Rainbow rice sensory play

Keeping it simple is pretty much my mantra for life these days - and that definitely applies when I'm preparing for Li'l Crafters sessions and playing with my kids at home.

Most of my favourite art and play projects really do require very basic materials that you would normally find around your home, in nature or at your local supermarkets.

The Rainbow Rice Sensory Play Bin is an awesome way for your toddlers and small people to explore textures, use their imaginations and work on their fine motor control while scooping, funnelling, stirring and gripping.

I love that it is open-ended and I often see kids use the rice in ways us grown-ups might never had thought of. It might become rainbow cupcakes, a dinosaur swamp, a magical land for small world play, or a construction site if you add your diggers. I often see group of kids doing lots of busy 'work' around the rice sensory bin.

Sensory play is an excellent way to allow your kids to play with unusual items and materials they might not come across in their usual play, and keeping it in a storage box or tray keeps the mess contained for easy clean-up - plus you're able to re-use it over and over again!

So lets get started!

What you'll need:

  • White rice (any white rice will do, I'd suggest the cheapest on offer)

  • Vinegar (the cheapest no-name brand will do)

  • Food colours

  • A big metal bowl (a plasic bowl is fine, just any that will not stain from the food colour)

  • A tray or mat for the rice to dry on.


  • Pour your white rice into your bowl.

  • Add a few drops of food colour straight onto the rice.

  • Pour vinegar onto the food colour. I add about a third of a cup to the bowl (the vinegar will stop the food colour staining hands when rice is dry so best to add more rather than less).

  • Using a spoon, stir rice and liquids together until all of the rice is coloured (you can always add more colouring and vinegar if you want brighter rice).

  • Pour wet rice onto a tray or mat and let dry (I leave mine outside on a sunny day. When the top layer dries just turn the rice to make sure the bottom dries, too).

  • You can dry on low heat in the oven if need be.

Repeat the process over using different colours and mix the coloured rice together at the end... even better, let the kids mix them.

Pour your dried rice into a plastic tub and add bowls, spoons, kitchen utensils, cupcake holders, tubes and funnels, spades and shovels, small toys ... anything goes, really!

Store in an container with a lid and use it over and over again!

Have fun!

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