I am a HUGE advocate of affording children every opportunity to connect with nature. Children are truly rooted in nature and it is us adults with our busy schedules and endless to-do lists that break that intuitive bond children have with the wild.
It is very sad really. Children do their best work (be it play or learning) when given the time and space to commune with mother earth and all she offers.
I have always given my daughter the opportunity to connect with, discover, and be hands on with herbs.
Wildcrafting, allowing medical plants to heal us, and listening to what our bodies WANT from the natural world has been something that I have given her ample time with. As a little 18 month old, she was helping me craft skincare recipes for Coconut Oil For Your Skin.
It’s amazing what we adult can glean from watching our children interact with the plant world. They often “just know” far more than we give them credit for knowing and understanding. That is because children are still able to listen to their bodies. They might not be able to communicate so we adults understand but trust me when I say that children know what their bodies need. (So long as we adults don’t go and junk it up).
Summer and early Autumn are the perfect times to cultivate your children’s relationships with the world of medicinal plants. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t want to get hands on with herbs. And so, today I am sharing those activities that my daughter loved best and STILL enjoys doing today.
5 Fun and Easy Herbal Activities For Children Of All Ages
Make A Salve
This is absolutely one of my favorite activities to do with my daughter but it is also one of her favorite activities to work on alone. While very young children will need guidance and supervision, older children, who have been making salves for a bit, can handle doing this on their own.
One of the best things about salve making is that you can get a deep understanding of the healing powers of various herbs. From making the initial herbal infusion, to making the actual end product, salve making is truly an herbal art form. Children love being able to use the salve that they created themselves. Sleepy time salve was a huge hit around here and my daughter used to beg to make it!
If you are wondering where to start, why not grab my Salve Made Simple eBook? It’s a great way to learn how to make salves and there are TONS of great recipes.
Start An Herb Garden
This might seem like an obvious choice but my approach to the child-led herb garden might be a bit different than most. Instead of planting herbs willy nilly, I ask my daughter what sort of ailments or health issues she would like to be able to make wildcrafted remedies for. Once we have our list, we sit and research (if we don’t already know) which herbs we will need to plant that season. This is a wonderful way to encourage a deep understanding of the medicinal properties of herbs but it also cultivates an interest in herbs one might not often come across.
Another fun way to plant an herb garden is with a “theme.” We have had a Mediterranean herb garden. Not only did this get my daughter interested in the value of herbs when used in cooking but it also took the common cooking herbs to another level of connection. While basil is pretty commonly known for its ability to make pestos that rock, most children (and adults too) do not have an understanding of its non-cooking properties. One year we did an entire mint garden, experimenting with all kinds of various mints! That was pretty fun.
So get out and help your children plant their very own herb garden. The skills learned through this will stay with them forever.
Celebrate An Herb A Month
We like to have little parties every month to honor and give thanks for a particular herb! This wasn’t something we started doing until my daughter was about four, but it has been really fun. We select an herb and throughout the month we cook with it, bake with it, make teas and other herbal infusions with it, read about it, tell stories with the herb in it, color pictures of it, and try to find it growing wild in nature.
This approach to connecting with herbs has been really exciting! When we added our Herb Of The Month box subscription to the celebration, it really took things to a new level. We were able to create new salves, lotions, creams, and toners using the ingredients supplied in the box. So these days, we make sure that our Herb of The Month coincides with our Herb Box subscription. I tell you, best monthly investment ever.
Make A Yummy Treat With Herbs
Did you know that herbs make for some delicious and rather sophisticate tasting sweet treats? I adore my Lavender Lemon Cookies but really, these are a pretty basic herbal treat to make. There are so many ways to bake and make nourishing treats with herbs!
If you would like to find some awesome cookbooks that focus on herbs, you can check out my short list here.
Also, hunt around the internet. There are some wonderful herbal ice cream recipes out there. Oh my! Children also enjoy making and drinking herbal infusions so why not give that a try this summer.
Make Herbal Medicine
This sounds scarier than it really is. If you have never tried your hand at herbal medicine making, then you simply must start with elderberry syrup. You honestly can’t go wrong with that one. Other great herbal formulas that are easy to make are cough soothers, a headache soothing tincture, or a tummy tonic.
I shared a lot of recipes and ideas as part of my Herbs and Children series. Check out some of those posts and see if you can find a recipe that you and your children can make together.
Teaching children to make and encouraging children to continue making herbal medicine is a lifelong skill that I think will become more and more valuable. As more parents move away from Western medical practices and look for more holistic solutions, being able to make your own medicine will be invaluable. So why not get your children involved at a young age?
If you are looking for some additional inspiration, why not check out Herb Books For Children Of All Ages? it is a great resource post!
What are some of your children’s favorite herbal activities? Please share what they love best!