Taste of Nature – making herbal teas
Today Teddy has made us tea from garden daisies which he collected and prepared himself, I just helped him with the boiling water in the end. I just love doing activities like the this one, well, I call it an activity but picking herbs is part of our life but if you look at it from a different perspective it encompasses so many things at once in terms of child development.
It covers the Montessori favoured practical life activity, the appreciation of mother nature and her gifts, gaining knowledge about different plants and their use in medicine, reinforces or enriches their vocabulary when it comes to learning the different parts of plants (not all parts of plants are always used, sometimes it’s a flower head, sometimes leaves and sometimes only a root) it also gives him the opportunity to practise his fine motor skills when picking the flowers and then cutting the stalks off as we only need flower heads for the daisy tea we decided to make today. So even though it is not a planned activity it stimulates the child simultaneously in so many ways.
I grew up in a little village surrounded by nature and I was taught from a very young age how to raise animals, utilise the land to grow fruit and vegetable and forage for food or herbs.
Now we live in a large city where nature in its raw beauty is not on our doorstep, I cannot just enjoy a short walk into the forest to pick some mushrooms or wild berries, we must travel to find it. I must admit that over the years after I relocated and started a new life in England I got rather lazy or comfortable or maybe just completely engrossed in my new city life full of new shiny things and supermarkets where you can buy absolutely anything that I slowly let go of the things that used to be so natural to me.
It didn’t help that my husband has grew up in a city and this way of life is completely alien to him. Whenever I ate something straight from a tree or a bush, he thought I am weird and whenever I picked some mushrooms or herbs he found a way to make them disappear before we got back home….so I slowly let this way of life go. Don’t get me wrong I still occasionally went for a walk and picked some fruit or herbs but it wasn’t until Teddy was born I suddenly felt homesick and felt a deep yearning for my culture, traditions and to return to my temporarily buried but never forgotten roots.
Teddy munching on wild bilberries last summer
Since he was little I have been taking Teddy outdoors and teaching him about nature. When Teddy was two he could already point out which mushrooms are edible and which we do not pick, he loves picking wild berries and fetching herbs from the garden. Lately we have been looking at herbal remedies and he loves to help me make a homemade cough syrups or a fresh herbal tea.
Collecting mushrooms last autumn
One of our favourites is tea from garden daisies which are perceived as a common weed or in a better case as a pretty little flower decorating our lawn but this herb is beneficial for many reasons. Surely you must have heard the English expression ‘fresh as a daisy’, am I right? Daisy tea is great as a quick pick me up remedy but it is also great for spring detox, tooth ache, common cold and cough or to treat inflammation of upper respiratory tract.
If you would like to make a daisy tea at home, all you need to do is pick up some daisies’ flower heads. For a normal size cup, you will need approximately 2 spoon full, fill the cup with freshly boiled water and let it stand for 10 min before drinking. You can strain the daisies using a sieve or a cotton fabric but we usually leave them in. If you collect loads of daisies and you would like to have this delicious tea more often just let them dry out in the direct sunlight before storing them in a sealed tight container. If you are using dry daisies only 1 spoon full is enough for a cup of tea and with both fresh and dry do not exceed 3 cups a day. Do not forget, it is a herb, yes it is beneficial and healthy but as everything it is only valuable in a recommended dosage.
For a additional activity on this topic, Teddy likes his daisy puzzle, made by my friend Alexandra from Sůvy z dříví and working with his nomenclature cards of parts of a plant which can be downloaded for free in English with other sets from The Helpful Garden blog