♥ Summer Herb Camp: Week Four Squeaky Clean Bath Time Fun! ♥

♥ Summer Herb Camp: Week Four Squeaky Clean Bath Time Fun! ♥

Let's get squeaky clean 

with herbs and aromatherapy!

Our fourth week of summer camp is all about using herbs, essential oils and other natural materials to care for our bodies all while having a blast!  First is a fully description about how to host a spa day for kids.  Then there are some great bath recipes that kids can make.  Finally, please find a little section for parents!   


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The Herbal Sock Bath For Kids

An interactive experience from start to finish, the sock bath is lots of fun to make with children.  What is the sock bath you ask?  I first learned about this great way to use herbs in the tub from my teacher, Brigitte Mars.  To make a sock bath simply put your chosen herbs in a sock, tie a knot in the top and toss it in the tub... super easy! Having made sock baths a few times with the kids at preschool, I have come to notice that the kids just love them.  They enjoy picking out their very own herbal blend to put in the sock and then they love playing with the knotted sock, snuggling with it and enjoying the scents of the herbs.  Once you get the sock bath into the tub it is great fun to watch the water change color as the herbs mix with the bath water.  And then squeezing all the herb-rich water out of the sock into the bath makes for a very tactile experience indeed.

sock bath herbs

~ Making Sock Baths With Kids ~

The process is a lot like some of the other baths I have shared like, Minty Mint Bath and Rosy Oatmeal Bath, but is tailored for creating with kids.

Materials ~

  • A sock for each child.  When I do this at school, I ask each child to bring in a long clean sock from home, not a kid size one!  You need big socks to stuff!
  • Bath Herbs examples are ~ roses, chamomile, lavender, catnip, calendula, and mints.
  • Oatmeal, this is optional but it makes the bath so very much fun because when the sock bath is all wet in the tub and the child squeezes it, a skin nourishing slippery, milkiness exudes from the sock, so cool!
  • Epsom Salts, totally optional
  • Kid Friendly Essential Oils such as ~ lavender, sweet orange, spearmint, rosemary, rose geranium and ylang ylang.  These are optional too!
  • A Jar or Glass, have one for each child you plan to work with if you are going to do this in a group.  Or you can have one jar/glass if you are going to work with each child separately.  I used a plastic one to prevent problems with breakage.

Method ~

  • Give each child a jar/glass in which to create their sock bath.
  • Working with either one child at a time or a few at a time, have the child(ren) choose the herbs they would like in their sock bath.  Help them place about a 1/8 to 1/4 cup of each herb into their jar or glass.
  • Add oatmeal and epsom salts if desired using about 1/8 to 1/4 cup each.
  • Add the essential oils, about 4 to 8 drops total of whatever combination of oils you are using.  If they want they can stir up their bath with a spoon.

stir it up

  • Then help the child(ren) to place to opening of their sock over the opening of their jar/glass and then once the sock is secure, dump the jar/glass over so the contents fall down inside the sock.  (You might want to have the child hold the sock onto the jar if it is not a tight seal.)  The child(ren) may need to give it all a little shake to get all the bath into the sock.

Filling the sock

  • Once all the bath is in the sock, remove the sock from the jar/glass and tie off the top!
  • You can let the child(ren) play with their sock if you wish.  
  • Let the children's parents know how to use the bath ~ Just toss it in the tub with the child and let the play begin!  Encourage the child to squeeze their sock bath so they can really smell the herbs and enjoy the wonderful herbed water that comes out of the bath.   

Happy Creative Bathing!

Shared On:  It's Playtime!, Tender Moments, Eco-Kids Tuesday, The Kid's Co-op, Make Your Own Monday, The Gathering Spot, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Kid's Get Crafty, Friday's Nature Table

Rosy Oatmeal Bath

Heart opening roses in the bath restores the nervous system while cleansing and toning the skin.

Oatmeal in the bath creates a rich mucilage that is extremely soothing to dry skin.  

Rose Geranium eases nervous tension and rejuvenates skin.

