This year I took a different path, setting up a hands on aromatherapy station where the students could smell and experience multiple aromas. I had two stations set up, each with 6 smelling jars consisting of a cotton ball and about 5-6 drops of essential oil on it. The aromas I chose to use (making sure they were generally recognized as kid safe) were vanilla, sweet orange, spearmint, white fir, ginger, and lavender. I instructed the students to pass each jar around and smell them. First they had to guess what the aroma was from the chart I provided them. Then we all discussed what affect that essential oil/aroma might have on the mind and body.
It was so interesting to see their reactions to the different aromas from absolutely loving them to quickly pushing the jar away! I was quite surprised at how good they were at not only identifying the scent but even nailing down the exact type. For example, not just guessing mint, but specifying that it was spearmint! It was also really neat to hear their opinions on favorite scents; orange and vanilla were both quite popular. Most everyone agreed that orange was a “happy” oil and a large amount of them were familiar with lavender as a “calming and bedtime” oil.
Even though our day got cut short due to heavy winds and rain, it was a wonderful morning. I tremendously enjoyed interacting with the children (as well as their chaperones) and piquing their curiosity about aromatherapy. To hear a child tell you that you were their favorite part of the day is incredibly heartwarming and validating in my future career path!