I am frequently asked for activity ideas, especially those that are affordable or use materials found around the home. My advice is always to look around your home and see what may interest your child and to involve your child in your day to day activities as much as possible. I love working with my children in the kitchen and will always look for new or interesting ways to involve them. Both of my children love working with a mortar and pestle, it's a little vigorous, they can get a little rough and make a little noise!
Here are a few ideas for using a mortar and pestle in the home with children. Use the mortar and pestle to mix, smash, grind, or pound:
- Nuts to add to icecream or for desserts.
- Garlic to add to pasta sauce or butter (to make garlic butter).
- Egg shells - before placing in compost.
- Nuts and dried spices to make your own Dukkah.
- Ochre (or soft stone), add water and combine to make paint.
- Dried spices, try buying coriander or cumin seeds and have the child grind them and store them, rather than buying ground.
- Dried spices for curry, marinades, dressing, sauces, pastes or seasonings.
- Herbs to go into herb butter.
- Dried lavender to release scent for pillows or scented sachets or to put into play-dough.
- Fresh herbs, to release flavor.
- Chillis to release flavor before going into stir-fry.
- Fresh basil, garlic and pine nuts to add to oil to make pesto.
- Fresh mint before placing in tea or fresh mint tea (served cold).
- Biscuits or graham crackers for desserts, a cheese cake base or pie crust.
- Candy, candy cane or peppermints to make peppermint bark.
- A range of spices or herbs for a sensory tray or provocation.
A child size mortar and pestle is a good idea but I don't recommend using a tiny one, too small and the ingredients will fall out easily. Using a mortar and pestle is a good way to teach children about their food and it can also be a wonderful sensory experience!