Friday, November 19, 2010

Make A Pomander Ball with Your Young Child

This craft is appropriate for all ages, but I have adapted it for a tiny friend. In preparation for making a pomander ball, place some favorite spices, including whole cloves, on the table in small dishes. We used cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger.

You also need a clementine, a piece of brightly colored fabric measuring about 10" by 10", and a piece of colorful ribbon measuring about a foot and a half. And you need some time, so that you and your child can relax and have fun without a rush. Remember, it is the process, and not the product, which are important to your child, and spending time with you. Also, remember to be your child's assistant. Let him decide how many cloves, which spices, how much to sprinkle, and when his pomander ball is done. If you start to itch to hijack his craft, you need to make one of your own!

Now, let's get cozy and make something. Start by letting your child smell the clementine.

Now place the clementine on the wrong side of the piece of fabric.

Introduce him to the whole cloves, letting him smell and touch them.

Make a few pilot holes in the clementine with a skewer or toothpick, so that it will be easy for your child to push in the whole cloves.

He may only want to put in three, four or five. He might want to do more. It's up to him.

This little one worked a few minutes with quiet absorption.

When he is ready to move on, let him smell and touch a spice. You don't want him to get any up his nose or in his eyes, though, that could hurt.

If he likes the way it smells, show him how to take a pinch and sprinkle it on his clementine.

He can sprinkle all his favorite spicy smells onto the clementine. In the picture below, he is having fun drawing in the nutmeg with his finger.

When he is finished, you can help him bundle the clementine into the fabric.

Knot the ribbon on to the fabric above the clementine. Now make a loop and knot it at the top, so that you can hang the clementine on a doorknob.

"Can we take it home?" he asked me. Of course you may, my sweet, wee friend! Hang up your pomander ball at home and let it all dry out. It will last a very long time.

Photographs are by artist Coral Woodbury, the little one's mother!


sarah in the woods said...

We just made pomanders with apples. I like your version.

sarah in the woods said...

I just wanted to let you know we have been learning about the 13 colonies and have really enjoyed several of your recent posts about colonial life. I posted about our studies tonight and linked to several of your posts. Thanks for all the inspiration!

Unknown said...

Dear Beth, you described your pomander experience so beautifully. I still haven't replied to your last email about the fromage blanc. We also made pomanders and I should have thought to use clementines because we had to use a needle first to pierce the firm skin of the orange. We have so many clementines growing in our citrus field so I shall get some for the children to make. Our pomanders are on my blog. Happy Thanksgiving and happy crafts. Blessings Jeanene

Anonymous said...

Dear Beth,
I made pomander for us but this year I'll to prepare them with my daughter (5 and 7 months old) as gift to our friends ans family. In your experience when shall I start making them? what I mean is that I'd like oranges will still be nice to look at.

Grazie, ciao
Federica from Italy

Beth said...

Hi, Frederica! If you don't want to cover your pomander ball in cloth, maybe you should make it in the day or two before Christmas. If you are covering it in cloth, you can make it anytime. That would be easier if you are going to have your children helping, so you won't be rushed finishing your gift list! love, Beth P.S They last many, many months because they completely dry out!

Beth said...


I'm glad you liked the Colonial craft postings we did. I have one more coming soon. How about your apple pomander? Does it dry out without rotting, like a clementine or orange? Beth

Dillyross said...

After my success with the pinecone garland last week I made these pomander balls with my playgroup children today. We all had a lovely, cosy time, sat round the table, staff and children alike making lots to hang on the garland with extra for them to take home too. The smell was wonderful - my hands still smell of christmas hours later!

Beth said...

Dear Dillyross,

I'm so happy you are finding Acorn Pies handy for crafts for your playgroup. That makes me so happy! love, Beth

anna said...

What a beautiful post about a wonderfully sensory experience. Peeking around the edges, it looks as though you've created a very peaceful and inspiring space to create in as well.

Juise said...


Kind of late, I know, but I just realized I hadn't said thank you for inspiring us and I'd wanted to share our experience making these with you as well! This was an absolutely gorgeous activity for my little person, and I do believe one that will need to be repeated more than once. :) Also, I agree with Anna, I *love love love* your wall colours.