Cool and refreshing, peppermint is a great summertime herb to have around, as it is a natural refrigerant. However, Peppermint is often found hanging around the winter holidays! The coolness is a great representation of wintertime!
Peppermint is full of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, protein, riboflavin, selenium, sodium and thiamine!
This refreshing herb is a antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, carminative, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, antiseptic, aromatic, diaphoretic, anti-emetic, nervine, anti-microbial, analgesic and refrigerant.
Peppermint is associated with St. Nicholas. A Peppermint candy cane is often added to the nature table to represent St. Nicholas’s crozier. On St. Nicholas Day, you may choose to give each child a small Peppermint candy cane while you tell the story of St. Nicholas or do St. Nicholas activities.
Medicinally, Peppermint is…
~soothing to the digestive system, calming and relaxing the muscles such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome
~helpful for relieving headaches caused by tension
~cooling, helping to bring down fevers
~useful for treating toothaches, cavities and other mouth inflictions
~great for treating colicky babies and is typically included in ‘gripe water’
~great for treating nausea and upset stomachs
Go over the information about Peppermint. Pass around some fresh sprigs of Peppermint for them to smell, taste and touch (look in the fresh produce section for packages of fresh Peppermint. Spearmint can be substituted if Peppermint is not available). Dried can work in a pinch.
Encourage them to rub the mint between their fingers and smell it. Ask them how they feel when they smell it (happy, sad, relaxed).
Have them try a leaf. As they chew it, ask them how they feel when they taste it (does their mouth dry up or do they salivate? Is it warming, cooling? Does their mouth feel refreshed?)
Review the uses for Peppermint.
Make some Peppermint Toothpaste. This is a healthy and sweet tasting alternative to fluoride and sodium laurel sulfate laden toothpastes. Kids love to brush with their own creation! Peppermint is antiseptic and will kill germs in the mouth.
You will need some Peppermint essential oil and glycerin, both which can be found at a health food store.
Save small 4 oz jars to store the toothpaste in. You can also purchase 4 oz. jelly jars.
You will need:
3 Tablespoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons glycerin
1 Tablespoon water
Peppermint essential oil
Mix together the salt and baking soda. Add glycerin and water and stir until a paste forms.
Add a few drops of essential oil and mix again. Store in an airtight container.
Review what has been learned about Peppermint. Talk about using the new toothpaste and how they liked it. Was their mouth cool and fresh after using it?
Do they normally brush with Peppermint flavored toothpaste? Do they like this one better than the toothpaste from the store?
Here’s a song about using peppermint medicinally. Sing it with the kids and have them play instruments as they sing along and march around the room:
Sung to “Skip To My Lou”
Pick the peppermint, brew the tea,
Soothes the tummy for you and me,
Swish in the mouth for tooth misery,
Calm those pains and spasms, please!
Got a headache, what’ll I do?
I’m all tense, how about you?
Pick the peppermint, eat a few,
Headache’s gone after you chew.
It’s so hot, wanna cool down,
My usual smile’s now a frown,
Cools internally, drink some now,
Iced mint tea’s the best hands down!
Sing “Peppermint Tea” again and see if the kids can remember the words. Have fun acting it out: pick some pretend peppermint, pour a cup of tea, rub a sore tummy and jaw; rub your head, shoulder muscles, pretend to pick a leaf and chew it up; fan yourself and wipe your brow; drink some tea and smile.
Remind them of the Peppermint’s medicinal uses:
~antibacterial (destroys or prevents bacteria)
~antifungal (destroys or prevent fungi)
~antiviral (destroys or prevents viruses)
~carminative (assists in digestion and digestive issues)
~anti-inflammatory (relieves inflammation)
~anti-spasmodic (relieves spasms)
~antiseptic (kills germs)
~aromatic (stimulates digestion through aromatic oils)
~diaphoretic (lowers fevers through perspiration)
~anti-emetic (relieves nausea)
~nervine (soothes nervous system)
~anti-microbial (kills germs of any kind)
~analgesic (relieves and/or lessens pain)
~refrigerant (cools internal body temperatures)
Serve some Peppermint tea during snack time. Simply add a few leaves to each cup and cover with hot water. Let them steep for about 15 minutes.
Can they sing “Peppermint Tea” and act it out?
Review what you’ve learned about Peppermint this week. Peppermint is a natural insect and pest repellant. Moles and mice don’t like the smell of Peppermint and will stay away from it. For a craft project, make some Peppermint Sachets. Even the smallest hands can usually sew these up. This is a great project to use up fabric scraps as the squares only need to be about 4” each. They can be a bit smaller as well.
You will need:
Peppermint Essential oil (optional)
Thread and needles for each child or fabric glue*
Cut the fabric into 4 x 4 squares. For each sachet, 2 squares will be needed.
Place the right sides together and sew 3 sides closed*.
Turn right side in and fill with dried Peppermint. If you’d like, you can add a few drops of essential oil to strengthen the scent.
Fold the edges of the open side in and sew closed*.
*As an alternative to sewing, you can purchase some fabric glue at the fabric store, glue around the edges then turn right side out when the glue has dried. The final edges can be tucked in and glued shut after they are filled. Be sure to let the glue dry before attempting to turn and fill.
Want to learn more about Peppermint? Grab the Herbal Roots zine eBook here.
Need more help putting together curriculums? Peppermint and many other herbs are included in my new membership program Herb Club which offers four levels of expanded curriculum for preschool through high school, video lessons on botany, identification, drawing, medicinal uses, and recipe tutorials, and a community of like-minded parents and kids who are excited to learn about herbalism!
If you liked these activities, consider joining in on 30 Days, 1 Herb. It will walk you through a month of learning about 1 herb in a similar manner to this week’s activities. It’s completely free to join!