mother’s Day this year?

Happy Mother’s Day!

Shared On:  It’s Playtime!Eco-Kid’s TuesdayThe Kid’s Co-OpKid’s Get Crafty, Friday’s Nature Table

Categories: Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbal Gift Ideas, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Mother's Day, Playing With Herbs, Roses, Spring | Tags: , , | 14 Comments

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