-Posted by Meghan
One of our favorite games is one that the kids invented, and now we play it almost daily. It’s called, “Smell that.” It’s a great game on it’s own, and a wonderful companion to reading a book like The Yummy Alphabet.
I love to cook, and am in the kitchen with the kids every day. We have a big floor to ceiling spice rack, and they love to play with the spices- building and knocking them across the floor. Ever since they were really little, I would have them smell some of my favorite aromatic spices and ingredients when I was cooking (and mean Mommy that I am, I found the faces they would make when sniffing peppermint extract hilarious). One day, when they could walk and talk (but before they could talk well), Molly handed me a spice. “Smell dat,” she demanded. So I opened the spice jar and let her smell. Jacob crowded over too. “In hand,” one of them said, and I dumped a little in my hand. They each touched it, and of course, put it right in their mouths. This must not have been a horridly malodorous or strong spice, because they immediately each grabbed another spice. We were at this for half an hour and had been through all the spices several times before they would even let me think about stopping to make dinner.
We play this very regularly, and they have developed favorite spices, and stories that go with them. Molly loves the color of turmeric and runs for that often. The first three spices both kids always go for are rosemary, sesame seeds and caraway seeds. They actually like to eat handfuls of each of them. Jacob loves the peppercorns, because it gives him a reason to tell me the story about when he dumped pepper everywhere and got it in his eyes and we had to take an emergency shower. They not only love spices themselves, but they love sharing spices with other people, and make everyone who visits play “Smell Dat” too.
It may or may not turn out to make them adventurous eaters, but it did give me a secret weapon- way more broccoli gets eaten in our house when it’s sprinkled with rosemary or sesame seeds.