Pure simple delight!  

Rosy Oatmeal Bath
Rosy Oatmeal Bath

~ Make your very own Rosy Oatmeal bath  ~

In a cloth or muslin bag wrap:

  • 1 to 2 large handfuls of dried rose petals or rose buds (organic please!)
  • 1 to 2 large handfuls of oatmeal

Toss the bundle in the tub and fill with the hottest water from your faucet.  Let your bundle steep in the tub until the water is cool enough for bathing about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the heat of your water.

Next Add:

  • 6 to 10 drops of rose geranium essential oil
  • a handful of epsom salt, optional

Climb in and enjoy this super soothing, comforting bath!  Be sure to squeeze and squish your bundle of roses and oatmeal to liberate the slippery, milky goodness from the oats.  Use your bundle as a nice gentle scrub all over your body.  I even put some on my face and let it remain there for a while to nourish my skin.  Oh so simple and lovely...

After my bath ~

My skin was soft, so soft!  I felt truly relaxed, nourished and ready for the rest of my day.

Herbal Infusions ~ Healthful Simplicity

Nourishing Mama Mission Four ~

Ever heard of herbal infusions?  Like a tea but much better with a stronger nutritive and medicinal action herbal infusions are true nourishment in a cup.  Plus they are easy to make and easy to drink.  What could be better for a busy mama?

This is the fourth pursuit of the Nourishing Mama Mission and if done regularly over time it is very powerful indeed.

Herbal infusions are incredibly useful for providing the body with easy to assimilate nutrition.  Infusions differ from tea because the plant material is steeped for a much longer period of time than a regular cup of tea.  This allows for all the medicinal constituents including vitamins and minerals to be liberated from the herb.  Regular drinking of infusions over time provides a strong base and deep nutrition for the body.  You can drink 2 to 4 cups infusion every day or even just a couple of days a week as a way to support yourself.

 

~ Herbs To Use ~

When making and drinking infusions it is best to use gentle, nutritive and tonifying herbs which act mostly as food for the body.  A great way to start working with herbal infusions to start by infusing and drinking one herb at a time.  This gives you a chance to really get to know each herb.  How does it feel in your body?  What does it really taste like?

Good Herbs To Start With Are ~

Stinging Nettle ~ Urtica dioica

This is a highly nutritive plant that stimulates blood flow and is a body wide tonic with an affinity for the kidneys and adrenals.  Nettle’s high vitamin, mineral and chlorophyll content feeds the endocrine glands, builds the blood, provides essential nutrients for a stressed out nervous system and nourishes the liver.  It will strengthen and revitalizes weak kidneys thereby increasing energy.   It’s high amounts of iron and calcium increase hemoglobin in the blood encouraging increased oxygen transport to tissues.  It is high in vitamin K which facilities proper blood clotting.  Nettle activates the metabolism, therefore assisting in the absorption of the very nutrients it provides!  It is an astringent plant that tightens and firms tissues.  This action arrests bleeding and discharge from tissues, increasing their health and strength.

Oatstraw ~ Avena sativa

Oat is a nutritive herb that soothes and protects the nervous system by providing essential vitamins and minerals.  Oat creates a sense of well being, supporting the emotions and integrity of the individual.  Indicated for nervous debility or exhaustion with depression; fatigue, even with a good sleep; dark circles under the eyes; heart palpitations when pushing too hard; and/or stimulant abuse.  It is beneficial for those who have suffered sexual abuse and trauma, resulting in sexual debility.  One quart of infusion drunk daily will provide powerful benefits.

Red Raspberry Leaves Rubus spp. (idaeus, strigosus, parviflous)

The leaves of this plant make a delicious infusion, which is high in vitamins and minerals: especially calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins C, B and E.   Raspberry leaf is an energetic tonic for the reproductive organs..

