My daughter is always wanting to smell, and touch every single thing in the kitchen. From milk, to tea bags, to sugar. She even wants to sniff things that I swear don’t have a smell! So I thought I would set up an activity where she could freely explore a few common kitchen ingredients. For this activity, we used coffee grounds, cocoa powder, and regular flour. Talk about an activity that smells amazing! I also threw in some bottle caps, and spoons to add some fine motor practice.
- Coffee grounds
- Cocoa Powder
- Large Storage bin
- Bottle tops/lids
- Small bowls, or containers to hold your ingredients
- A Cookie pan, or a large tray.
- Shower curtain liner, or table cloth.
- Gather all your materials.
- Spread a table cloth, or shower curtain liner out on the floor, or do this activity outside. We are having an insanely hot summer, so I did this activity inside. I love using a shower curtain liner, or a washable table cloth, so I can just shake the mess out in the trash can, or outside, and then throw it in the washing machine!
- Place your flour, coffee, and cocoa powder into small bowls, or containers. To contain some of the inevitable spilling, I would suggest placing your bowls on top of a cookie sheet. Don’t forget to add spoons! I thought it would be a cute touch to add measuring spoons to this activity, since my daughter loves to use measuring spoons.
- Line your lids, and bottle caps up in the bottom of a large shallow storage bin. I always save up bottle tops from milk, juice, Gatorade, and water bottles. My daughter’s personal favorite is the metal lids off of spaghetti sauce jars. I even threw in a few lids from small ice cream containers. If you don’t have small lids, or bottle tops, you could always do a bunch of small cups, or containers. I think we will add some of my daughter’s small plastic tea cups next time, and pretend we are drinking coffee. It definitely smelled like a coffee shop in my house!
- Have your child go to town scooping, smelling, and running the ingredients through their fingers to their hearts content. I set up this activity with the intention of having my daughter scoop the ingredients into the lids, but after I suggest an idea, I like to sit back, and let her do her own thing. I love activities like this, where she can fully explore different ingredients with all of her senses. If you are worried about your child eating the coffee, you could always use decaf coffee. You could also have fun with different ingredients, you don’t have to stick to just these three!
- After your child has fun scooping for awhile, you can add water to the mix. I waited until my daughter fully explored the ingredients, and scooped, and stirred for awhile, before I added the distraction of water. If you teach, or have raised toddlers, you know how much toddlers love playing with water. I knew if I introduced water upfront, the whole thing would be a soggy mess before she got the chance to explore the ingredients!
- Sit back, and watch the fun! Enjoy the cups, or caps full of mush your child tries to make you smell, or “drink”. If you used a washable table cloth, or a shower curtain liner, you can pat yourself on the back because you know that you can just throw that dirty sucker in the washer when everything is over.
This sensory experience was something we will definitely try again. While I don’t drink coffee, I love the smell of it, and I would rather be forced to smell coffee, then any other random thing my toddler shoves under my nose! What is your favorite sensory activity? We would love to hear from you, we are always looking to try new things!