We have been exploring “scents of the season” these past couple of weeks in preschool. As we get ready for Christmas, I saw these cute pinecone trees on The Wool Acorn blog, and I thought this would be wonderful for the children to make. But I wanted to incorporate a holiday scent for the children to explore … so we made sure our pinecones were scented!
I did intend to scent the pinecones myself (I really did!). The pinecones that were collected were a little damp and not yet open – so they were put them in a warm oven. They DID start to open … however the smell coming from the oven was not so pleasant, so we ended that process and ran to store to buy the pre-made scented ones. But I still do want to give this another try at some point (maybe after the pinecones dry out naturally). In any case, the store-bought ones had a lovely cinnamon scent. If you make them yourself, you can experiment with other scented oils.
So, we started off with having the children explore the scent and have them guess what the pinecones smell like. Some of the responses were “delicious” and “cookies” … other responses were “they smell like pinecones”.
Next, we placed the pinecones in a small paper cup (this helped to keep them upright while children were working on the project). It was also helpful because we could write each child’s name on their cup.
Then we poured a small amount of Tacky glue onto a paper plate. Tacky glue was a great choice for this project because it is thicker than regular white glue (so it’s less drippy). Also, children only need a small dab of Tacky glue and the items will stick very well to the pinecone. We showed the children how to take a pom pom (and other embellishments) and dip them in the glue – explaining that they only need a small dab. (Our 3-year old class still liked to put A LOT of glue on their pom poms!). This was great for fine motor practice. Then we had the children explore the materials and decorate their pinecone Christmas tree as they wished.
Once they are done decorating, we had them take a Q-tip and dip it in the glue and spread the glue around the edges of the pinecone. Lastly, have children got to sprinkle some white “snow” glitter on top.
The children still liked smelling their pinecone trees after they were finished!