4 Ways to Use Essential Oils Creatively (and Safely) with Kids

Essential Oils
Essential oils like Bergamot and Lavender can be a mood-boosting addition to indoor activities during the winter months.

In the past five years or so, there has been a steady increase in the use of essential oils, particularly with for kids and families. As a mama who has jumped on this bandwagon, the ancient practice of using these plant oils brings a breath of fresh air to our humdrum family routine. So for the sake of adding some spice to the chilly New England winter activities ahead, I’d like to share my favorite ways to use essential oils creatively (and safely!) with your own family.

But first, a note about safety and quality…

Not all essential oils are created equal. Regardless of the brand you choose, make sure that you are purchasing your therapeutic-grade essential oils from a respected retailer or consultant. Avoid buying essential oils from an online marketplace  like Amazon. There is no guarantee (regardless of the product description) that the oils are pure or have not been tampered with.

Certain essential oils are generally safe to use with small children, and some are not. Please take the time to read labels, use a carrier oil, and consult credible resources in determining which oils are best for your family.

In general, the following short list of essential oils are regarded as safe (in small amounts) for children:

  • Cedarwood
  • Frankincense
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea Tree (also known as Melaleuca) 

Let The Play Begin!


My kids are obsessed with play dough. But it inevitably winds up making its way into their tiny mouths. So I decided to make my own. This awesome recipe base naturally repels bacteria and doesn’t dry out the skin. I add five drops of essential oils in the last step for an extra aroma that can help temper difficult emotions in tots. Using oils like Grapefruit or Lemon helps my kids with focus and clarity, while oils like Lavender or Sandalwood can diffuse cabin fever. And the best part? If they eat it, no biggie.

Backpack Diffuser Keychains:

Whether your child is a toddler or a teen, making a backpack diffuser is a fun way to ward off stress and stink. Using inexpensive stones and untreated wooden beads from any craft store encourage your child to arrange them in the design of their choice. String the beads and stones along using a durable material, like cord, and tie to a keychain ring. After attaching to the backpack, show your child how to add one to three drops of their preferred essential oil to the wooden beads. Each morning they can select their oil scent for the day. Use Bergamot or Frankincense essential oils to promote feelings of happiness and positivity throughout the day.

Silky Moon Sand:

We hit up the beach all summer so come late fall and winter we’re going through serious sandcastle withdrawal. So when I came across this recipe for DIY sand that can be molded to make castles and other sculptures, you can imagine the excitement. If you add a few drops of essential oils to the mix, (like Wild Orange) you can even trick your brain to thinking you’re actually at the beach soaking up the sun again!

Monster Be-Gone Spray:

Are your kids wary of things that go bump in the night? Making a bravery boosting spray can be just the ticket for a calmer bedtime routine. Simply fill a one ounce glass spray bottle (we found ours at Portsmouth’s Herbal Path) with 20 drops of essential oil. Next, fill the rest of the way with witch hazel or distilled water. Just shake to mix, screw on the top, and spray! If you have the supplies, let your child make a fun label and show them how to keep the “monsters” away. I suggest using trying Lavender or Juniper Berry to promote relaxation and ease anxiety. 

With the growing research about the efficacy of essential oils to support the mind and body, it’s no wonder they’re taking off in popularity. Employing them to support your own kids and your sanity this winter? Well, that’s a win-win, don’t you think?