When my oldest is having an off day and needs help calming his body during sensory overload, I usually grab my essential oils. I always have a spray bottle of my DIY calm and focused essential oil blend ready on the kitchen counter in preparation for these moments, but sometimes a simple sensory activity can do the same trick. Well, this rainbow scented matching game is one of those calming sensory activities. It just happens to use a lot of the same essential oils found in my homemade blend too. Obviously when in a pinch, I wouldn't have time to make the beautiful rainbow dyed cotton pads to go along with the game. Yet, the colorful pads are a wonderful addition and are a great way to sneak in some extra fine motor practice.
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For this scented sensory matching game, I used:
- Essential oils (I use Aura Cacia brand) in the following scents: grapefruit, mandarin orange, lemon, vetiver, frankincense, lavender
- Liquid watercolors
- Cotton pads
- Eye dropper & water to dye the cotton pads - We use the eye dropper from the helping hands fine motor tool set.
To dye the cotton pads, I diluted a drop of liquid watercolors in a tiny bit of water. Then my boys used the eye droppers to thoroughly soak the cotton pads. We did one color per pad in rainbow colors. Then we set them out in the sunroom to dry. It took a few hours for the cotton pads to fully dry. Once dry, you will have puffy, beautiful dyed cotton pads.
Once dry, I placed one drop of essential oil on each dyed cotton pad:
- Grapefruit for red
- Mandarin orange for orange
- Lemon for yellow
- Vetiver for green
- Frankincense for blue
- Lavender for purple
I then placed one drop of essential oil on one matching plain cotton pad.
To play the game, I mixed up all the dyed cotton pads into one pile. Then I mixed all the non-dyed cotton pads into another pile. Then I encouraged the boys to pick one color and smell it. You can see that they really got into it!
Then they have to smell the non-dyed cotton pads until they have found the matching scent, which isn't an easy feat. However, both of my boys were pretty good at the game. Meanwhile, they were breathing in lots of calming scents, which is a bonus!
Don't forget to try these other scented sensory play ideas for kids!