Sensory lavender-scented beans

This relaxing activity can be made with either light-coloured beans or rice, and uses a scented dye to introduce extra sensory elements – feel free to customise the colours or scents used!

A hand holding some scented beans, which are white and purple

This guide is part of our Sense Arts, Sport & Wellbeing programme. This activity can be done at a time that suits you, either in your own space or in an educational setting.

Who is this for?

This is a wellbeing activity for people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities and can be enjoyed by anyone.

Why does this make a difference?

This is a sensory activity that supports wellbeing and relaxation and helps people learn by engaging with nature and using their senses to connect with their surroundings, exploring touch, textures and smell.

Materials to make scented beans, including white beans, purple food colouring and essential oils

How to do this activity

What you’ll need

  • Uncooked, light-coloured beans or rice
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Purple food colouring (or mix red and blue together)
  • A small glass
  • Air-tight storage container
  • Paper towels or an old cloth

Measuring out the purple food colouring into a glass

Step 1

Measure out one glass of rice or beans and transfer to the storage container. Then in the glass, add 10-15 drops of lavender oil and the purple food colouring – you only need a few drops.
Adding scented purple liquid to the beans

Step 2

Pour the scented dye liquid over the beans or rice, seal the container and shake gently until the insides are evenly coated.

Step 3

Spread the mixture out on the paper towels and leave to dry. Meanwhile, wash and dry the container.
Mixing the purple-white beans with a spoon in a small glass dish

Step 4

When the beans or rice are dry, they’re ready to use! Make a play space by putting them in a large tray, and introduce things like bowls, spoons, and halved cardboard tubes which can be ‘slides’.

Top tips

  • Store in the container when not in use.