**Please Note: This post contains affiliate links to Mountain Rose Herbs where you can find the best quality bulk herbs & supplies online. Using these links to make purchases supports Mama Rosemary and all I do here by giving me small percentage of your purchase. This does not in any way effect your purchase price. Thanks for supporting Mama Rosemary and happy herb crafting!
Autumn is a wonderful time to learn about the amazing Mint Family (Lamiaceae). There is a delightful abundance of these beautiful plants growing. And the mint family plants make great allies for dealing with winter illness and even emotional stress from school.
The mint family is such a child friendly plant family. Many of the wonderful scents and yummy tastes of plants in this family are easily recognized by children. The plants are so funny too with their square stems and opposite leaves, they make an easy impression on kids.
Taste Some Tea
There are a lot of tasty plants in the mint family. What better way to get to know them then to brew up a tasty cup and try some tea?
Teas to try: lemon balm, spearmint, peppermint, rosemary, lemon balm & lavender, anise hyssop, catnip, or sage.
To brew: Simply steep of tablespoon of dried herb per cup of water, for 5 to 30 minutes, strain and enjoy. Be sure to cover your tea while it is steeping to keep those delicious essential oils from the plants from evaporating into the air.
Some kid-favorites are lemon balm, spearmint and rosemary! Yum!
Find top quality herbs for blending your own teas at Mountain Rose Herbs**!
Making plant poundings is a great way to learn a bit of botany and plus you get to pound on something which is always fun. Click to read all about this fun activity!
Make Rosemary Spearmint Playdoh
Every month we make a special herbal playdoh at our school. This heavenly scented playdoh was our creation this month.
1 cup flour
½ cup salt
1 ½ tsp cream of tartar
1 cup really strong rosemary** tea (steep 4 Tbs leaves in hot water for at least 30 min.)
1 Tbs oil
spearmint essential oil**, 6 drops total
ground dried alfalfa leaves** for color (I ground mine in a coffee grinder that I save just for grinding herbs)
Mix and cook (over low heat) the first 5 ingredients together until a soft dough forms. Let cool to warm, then give to the kids to play with. To scent, have the child make a hole in the playdoh. Place the essential oil drops in the hole and then mix in the essential oil for the child to make sure the oil is dispersed before they touch the playdoh again. (see Herbal Playdough for more discussion about using safely essential oils in playdoh). To color the playdoh, simply sprinkle the ground alfalfa on top of the playdoh and let the child mix it in while they play!
Craft A Fresh Plant Lavender Bath
We are so very lucky to have a luscious patch of fresh lavender growing in front of our school. I love using salt to preserve fresh plants so I figured we could use some of this incredible lavender as an addition to a lovely bath for the kiddos to take home.
1 pound of epsom salts
1 small box of baking soda
20 drops of lavender essential oil**
fresh or dried lavender (a few tablespoons worth)
Put the salt and baking soda in a big bowl
Have the kids pull the lavender flowers and leaves off the stems. Make sure to smell this amazing plant while you work! Then add flowers and leaves to the bowl.
Count 20 drops of lavender essential oil into your bowl.
Give it a big stir and bag up your new bath salts to take home.
Make Fresh Plant Crowns & Wands
These are a fun hands-on way to get really friendly with plants and are great to make if you are lucky enough to have lots of fresh, friendly mint family plants.
Provide lots of fresh plants such as peppermint, lemon balm, lavender, sage, rosemary & hyssop; ideally use plants with long stems. We included some lovely sunflowers, because, well I couldn’t resist!
chenille stems and/or bread ties
yarn or ribbons
To Make A Crown:
Bead a chenille stem if you are using beads.
Then simply choose which plants you would like use. Make two bunches of the plants and place them stem sides together (slightly over-lapping) with the leafy side facing away from each other. Check to make sure that your plant bunches will be long enough to create a crown when bent into a circle.
Wind the chenille stem around the plant’s stems to secure them to each other. This will be the back of your crown.
Then carefully bend the plants into a circle and secure the other ends of the plants with a long piece of yarn/ribbon, tied in the middle (add bread ties for extra stability).
Use the ends of the yarn/ribbon to wind around the crown on either side towards the stem ends, meet there and tie off the yarn/ribbon.
Add extra ribbon pieces to the back of your crown if you wish to create a kind of ribbony veil.
To Make A Wand:
Bead a chenille stem if you are using beads.
Then simply choose which plants you would like use. Make a bunch with the plants that is about as long as you would like your wand.
Start winding the chenille stem around your plants from the bottom of your wand towards the top, this makes it strong.
Add yarn/ribbons to the wand if you would like.
More Ideas For Learning About & Using The Mint Family: