Plants are a great opportunity for sensory exploration, especially smell! And what better way to explore smell than with herbs?
Gather as many herbs as you can. Try a few distinct herbs: basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, and dill are all easy to find. Depending on the time of year, farmers at your local market will probably be selling most of them. Give your child a small amount of each, one at a time. Let them rub the herbs in their hands and experience all the different smells. Ask them what the smells remind them of, which are their favorites, or if there are any they don’t like.
If you have any dried herbs, show those to your child, too. Talk about what’s different between the dried herbs and fresh herbs. How do fresh herbs become dried herbs?
Now that you’ve explored herbs with your child, try putting them in different foods and see if your child can notice them. Try cilantro in scrambled eggs, or mint in lemonade.
If you don’t have space for a garden, herbs are easy to grow in a windowsill or on a porch or balcony! See this resource about growing herbs indoors. Maybe you can even grow your child’s new favorite herbs!