The Orange Pomander

Activities for Developmentally Disabled Adults


Winter in the pacific northwest means citrus season! Last week in garden club, our Stephen’s Place family did a citrus plant study by sampling several citrus fruits including: Heirloom Navel orange, Blood Orange, Cara Cara orange, Page tangerine, and Satsuma mandarin.

As part of our study, we made fragrant pomanders with oranges and cloves. It’s an easy prep, easy cleanup task that works well for many different levels of cognitive and physical disabilities.

For this activity, you will need:activities-for-disabled-adults-orange-pomander

  • 1 fresh orange per person (older oranges are tougher to pierce)
  • Whole cloves (A good handful per orange. The cloves are usually less expensive when bought from a bulk supply at a health food store.)
  • 1 large bowl or tray for the cloves

Pictured above, right is ‘Bob’ The Orange Pomander, so named by our Stephen’s Place resident that created him. If you look carefully, you’ll see that Bob has the clever addition of a few clove feet to help him stand. He also had a pretty rocking mohawk (that we wish we had photographed). Everyone had a great time naming, and sharing their thoughts about, their Pomanders.

Instructions for making orange pomanders:

  1. Place the cloves in the bowl or tray, in a spot that everyone can easily reach.
  2. Give each person a whole orange (and make sure to grab one for yourself)
  3. Press the cloves into the skin of the orange, in any pattern you like. You will notice a really nice burst of citrus fragrance every time you do this.
    Note: It may be easier to twist as you press them in. Depending on each person’s mobility level, you may need to pre-poke the holes for the cloves using toothpicks (it is recommended that this part is done by the carer).
    You can either leave the cloves intact, or knock the little tops off for a unique design and more immediate fragrance.
  4. If you would like to stabilize your Pomander, add some clove feet!

Are you in Washington or Oregon near Vancouver, WA? If so, and you would like to join us for an activity day, check out our events calendar.