Designing Spaces for Children: Aromascape


As a child, I spent countless hours in the backyard of my grandparents’ home where there was plenty of  open space, trees of every size, and small alcoves to create the perfect hideout. My grandfather loved to garden and planted many flowers, vegetables, and herbs throughout the yard. One summer day while picking basil he rolled a single leaf and placed it inside his nostril. He handed me a leaf and encouraged me to do the same. I did and to my surprise the scent of basiI was quite sharp yet sweet. Years later, I can still recall exactly where I was in the yard when this occurred, and every so often while making a bowl of pesto or picking up a bunch of basil from the market, I can’t help but smile as I take in the scent of fresh basil and am brought back to this scene from my childhood.

“The deepest and most direct emotions are associated with smell,” write Guilo Ceppi and Michele Zini. “The perception of an odor has strong evocative potential, as it can immediately reawaken the image and memory of a place.” Our sense of smell is powerful. A recent study revealed that the olfactory system, the part of the body in charge of smell, is able to distinguish many more odors than was previously thought – up to one trillion. (Yes, trillion!)

We know children explore the world through their senses and with so many aromas to discover, it’s important to consider how this powerful sense is nurtured in our spaces for children. One of the simplest ways to consider the aromascape, or scent landscape, is to think about how air moves through your space. Do you have windows or a door to the outside in your space? A breeze from an open window can have a calming affect as it connects you to the outside world and resets your body and mind.

Designing Spaces For Children: Aromascape

Including fresh flowers and plants creates a welcoming atmosphere and can add to the aromascape. Eucalyptus and balsam trees release pleasant aromas. Including herbs and spices like rosemary, lavender, cinnamon, and nutmeg can provide a wonderful sensory experience. Empty spice jars can be filled with fresh herbs and placed in a dramatic play space or science area. {If you keep the plastic shaker lid on the jar the contents will not fall out when the jar is turned upside down.}

Cooking and baking projects also release wonderful aromas in the air. Do you ever make your own play dough? Try adding lavender or cinnamon to your recipe next time for an additional scent.

Designing Spaces For Children: Aromascape

This time of year lends itself beautifully to gardening with children. Creating an herb garden and placing it near a window is a great way to grow your own scents and delight in watching as the plants take shape. While it can be quite enjoyable to explore different scents with children, it’s also important to keep in mind sensitivities and allergies and take care not to overwhelm the senses. Airflow is essential.



Related Posts