Celebrate Earth Day with this Kid-Friendly Project!
By Liz Fulcher, RA, CMT
April 22, 2012 is Earth Day and the perfect time to introduce children as young as three years of age to the concept of keeping our planet healthy. Letting them make something as simple, fun and safe as an organic cleaning scrub can be a fun way to disguise a lesson in green living, aromatherapy and botany — all in one!
If you have kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, or you’re in charge of other people’s kids at a daycare or school, this aromatic project will easily fill an hour of time.
The ingredients are inexpensive, natural and kid-friendly. Cleanup is easy and afterward the kitchen or classroom will really smell great.
One morning last year when my grandson Bean was three, we did this project and he just loved it. His Mom was thrilled, too, when he presented her with the aromatic soft scrub he had made all by himself (well, almost)!
Here is the recipe I used with my grandson along with some suggestions to make the activity fun and educational:
- 1 C Baking Soda (Arm & Hammer or Bob’s Red Mill…both are aluminum-free)
- 4 Tablespoons of Organic Liquid Castile Soap (like Dr. Bronners)
- 2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
- 15 drops of organic Sweet Orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis)
- 15 drops of organic Scotch Pine essential oil (Pinus sylvestris)
- 15 drops of organic Spike Lavender essential oil (Lavendula latifolia)
- Labels and fine point markers
- If possible, an orange, a bit of a pine tree branch and some lavender flowers.
- Big bowl, spatula, wide-mouth 16 ounce container
1. Measure out the baking soda and let your child pour it into the big bowl. Children tend to lean down into everything so remind them to keep their heads back to avoid the fine powder puffing up into their faces.
2. Get your camera. Now let them slowly pour the vinegar over the baking soda and catch the great faces they make as they experience the dramatic fizz that occurs when these two substances meet!
3. Add the liquid castile soap.
4. Open the bottle of orange essential oil. Invite them to sniff it from the bottle or on a tissue. Pick up your orange (fruit) and talk about how essential oil is formed inside the skin and how clever Mother Nature is to give us something that smells so good and also keeps us healthy. Let them drop the essential oil in while counting out loud…one…two…three, etc. When working with small children, please supervise closely because getting any of these essential oils in the eyes or nostrils will burn. If that happens, use olive oil to remove the essential oil, rather than water.
5. Now open the bottle of lavender essential oil for them to smell. Pick up the lavender flowers and talk about how the oil is formed inside the flowers, and tell them about how this oil can not only kill germs but it also helps us feel calm when we are scared or having a bad day. Have them add drops of this oil to the batch.
6. Do the same thing with your Scotch Pine, using words like “fresh” or “woodsy” to help give them language around aromas. You might want to say something about how great a Christmas pine tree smells or a walk in the forest and that this oil will not only kill harmful germs but helps us breath better, too. They can drop that into the batch as well.
7. Finally, let the child stir the mixture until it becomes smooth and creamy. If it’s too dry you can add a shot of castile soap or vinegar. The soft scrub should have the consistency of icing.
8. Spoon the soft scrub into your 16 ounce container and add a label with the child’s name and date. Let them make up a clever Earth Day name!
Finally, I suggest you let the child actually use their new creation. Put a blob of the scrub on a sponge and let them rub it around the inside of the sink so they can experience the aroma and texture and see how well it cleans the sink.
Be sure to have fun with this; play some nice background music and let them know how using natural things can help every person and animal on the planet for a long, long time.
Oh, and please let me know if you figure out a way to keep them having that kind of enthusiasm for cleaning well into their teenage years!
Liz Fulcher, CA, RA, is a Clinical Aromatherapist and Aromatherapy Educator who offers classes in essential oils throughout the year at her school, Aromatic Wisdom Institute which includes a NAHA-approved 235-Hour Aromatherapy Certification Program.
To learn more about Liz, click here to visit her web-site: Aromatic Wisdom Institute
Click here to purchase Liz’s NAHA Teleconference Presentation: Learn How to Make and Use Essential Oil SoulCollage Cards.
Would you like to contribute an article for a future NAHA E-newsletter? Click here to download the Writer’s Guidelines.