Exploring outdoors – Finding smells

Exploring Outdoors PostThis weeks Exploring Outdoors is J’s new obsession in the garden – he’s discovered that plants can smell. I have found the sense of smell a really difficult one to get across to him (more posts coming soon on exploring smell) but it seems despite my 2 years of lack of imagination in this department he’s got it and discovered it all himself.

One of the things that I love is using Fresh herbs in my cooking and on our deck we have a pot of different culinary herbs which are all safe for J or T if they decide to pick and eat them – although as both have found out the curry plant is not to their liking – however until recently they haven’t paid much interest in them at all. Now it is their go to plants in the garden as we have thoroughly explored the daffodils.

Exploring the sense of smell

Herbs are great for having in the garden with children – there are varieties that are safe if eaten (these are ones that we keep close to the house – our bay tree is in the far back) and also they grow better the more they are picked. At the moment we have a curry plant, some thyme, garden mint, rosemary, chives and parsley. I’ve got lots of seeds that J and I are planting to add to this with some basil and oregano.

Picking Rosemary to explore the smells

J picking rosemary from our kitchen herb pot to see what it smells like

J will now go and sit by the herb pot and pick some of the leaves, smell them and taste them to see what they are like and bring them to me to smell – because the plants are always in the same place and have distinctive colours, smells and taste he is quickly learning what each of them is called.

Our book link this week is a book which T and J both enjoy – Whose Nose is a lift the flap book full of noses and you have to guess which animal the nose belongs to. As I read it with T she loves to lift the flaps on the animals and see them playing peekaboo with her, it’s great for language development as we match the rhyming words and animals with the pictures which are bright and colourful. J loves it as he can guess which animal the nose belongs to and we also sing Old MacDonald had a zoo and use each animal in the book as an animal in the zoo.

Do you have any recommendations for more herbs that we could plant near the house with distinctive smells?

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Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and now mum. She's passionate about supporting learning at school at home, bringing books alive, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Creative, Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Rainy Day Mum


  1. says

    My kids like to eat herbs straight out of the garden too, especially mint. We have similar herbs to you and we did try coriander once but it wasn’t very successful. I love your terracotta pot with the little openings down the side – that would be perfect for herbs.
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  2. says

    I just found your blog through pinterest tonite. We have a vegetable and herb garden every year too. My boys enjoy helping me pick new veggies each year, which I find gives them the desire to eat veggies more than they normally would. They enjoy seeing what their little hands have picked out, planted and cared for.

    Another herb you may try is Lemon Balm. Lemon thyme is also really good. Both are safe for children as far as I’m aware, but I would obviously do your own research. We enjoy making Lemon Balm into tea. Lemon thyme is really good on fish or in rice and pasta dishes.

    Hope these help! There are so many wonderful herbs out there.

    • says

      Oh Lemon Balm and Thyme sound great will have to look out for them. I popped over to your store and I love the fabrics wish we could get some of the ranges in the UK that you have in the USA :(


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