Montessori21stCentury’s Weblog

Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Sights and Smells of the Season

on November 5, 2012

Winter and the holidays bring many beautiful things to see, many wonderful things to smell, and many happy traditions and memories to share.


If you cannot get outside (or you live in a temperate climate) share the beauty of the season with your students through some gorgeous winter photography.

There are many lovely winter scenes in fine art, as well.

It can be fun to have students express their own winter visions through photography and/or art.

If you have access to appropriate camera equipment for the ages of your students, why not let them try their hands at some winter photography. Most of us, young and old, have admired the famous photographs of the National Geographic Society.  This short article lets us learn from the professionals how to take better photos of people, animals and nature.

For other creative media, some students will have plenty of ideas from their own imagination. If students need more inspiration, have them go outdoors (if practical), look out a window, or look through a book or magazine or on-line.

Students can share their vision of a perfect winter day with this easy but versatile painting lesson.

You could also encourage students to present their winter scenes with collages or textile artwork.  (Textile art needn’t be an elaborate appliqué or quilting project. Very attractive scenes can be made with cut-out pieces of felt glued to a felt or paper background, for example.)

Here is a nice example of a winter landscape simplified into a quilt. (Be sure to scroll the slide show both ways for more interesting landscape quilts, both simple and complex.)

This is a good explanation of the process of simplifying a photo or live scene into graphic basics for paper or textile interpretation.

This short tutorial does not show collage/textile landscape examples. However, it gives a good explanation of the elements of landscape art and how to simplify them.

Here are some links for fine art paper, multi-media, mosaic, and fabric/quilt landscape techniques and examples for more ideas and inspiration.

If your students are not excited about landscapes, why not try some seasonal still life art or photography using holiday food and/or decorations?

Here are some general still life resources:

Find out more about food in art through history from Rae at The Creative Process.


Some Texas middle and high school students share their favorite smells in this article.  Perhaps you can have students write or tell you about their favorite smells.

Start your youngest students exploring and identifying scents with the Smelling Bottle exercise for preschoolers from Dale at NAMC.

You will find a variety of experiments for various age groups which focus on our sense of smell here.

Scent Baskets from Mariaemma at Coaching for Learning Success are an easy craft and decorating project in which all ages can participate.

FunFelt Scented Playdough Recipe combines a favorite activity with favorite aromas of the season.

Cakes and other goodies baking in the oven are always welcome smells in our homes. Gert Kimble of Kimbo Educational shares her traditional family recipe for Grandma Cake, which she has baked over 400 times for holidays and other celebrations.

Ginger is a lovely, warming smell in the winter. Try these Ginger Coconut Baked Apples.

Another favorite winter spice is cinnamon.  Find a variety of cinnamon –spiced recipes here:

If your students doubt that cooking can appeal to both our eyes and our nose, look at this cute Christmas-themed veggie plate!

For a lovely scent in your home or classroom that doesn’t require cooking (except if you choose to dry your orange peels in the oven), consider having students mix up a spicy potpourri.  This recipe is especially good for younger children, because there are no essential oils or toxic ingredients.  It also has rich, festive scents that would make it a nice holiday gift.

Hope you enjoy many wonderful sights and and smells this winter season!


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