The Perfect Multi-Sensory Picture

In early childhood development, teaching children to use and identify their five senses in order to explore the world around them is of paramount importance. Through an increasing understanding of what can be achieved through sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch, children learn to internalize their surroundings and begin to make sense of them.

As a British school teacher, I worked for two years teaching 4-5 year olds. Each year we had a topic of learning named ‘The Senses’ where we would complete a series of different inspiring lessons and projects that would teach children about their senses, and allow them to use their senses in new and exciting ways.

One of my favourite lessons was to make multi-sensory pictures. Not only did this give me a chance to work with an educational craft that allowed the children to be creative; with careful planning we created an idea for a picture that could stimulate every sense at once.

The tea and Lentil Picture


A colleague and I came up with the idea of creating a picture using tea and lentils. Tea because of its texture and smell, and the lentils because of their texture and also because of the sound they make as they are dropped onto the paper. Tea with its rich dark brown colour, and lentils with their bright orange colour compliment each other, creating a visually stimulating and aesthetically pleasing finish on the paper. And the best thing about this picture idea (apart from its scope to stimulate all five senses at once), is that it is so simple; anybody can do it!

A step-by-step Guide to Making a multi-sensory picture out of Tea and Lentils

(I’ve also included ideas of things you can talk about with your child as you make the picture, which are written in red)

 Step One:

Start by creating a place to make the multi-sensory picture; I recommend using a low table lined with some newspaper (to catch any spills). Take a sheet of white paper, and allow your child to drizzle glue onto the page. Encourage them to make a pattern if they can, and talk to them about their pattern. "What pattern will you make today? Are you using spirals, are you using straight lines?".


Step Two:

Now ask you child to take a handful of tea and sniff it. "What does it smell like? Do you like the smell? What does it feel like?" Then ask your child to sprinkle the tea all over the paper. "Can you hear any sounds as you sprinkle the tea? Is it a loud sound, or a quiet sound?" Finally tip the paper up, and shake the excess off onto the newspaper.


Step Three:

Now drizzle a little more glue onto the paper, making another pattern on top of the tea.


Step Four:

Ask your child to take a handful of the lentils. "Do they feel the same as the tea? How do they feel different? What colour are they?" Then ask your child to sprinkle the lentils onto the paper (trying to get all the glue covered up) and talk to them about the sounds they can hear. "Do the lentils make a loud sound when they land on the paper? Why do you think the lentils are noisier than the tea? Can you hear a ‘pitter patter’?".


Step Five:

Shake the excess lentils onto the newspaper and hold the picture up. There you have it, your very own tea and lentil picture. Place it somewhere to dry and then find a place to hang it. Talk to your child about the picture. "Did you enjoy making that picture? Do you like the way it looks? What colours can you see? Can you describe your pattern?".

And There we Have it!

A fantastic idea for a great multi-sensory educational craft .