Aromatic Painting

This week at toddler group I decided to add an extra sensory dimension to our painting – I made aromatic paint.

I’d like to say it was all carefully planned and the aromas I chose were to help stimulate creativity and concentration. But I’ll confess it was more to do with what was available in my kitchen an hour or so before toddler group started than any considered research.

However, I struck lucky as the ones I used turned out to have a positive influence on mood – or according to various aromatherapy websites they do.

I added:

The zest of one lemon to a pot of yellow paint.

The zest of one orange to a pot of orange paint.

One tablespoon of finely chopped garden mint to a pot of green paint.

One tablespoon of cinnamon to a pot of red paint.

Lemon, mint and cinnamon help to invigorate and overcome fatigue whilst orange helps to relieve anxiety.

You could use essential oils in your paint but actually fresh ingredients worked really well. They needed a little time to mature but by the time I’d got to toddler group the aromas were strong enough.

What the Children Thought of ‘Pongy Paint’

Well the mums thought it was a great idea and generally guessed the smells correctly. The children were a little more cautious, tentively giving the pots a small sniff before starting on their paintings. No-one ran away crying so they seemed quite happy with it.

As I had used natural ingredients the paint had the bits in which gave it a grainy effect. The children enjoyed stroking their brushes across the paper, as well as dabbing and patting the paint on.

One little girl painted six pictures – one each of mum, dad and grandad, she copied some feathers from the weaving we had out and for the final two she just enjoyed applying the paint to the paper.


I had the weaving materials out at the same time. I don’t recommend this as the children wanted to paint or collage with the weaving materials. That’s why the little girl made a painting of feathers. In the end I gave in and let her paint and print  with the feather and lace as I loved the fact she wanted to experiment and extend her picture making.  A lesson learnt.
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