As a part of our Christmas Unit Study, we spent some time talking about the Wise Men.
Back in those days, spices were for the wealthy and were even used for currency. Of course, certain smells are linked to the Christmas season too. This was a perfect sensory activity to bring the past to the present.
For this activity, I used sanding screen (since I could not find my sandpaper), a cotton ball, glue, mailing labels printed with the names of each spice, and a piece of construction paper. For spices, I used rosemary springs, whole allspice, whole peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and vanilla, but you could use just about any whole spice you have available.
A couple of hours before school, I glued the cotton ball and piece of sanding screen to the construction paper.
When it was time for the activity, we talked about the gifts the Wise Men brought to Jesus and how people could actually use spices to trade for other items like we use money. Then, I passed each spice around and let the children smell it.
Then, I gave them each a piece and they rubbed it onto the sanding screen. The rosemary was a pain but the other spices worked really well.
For the vanilla, I gave each child about 1/8 teaspoon and they poured it onto the cotton ball.
As they worked, we placed a label over the spot where they put each spice. In the end, everyone agreed that vanilla was the favorite. I love it when they can all agree.
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