Google+ bakers and astronauts: Making : Smelly Pictures

01 October 2012

Making : Smelly Pictures

Getting children to engage with new foods and being "adventurous eaters" is one of the main things I'm doing in my work.  Gardens are wonderful, and seeing something go from seed to seedling to plant to edible plant is pretty magical - often magical enough to make even the pickiest of eaters open to harvesting the plant and putting it in their mouth.

It isn't too often that a garden program for kids has children in the same garden long enough to see the fruits of their labor.  So we need to find even more ways to engage the senses, to expose kids to new ideas, flavors, and tastes...and one activity that had mountains of success in engaging the senses was what I call spice collages, and what the campers lovingly called smelly pictures.

The concept is simple, really, and I think it counts as open-ended.  We used paintbrushes to apply white glue in a design or picture (or whatever, really), and then sprinkled spices on top.  It is the old glitter project, but with smell instead of sparkle.

Throughout the process, children are opening their senses to some pretty bold items, including cumin, cinnamon, mint, and anise.  I thought about making spice kits that would allow the picture to smell a bit more cohesive - Thai, Indian, Italian - the possibilities are endless!

We offered that they could add leaves from the herb spiral as well, and some did do that.  The dried spices will last a while on the paper, though, and the fresh ones will dry over time, I suppose.

With younger children, we used glue sticks and put the spices into salt shakers for easy application!  This is something that is easy to execute, and is a great step in learning more about food literacy at any age.  I hope you'll give it a try!

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