Red Clover Blossoms ~ Trifolium pratense

This beautiful and commonly occurring ‘weed’ is a phytosterol, alterative and nutritive.  Red clover is a phytosterol with estrogenic activity.  Because of this, it acts as a defense against xenoestrogens (detrimental estrogens that occur in the environment as a result of pollution) by competing for estrogen binding sites.  In fact my teacher Feather Jones explained to us that red clover also aids in creating a more powerful estrogen cycle.  Red clover is highly nutritive with good quality, easily absorbable vitamins and minerals, proteins, fatty acids and flavinoids.  All of which nourish the whole body: particularly providing vitamins for the uterus; minerals for the glands, which act to equalize hormonal activity and relax the nervous system.  It also contains coumarins that decrease blood viscosity, hence increasing blood flow throughout the body.  Do not take red clover for the first trimester of pregnancy or exceed two quarts of infusion per week during the later part of pregnancy due to its phytoestrogenic properties.  Also, when buying red clover look for purple flower tops with a minimal amount of leaves.

Alfalfa ~ Medicago satvia

This amazing plant has a tap root that reaches a full 100 feet down deep into the rich depths of Mother Earth bringing up mineral rich goodness right into it's leaves and stems.  Infusion made with alfalfa gives all the wonderful nutrition brought up from way down deep into the cup.  Known as "The Father Of All Foods," alfalfa is a highly nutritive herb bringing health the body by feeding it well.

Chamomile ~ Matricaria spp.

Chamomile is a soothing and relaxing herb that contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B-2, and flavinoids.  It helps relieve anxiety and stress as well as pain and irritation in the gut, being particularly useful for flatulence and indigestion.  Chamomile is also helpful for restlessness and insomnia.   It steadies those suffering from nervous debility.  Drinking chamomile infusion before nursing will impart these wonderful qualities to the breast milk and can help sooth an irritated child and alleviate some of the stress of colic.  If you are making an infusion of chamomile, only steep for 3 to 8 minutes as it will become very bitter.   Don't worry, this one is still very effective with the short brewing time.  People who are sensitive to ragweed maybe be allergic to chamomile.

 

Red Raspberry Leaf

~ Making Your Infusion Brew ~

Place 1 large handful of dried herb in a canning jar (using up to 1 ounce of herb per quart of liquid, experiment with your tastes).  Cover with hot or cold water, place a cap on top and let steep for at least  4 hours and then strain.  You can dilute your infusion with water or juice, or add honey to taste.  I usually make my infusions before going to bed and then strain the infusion the next morning into a bottle I can carry around with me during the day.  Please be sure to use appropriate containers such as canning jars as they will not break when exposed to the high heat of boiling water.  You can make extra quantities ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.  If your infusion takes on an unusual smell or begins to bubble it has gone bad.  Unused leftovers can be given to plants as a superb growth tonic, and the spent herbal matter makes excellent compost.

~ Infusion Blends ~

Once you get the hang of making and drinking infusions you may decide to try blending your favorites together to create fun tasty combinations.

Here are some of my favorite blends:

  • Oatstraw & Lemon Balm ~ Simply add a small handful each of oatstraw and lemon balm in a jar.  Cover with water, steep for at least four hours and strain.  This is my favorite infusion right now!
  • Raspberry, Nettle & Spearmint~ Put a small handful each of raspberry leaf and nettle leaf in a jar and a few pinches of spearmint leaf.  Cover with water, steep for at least four hours and strain.  Play with the quantities of herbs to adjust to your taste.
  • Raspberry, Oatstraw & Chamomile ~ Put a small handful each of raspberry leaf and oatstraw in a jar, fill halfway with water and let steep for at least four hours.  About 15 minutes before you are ready to strain the infusion add a small handful of chamomile flowers and fill the jar to the top with hot water.  Let steep for up to 15 minutes and strain.  Add honey if this brew is to bitter.

Look for more tasty infusion recipes in the coming days and weeks.

Blessings and Love!

More Nourishing Mama Mission...

