Fall Potpourri

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We were a little aimless on Sunday morning, so I asked Travis if he wanted to help me make the whole house smell like fall. I’ve never made potpourri before, and to be honest, have always equated it with those little sachets of lavender that you put in the sock drawer. However, in looking up potpourri recipes online that were kid-friendly, I learned that potpourri doesn’t need to be tied into a sachet, and is often left on a bowl or container on the counter, simply to scent a home. This seemed like a wonderful way to invite fall inside!

To make a super-simple countertop potpourri, we started with juicy oranges, and cut them into 1/8-inch thick slices. Travis loved the smell already!

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He helped me arrange the slices on a wire rack, after which they went into the oven at a low setting (250 degrees F) for a full 2 hours to dry out. We loved peeking at them through the oven door on occasion to check their progress, and the house already smelled lovely!

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When the oranges had dried, we combined them in a bowl with cinnamon sticks, and set it out on the counter. Easy as that!

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For a version that would last a little longer, we re-used those orange slices and cinnamon sticks, but added a whole lot more. To make your potpourri, follow my guide below as closely or loosely as you like, using whatever appeals to you best. I had originally intended to use pine cones, but we haven’t brought any home recently from nature walks. It turns out I didn’t miss their omission, but feel free to incorporate into yours!

Instead, I laid out a tray for Travis with all sorts of goodies – whole nuts in the shell, orange leaves, bay leaves, whole clove, and of course the cinnamon and orange.

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I also set out options for essential oils to add, choosing three that seemed autumnal – clove, pine, and sweet orange.

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Travis loved the multi-sensory tray, needing to smell and touch everything on it! We simply filled our jars in whatever mood struck us, layering the items as we went.

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Sprinkling on cloves was a particular favorite.

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At the end, Travis decided he liked the clove scent best, so we sprinkled in a few drops of that essential oil to one jar.

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What a gorgeous final product!

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The clove-scented one found a home in his room, and we made a jar scented with pine for mommy and daddy’s room.

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Magnetic Fishing Game

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Disappointed with the mechanics of two recent fishing games, we decided to make our own version instead!

As a bonus, this activity was less about the “fishing” and more about a little learning that I wanted to sneak in.

While Travis slept, I cut lots of fish from construction paper – you can use a template or just freehand the shapes.

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Some of the fish received a letter, and others a shape, and then each one got a paper clip to make it magnetic.

For the wand, tie yarn to a wooden dowel, and secure the yarn with tape. Tie the other end of the yarn onto a magnet. I have a craft stick with a magnet glued to the tip, which makes for sturdier “fishing“, so used that here.

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Now it was time to go fishing! (Or, as we like to say in this vegan household, “rescue” the fish).

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For kids just learning the alphabet, you can simply ask them to find any letter at random. For older kids, this is a great name recognition game. We found T-r-a-v-i-s in both caps and lower case!

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Next up was a shape hunt, which Travis loved. There are so many other variations you could do with this game, such as finding fish of all one color, or finding the biggest and smallest fish.

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Travis ultimately decided that he liked fishing in a slightly different way, affixing the magnet to the paper clip by hand, then tugging up. Either way, I loved that this activity got him playing and learning at the same time.

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