Looking to make your own Sensory Bin? Here’s How to Make Colored Rice for Sensory Play. It’s so easy, you literally only need 3 ingredients and a bit of time to let it dry!
First, though, let’s talk about why you might want to set up a Sensory Bin.
What is a Sensory Bin?
A Sensory Bin is a container filled with items that stimulate the senses and engage the imagination. Sensory bins can help cognitive growth, fine motor skills, language development, critical thinking skills, and social skills.
They are great specifically for preschool age children because of their cognitive development, but children of all ages enjoy playing with sensory items!
As a mom of 4, I use sensory bins to keep my children engaged in play on rainy days. My kids play HARD and happily when we do sensory bins.
Here’s some of the sensory bins we’ve made in the past. My son’s favorite is the construction theme with beans. Such a fun activity!
Please note that children who still put things in their mouths should not play with sensory bins that contain small objects. You can still create a sensory bin for your child, but I would suggest using water and large items in the sensory bin instead of a smaller pieces like rice, beans or pasta that might pose a choking hazard.
Alright, we’re ready to learn how to make colored rice!
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Supplies for Colored Rice
Uncooked white rice (I used white long grain rice)
Vinegar (don’t worry, the smell of vinegar disappears!)
Food Coloring (liquid works best for producing bright colors)
You’ll need a baking sheet to help the rice dry quickly.
Paper Towels, parchment, or plastic wrap are helpful to protect the baking sheets from the dye.
Lastly, grab a large ziploc bag (or a container with a lid). I like to reuse ice cream buckets or cottage cheese containers, depending on how much rice I am making.
How to Make Colored Rice for Sensory Play
First, you will want to decide on your colors! Rainbow is always fun, but just remember, the kids WILL mix the colors!
I recommend choosing 2-3 colors that go well with your theme. Today, we are making red, orange and yellow rice for a fall sensory bin.
Let’s start mixing!
First, add 2 cups of plain rice to your gallon size bag or container. Next add 2 teaspoons of vinegar and a few drops of food coloring. How much food coloring you add will determine the vibrant colors you get.
Mix the food coloring and vinegar into the rice by smooshing the bag (or shaking your container). Make sure all of the rice is thoroughly dyed and all you can see is coloured rice.
Next, place your paper towel/parchment onto the cookie sheet. Pour your wet rice onto the sheet in a thin layer and let it dry! It may take a few hours or you can place it outside for a more speedy drying session.
For my project today, I made 2 cups of each color, so my sensory bin has 6 total cups of rice.
That’s it! So simple, right?
Now you are ready to add it to your sensory bin! Add scoops, different cups, bowls or toys for creative play. Allow your child to dig, scoop, mix, and play in the rice bin!
Colored Rice FAQs and Ideas
Can I use gel food coloring instead of the liquid food coloring?
You CAN use food coloring gel. Simply mix it with your vinegar before you add it to the rice. It’s not quite as easy as liquid food dye, but it is doable.
You’ll notice my red isn’t as red as it could be. I didn’t want to risk the color transferring to my kids’ hands, but if you are a risk taker, go for it!
Can I use liquid watercolors to dye the rice?
Absolutely, liquid watercolors work great! Just add a little at first and see how much you need to make it work.
How can I extend the Sensory Activity?
You can prompt imaginations by providing different colors of rice in different themed sensory bins.
You can use blue rice to represent water in an ocean themed sensory bin. You could add green rice to be grass for a woodland or jungle themed box.
As you can see the color of rice can totally change the theme of your sensory activity. Either way, it is sure to be a fun experience for your little ones and an easy way to keep kids busy!
Clean up Tricks for Sensory Play
To make sensory bin clean up a little easier, I have 2 tricks.
One is that I place the sensory bin on top of a blanket, which collects the dropped rice. Then, when the children are done playing, I gather the ends of the blanket and pour the rice back into the container.
Another option is to place the bin on a floor that is easily swept and let the kids sweep up the mess afterwards with a mini broom. This is probably the easiest way to keep your diy rainbow rice mess at bay.
How long does Sensory Bin Rice Last?
Sensory rice can be kept for years! Our family keeps ours in a gallon size Ziploc bag within an ice cream bucket. With rice, I always use 2 layers of protection because it would be a bit of a mess to clean up if the container fell.
That’s it friends! I hope this has helped answer How to Dye Rice for Sensory Play. Have fun and remember that this is a perfect rainy day activity. I’m all about screen free fun when we are stuck inside!
Drop me a comment below if you have any questions or remarks. I hope you enjoy making your own colored rice!
More Sensory Play Ideas
Looking for some easy sensory play ideas? Check out these 4 Easy Sensory Bins for Preschoolers! Super easy to implement ideas for sensory activities for kids!
Also, be sure to check out How to Create a Fall Sensory Bin. It’s an easy sensory play idea but it’s so much fun! Also, there’s lots of great ideas in this post to make putting together a sensory bin easy!
Learn How to Make Colored Sand here. Such an easy tutorial that is great for your sensory activities!