Mama On A Mission ~ Introduction

Nourishing Mama Mission One ~ Cultivating Sacred Space 

Nourishing Mama Mission Two ~ Attitude of Gratitude ~ The Start of the Day

Nourishing Mama Mission Three ~ The Art of Bathing

 

For more information on using herbs safely check out my guest post on

Natural Living Mama "Herbal Medicine Safety Considerations

 

Mindful Crafts & Activities For Happy Kids

Finding meaningful ways to engage children in becoming aware of and exploring their emotions is an important step towards raising confident, happy kids.  And the last few weeks the kids and I filled our time together breathing deep, talking about our emotions and playing!  I would like to share some of the wonderful projects we did that helped us engage our whole-selves, become aware of our emotions and find ways to center ourselves. These projects are perfect to do with young children and even have complete lesson plans for those of you working with a group of kids.  Most of the projects have a bit of science thrown in while all of them offer kid-approved fun and creativity!

An Aromatic State Of Mind

Conduct a science experiment with essential oils to see what oils insight certain feelings.  Then create a unique piece of art work inspired by an aroma of your choice!

Happiness

Flower 'n' Spice Play Dough Mandalas

Create a beautiful fragrant meditative mandala from lovely botanicals.

Flowers, spices and berries pressed into a base of lavender scented playdough for a calming, centering activity.

Meditation Friends

Create a special mind jar with a friendly face.  This project helps kids learn to breathe and slow down with they feel out of sorts.

Silly friends for helping kids center themselves.

Meditation Friends II

A special twist on Meditation Friends that allows for even more personalization of your child's special new friend!

New colorful friends with lots of kid chosen personalitiy.

Yoga Play With Babar's Yoga For Elephants

Simple yoga play with a favorite elephant!  We used this super fun book to guide us through a morning of giggly yoga.

Do you have any special ways to help kids learn about emotions or mindful ways of how to engage themselves?  I would love to hear about them and give them a try!

Wishing you lots of peaceful fun!

Sleepy Time Foot Balm For Kids

tooties

tooties

Who doesn't like a good foot massage?  A nice rub is especially relaxing before bed.  Massage oils and balms made with essential oils massaged into the bottom of feet at bedtime helps to induce sleep as well as fight infection.

Did You Know ~ Our bodies are able to absorb a phenomenal amount through the skin on the bottom of our feet.  In fact an old remedy for coughs is to rub the bottom of the feet with olive oil, put minced garlic on top of the oil and then put socks over the whole thing.  Within a very short amount of time the person's breath will smell of garlic!  The garlic then helps to fight infection from the inside of the lungs out as the person breathes.

Creating Foot Balms With Kids ~ 

What is better than squishing and squeezing a bag of gooey goodness?  This is just what we did recently at preschool.  The kids each created their own sleepy time foot balm in a little baggie for mixing.  Originally we were going to use tins to put the balms in but what fun is that?

squishing foot balm

Materials ~

Important Note: These essential oils are generally considered safe for kids from age 2 and up. If your child is very small and may get into the foot balm or otherwise misuse it, please store it up out of their reach when you are not in the room with them.  Essential oils are not safe to use internally. 

Instructions ~

  • Place a big spoonful (about a tablespoon) or two of the shea butter and coconut oil in a baggie.  
  • Let the children smell the essential oils and pick out a couple of their favorites that make them feel relaxed and sleepy.  
  • Add these essential oils to the shea butter/coconut oil blend.  Because this is a really loose project with no exact measurement for the shea butter/coconut oil blend, I errored on the side of too little essential oil, to be safe, rather than risk using to much.  So I used up to 6 drops of essential per baggie.  This means that if the child choose lavender, cedarwood and ylang ylang for the essential oils, I put 2 drops of each oil in their baggie for a total of 6 drops.  See Essential Oils for more information on using them herbal preparation safely.
  • Seal the bag shut tight!
  • Now for the fun part... Mixing it all up!  It is the child's job to mix up all that goodness by squishing it around to their heart's content!
squeezing foot balm

To Use ~

At bedtime rub a little bit of the balm on the bottoms of your child's feet.  This is  a great time to connect with a little massage and conversation or lullaby.  Then cover your child's feet with socks.  Off to slumber land they go!

