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Activity and strategy

Make Your Own Cinnamon-Scented Pine Cones

The smell of cinnamon is often associated with the holidays, and in this craft activity for Christmas and Hanukkah, students make cinnamon-scented pine cones as a decoration.

NOTE: This activity is not for everyone. Check to be sure that your student can tolerate scents.  

Learning about Pine Cones

I started this activity off at the beginning of the month exploring pine cones and discussing where they came from. We examined different types of pine cones and looked at ones that are open and ones that are closed.

Exploring an open pine cone  Exploring a closed pine cone

After learning about pine cones, we discussed what activities can be done with them.  There was a general consensus to try scented pine cones.  I explored different scents (such as cinnamon, pine, orange) before we decided to do the cinnamon. I then looked online for a recipe that was easy and did not involved any oils. Typically scented pinecones sold in stores use artificial fragrances and the chemicals in artificial fragrances can cause quite a problem in people with multiple chemical sensitivities.


The recipe was then embossed in braille for them to read and become familiar with. Download the recipe.

Recipe in print and braille

I bought the pine cones from Oriental Trading to ensure the pine cones had no sharp points on them and no critters/bugs living inside them. The students decided whom they would be making a bowl of scented pine cones for and all of them selected their teachers and their parents. Then the activity commenced!

Using a Paint Brush to Apply Glue

By using a paint brush to put the glue on, my students were more willing to work with glue. Neither of them likes using anything sticky, but they’re willing to use a paintbrush to touch the glue. They actually laughed about me getting glue on my hands when I helped them turn the pine cones.

Setting up for gluing  Applying the glue with a paintbrush

  Painting the pinecone with glue  Shaking cinnamon on the pinecone

While working, we talked about upcoming Christmas activities in their homes, and what their parents thought of the mini trees that they had decorated and sent home last week. We discussed how getting ready for Christmas has been more fun this year, as we were experiencing more of the decorating that our families and stores do. 

Finished cinnamon-scented pinecones

The teachers have all been appreciative of the bowl of scented pine cones the students made for them.  They asked how they were made, which started a great conversation between the student and teacher! Several asked for the directions on how to make them and one student was able to tell the teacher step by step what to do.

While this brings our Christmas crafts to an end, it showed my students that they can participate in the family decorating experience!

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