Jo Jacks Travel

Spices, Bats, and Trees Educational Ideas for Kids

As a compliment to visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kandy, where we saw amazing spices, bats, and trees, here are some fun and educational activities.

Salt-Dough Ornaments with Sri Lanka Spices


About Sri Lanka Spices

One nickname for Sri lanka is Spice Island. This activity is a fun way to combine a discussion on the spices cultivated in Sri Lanka

Spices, bats, and trees

Bats in a Tree. Botanical garden Kandy.

and the bats you might see in the trees there. The Royal Botanical gardens in Kandy have an interesting spice garden.  I found it fascinating to see what the spices in jars that I cook with look like in raw plant form.  This is a big part of the Sri Lankan economy and a good focal point for a educational activities that compliment family travel in Sri Lanka. The Ceylon Cinnamon is world-famous for its lovely flavor. For more information on spices of Sri Lanka go here.

Sri Lankan Spice Guide – Sri Lanka Food
Spice Exporting Industry of Sri Lanka|Ceylon Spice Exporters


Sri Lankan Spiced Salt Dough


It is very easy to make cinnamon salt dough. I usually make cinnamon salt dough ornaments at Christmas time and they smell wonderful and last for years.  I decided to tweak the usual recipe to add in add in more spices and flavors of Sri Lanka.  Here is my recipe:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour01c06b98b72018eed7e1f718514c3891536718c598
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (any cinnamon will do – by Ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lanka is especially appropriate here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup warm water

1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl


2. Add in the vanilla to the water and stir.  Add the water into the dry ingredients a bit at a time.  Mix in thoroughly.  This should form a soft dough.  Knead the dough for a few minutes until a smooth.  Add a little more flour if it sticks to your hands, or more water if it won’t form up.


The dough will smell divine, but I don’t recommend eating it!

3. Roll out the dough on a lightly flowered surface until between 1/8 -1/4 inch thickness.  Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.  Place shapes onto a cookie pan with a sheet of parchment paper.  Use a toothpick to make a small hole in the shapes if you want to hang them.


In honor of the bats in Sri Lanka, my boys chose their favorite cookie cutter of all time – the bat shape! (And I sometimes dream of having a little girl who wants to make flowers and hearts with me…but that is a whole different blog post…)

4.  Heat your oven to 250 degree F (120 C).  Place your cookie pan inside to bake for 2 hours.  Check on them after 1 hour – if they start to curl lower the temperature.  If after 2 hours they still look doughy in the middle or underside, just flip them over and give them another hour.

5.  Allow them to cool.  You can paint them with acrylic paints or leave them as is, they have a nice rustic light brown color. Use a bit of thread to hang them.  The bats and pumpkin shapes make a nice Halloween or Thanksgiving decoration. Spices, bats, and trees! Oh My!

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Sri Lankan Spiced Salt Dough Ornaments - easy and smells great

Spices, Bats, and Trees Books and Crafts

A wonderful story and craft combo to compliment a trip the botanical gardens is The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. This book features a creature that speaks for the trees.  It helps children learn to appreciate trees and care for the earth, making them aware of the devastating effects of pollution.

The Lorax BookKeep us traveling & crafting.  Please consider using this link from Amazon to buy this fun and educational book:

Here are some Lorax related crafts from other fabulous Children Craft Blogs:

I Heart Crafty Things:

 Miss Lovie: Truffula Tree Kids Craft Tutorial:

Still Playing School: The Lorax Truffala Trees Cutting Practice

Craft Ideas for All: Origami Hanging Bat – I like this bat craft as it shows the bat hanging upside down in a tree – just like we saw them in real life in Sri Lanka!

To read about our visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kandy Sri Lanka, where we saw spices, bats, and trees,   click here.

Botanical Garden Kandy

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on the product links, I’ll receive a small commission.  No extra cost to you, but it helps us travel, craft, and blog.

For more information on our family travel in Sri Lanka:

Top 8 Travel Musts for Families in Sri Lanka

Udawalawe National Park Safari with Children

Four Religions to Learn about in Sri Lanka