More~ 

Nightmares And Night Terrors, What's A Mama To Do?

Soothing Herbal Bath For Irritated Muscles & Nerves

Frustrated, angry muscles and nerves plagued me over the past few days leaving me all sore and aching.  When I am sore I always try to fit in a nice hot soak in the tub.  Even with just epsom salts and hot water, I usually feel so much better after soaking.  This time I made my bath even more soothing with the following blend of salts and herbs ~ oatstraw to ease my nerves and rosemary for muscle soreness.  It worked wonders!

Make Your Own ~

In a cloth or muslin bag wrap:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dried rosemary leaf
  • 1/2 cup oatstraw
oatstraw filled bag
oatstraw filled bag

Toss the bundle in the tub and fill with the hottest water from your faucet.  Let the herbs steep in the tub until the water is cool enough for bathing about 15 to 30 minutes depending on the heat of your water.  The water will turn a buttery light yellow.

Next Add:

  • 1 to 2 cups Epsom salts
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 5 drops ginger essential oil
  • 5 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 2 drops vetivert essential oil

My vetivert essential oil has turned into a thick syrup oil so I had to patiently wait for each drop to slowing make it's way out of the bottle but it was so worth it!

After this bath I felt relaxed, centered and less soreness.  I took my bath quite hot and only stayed in for about 15 minutes, it was like soaking in an herbal hot springs.  Then I got out and laid on the floor with my feet on the sill of an open window.  I laid there breathing deep and relaxing.  As my body cooled down the tension drained out of my muscles.  I felt so calm and peaceful.  My muscles and nerves are finally nourished, letting go of tension...

Relaxedly yours.....

Babar's Yoga for Elephants

An Original Laurent De Brunhoff Book

A couple of years ago, I spied this awesome book peaking its binding out of a shelf at one of my favorite used book stores.  I loved Babar as a child and my child loves yoga, so this was a win-win.  I brought Babar's Yoga home with me and wrapped it up for my little one's Valentine's surprise, a total gift of love.  Immediately upon opening the book she wanted me to read it and with in moments we were both giggling, breathing and doing yoga together.  As I said this was a couple of years ago; she loved the book then and still loves it, keeping it bedside along with a few other precious books.

Babar's Yoga for Elephants also made a trip to the preschool with me as part of our unit on Mindful Self Care.  The kids and I read though it, having a blast stretching and rolling around on the floor together.  We took a few moments here and there with hands on our bellies to take big deep breaths and center ourselves.  When we were all done I checked in with the kids to see how they were feeling.  I found them calm and centered.  We even had a few moments of silence before they went off on their way which is saying something!

The book starts off with a bit about the elephant's history of yoga and then quickly catches up to modern-day Babar who describes how he uses yoga in his life.  He offers multiple yoga routines with fun to see illustrations of an elephant doing yoga.  My daughter enjoys setting up the book so she can follow the pictures and do yoga all by herself!

Shared On: Kid Lit Blog Hop, It's Playtime!, Kid's Get Crafty

Minty Mint Bath

Mint in the tub enlivens the senses and restores the spirit so this is a wonderful bath for when you need a little happy boost!

flowering peppermint
flowering peppermint

Here is how to make your very own mint bath  ~

In a cloth or muslin bag wrap:

  • 1 to 2 large handfuls of dried peppermint leaves
  • a good sprinkle of lavender blossoms

Toss the bundle in the tub and fill with the hottest water from your facuet.  Let the herbs steep in the tub until the water is cool enough for bathing about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the heat of your water.  The water will turn a deep greenish yellow brown, like a giant cup of peppermint tea.

Next Add:

  • a handful of epsom salt
  • 6 drops of spearmint(not peppermint*) essential oil

Climb in and enjoy this happy, refreshing bath!

After my bath ~

I felt calm as I always do after bathing yet I also had a sense of wanting to inhale the moment.  The rest of the afternoon found me happily going about my business with peaceful energy.  Plus my skin smelled sweet and nice, a bit minty, yum!

