Saffron is the rarest & the most precious spice in the world. It has given its magical flavor, aroma, & appetizing color to foods, drinks or medicines for centuries. Saffron is one of the ancients & legendary spices that has diverse applications. Iran is the world’s biggest saffron producer & exporter & Iranian saffron is known to have the highest quality saffron in the world.
Since the Iranian celebration Nowruz occurs in March, we read the book My Iran to learn more about the culture, explored the flower through pictures, & talked about where it comes from & what it is used for. After that we invited the children to create a Saffron Flower cuisine through sensory play with rice, loose parts, utensils, measuring cups, & dish-ware, since the spice is typically used to color foods, drinks, & medicine.
To set up the invitation in we provided two large sensory bins. 1) With water, rice, yellow & orange liquid water color to mimic the coloring of saffron. 2) Purple petals like the saffron flower, red pipe cleaners as the red stigma, & rice. Next we invited the children create saffron flower cuisine.
The children were able to scoop, pour, transfer, materials from the one container into another with a variety of kitchen utensils & containers. The assorted containers & kitchen utensils help encourage exploration of measuring & mixing. Whenever sensory play is incorporated in an invitation it fosters creativity & enables children to experiment with science & math concepts. Children begin to understand & investigate with ideas such as more/less, same/different, many/few, empty/full, before/after, greater than/less than.