I love this time of year and all the holiday smells around. Mid-November in our house we start making what we like to call Scentamentals, scented holiday decor. This is a great project to allow children to play with all their senses, even the young ones. My daughter was able to do this pretty much on her own last year when she was barely three. They are that easy to make and enjoy!
What You Need
- Unblemished Apple or Orange
- Whole Cloves
- Ribbon (optional)
Step 1: Prepare the supplies by choosing which fruit you would like to use and pouring a handful of whole cloves on the table or in a small bowl. We used apples last year and oranges this year. They both smell great, but I’m a bigger fan of the oranges!
Step 2: This is a perfect time to talk about your senses and ask your little helpers what they see (shapes/color) and smell, how the orange and the cloves feel, etc. My kiddos also love to talk about taste, even if I don’t ask them to. If you ask my daughter, she will tell you cloves taste hot.
Step 3: Demonstrate how to poke the cloves into the fruit. First poke it in slightly so it breaks the skin and then take the fat tip of your finger and push it in as far as you would like. Dried cloves can be pokey and when we did it this way there was less frustration from being poked. You can have the cloves in all the way or sticking out. It’s up to your kids.
Tip: If you have a child who is really sensitive to the poking, you can try a Band-Aid on the finger or thumb they are pressing the cloves in with, and/or pre-poking the holes for them with a knitting needle or something similar.
Step 4: Add as many cloves as wanted. I try to encourage my kids to put as many as they can or would like because it smells so good! My son likes to create a design, often poking the cloves in and taking them out multiple times, while my daughter likes to spread them out all over.
We started doing one orange, which was a great way to practice turn taking, and switched to two oranges so each kiddo could create their own.
Step 5: When finished, place to the side and out in the open to let them dry out. Aim for a week to 10 days. The apples seemed to need this more than the oranges did when we made them. If you are going to hang this somewhere when it is done drying out, tie a ribbon around it now (before drying) with a loop on the top so you can hang it later.
Step 6: After drying, you can hang this scented ball in a closet, pantry, near the front door, or wherever else you would like a burst of this lovely smell. Last year we tied up our apples and hung them out in the open in the kitchen. Not necessarily pretty, but my kiddos loved to talk about them. This year, we don’t have many places to hang things, so our oranges are going to be out on the kitchen counter. It’s only been a few days since we made our oranges and I can smell them six or so feet away. Love it!
Bonus Info: I did some research and discovered there are variations of our little Holiday Tradition called Clove Apples (with oranges or apples, too) and they used to be quite popular back before store-bought alternatives were easily available. You can create them using the same process as above, but you want to cover the entire fruit in cloves.