* A Note On Peppermint Essential Oil:  Every time I try putting peppermint in my bath I get burned, even with just one drop!  I start to feel an itchy uncomfortable sensation on my skin and must get out to rub down with olive oil, which dilutes the peppermint.  People react differently to things and it is possible that I am sensitive to peppermint.  Try peppermint essential oil in your bath, if you wish, but please start with one drop and go from there.

Shared On: Wildcrafting Wednesday, Natural Living Link-up, Heatlhy Habits TuesdayEco Kid's Tuesday

The Art Of Bathing

Nourishing Mama Mission Three ~

How have you been?  Feeling a bit more centered and relaxed?  I hope so!  A few weeks of claiming sacred time for myself and practicing conscious thoughts of gratitude upon waking have done so much for me.

This third pursuit of the Nourishing Mama Mission promises to be my favorite so far, the art of bathing.

I love baths.  I love water and how it has the power to wash away everything, absolutely everything.  Stress, dirt, illness, concerns and on and on...  One of my teacher's at herb school told us that water is very accepting and healing.  He said that when sitting by a stream you can ask the water to take away your worries, and it will.  Having tried this, I can attest that water will do this for you, even when you are in the tub.  As the water drains from the tub ask it to take away your pain, your cares and give thanks to the water.

All the Elements are present in the bath ~

Water

Surrounding, cleansing and supporting, it is truly magical and healing.

Fire

It is Fire that heats the water and the soul.

Earth

Our plant allies become part of the bath whether in the form of herbs or essential oils, they add their special properties and healing.

Air  

A deep breath is instigated by the deep warmth of water and by the fragrance of the plants.

Breathing deeply centers and calms the spirit.

Spirit

This is you, this is me, bringing ourselves to the moment.  To be healed and nourished.

V Candle

Most of the mammas I know would agree that taking time for a bath is really taking out some time for yourself.  It means a lot to close that door on the world, slip into a warm fragrant tub and rest there undisturbed.  Can you find sometime to do this for yourself?  At least once a week?  Give it a try and see how you feel.

Here is my favorite no fuss recipe for making a healing, relaxing bath ~

Fill your tub with warm to hot water and add:

  • 1 to 2 cups of relaxing Epsom salts, depending on the size of your tub
  • 6 to 10 drops of beautiful cleansing lavender essential oil

Have a big glass of cool water nearby to sip and bring a good book with you to read, if you so wish.  Get in and relax, let go and know the water will wash away anything you no longer need or want.

More essential oil blends for the bath ~

  • Awakens the brain while also providing relaxation: 4 drops each rosemary and lavender 
  • Great for easing stress and fatigue at the start of menstruation:  5 drops of clary sage and 3 of lavender
  • Soothes mental fatigue and anger, plus smells divine: 4 drops cardamom and 4 drops ylang ylang
  • For easing stress and when you need a bit of happiness: 5 drops rose geranium, 3 drops orange  & 3 drops lavender

Note:  Whenever possible add a big handful of Epsom salts to your bath which help to relax muscles and draw out toxins plus so much more, they are magical!

Look for more delicious bath recipes in the coming days.  I know it will be hard for me, but I will research and try every recipe to give us all more wonderful ways to enjoy the art of bathing.

Blessings and Love!

Bath Blends To Try: 

Minty Mint Bath

Soothing Herbal Bath For Irritated Muscles & Nerves

Rosy Oatmeal Bath

Candy Cane Bath Salts

More Nourishing Mama Mission...

Mama On A Mission ~ Introduction

Nourishing Mama Mission One ~ Cultivating Sacred Space 

Nourishing Mama Mission Two ~ Attitude of Gratitude ~ The Start of the Day

Nourishing Mama Mission Four ~ Herbal Infusions, Healthful Simplicity

Shared On:  Time For A Party!, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Wednesday Wonderings

Image Credit: Morgue File (photos 1 -5)