Making colored rice for sensory bins is so easy! Your child will love all the colors and have a blast playing with it.
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As a mom of two toddlers, I’m always on the look out for easy ways to keep them entertained without screen time. Sensory bins have been my go-to lately.
We had a lot of fun doing kinetic sand but I thought it was time to switch up our bins with some colored rice. I never knew how easy it was to dye rice and my kids were thrilled with it. The colors also look great all mixed together.
⭐ A note about this activity
This activity is meant for children who no longer put things in their mouths. This is not taste safe and parental supervision is required at all times.
⭐ Why you’ll love this sensory bin
A rainbow rice sensory bin (or any other color you want) is a super easy and budget friendly activity to set up for your child. You can use toys, scoops, and measuring cups that you already have.
The rice will last for a year or more if you keep it clean and dry so your child can play again and again.
Kids will have so much fun exploring, developing their fine motor skills, and using their imaginations.
⭐ Supplies needed
To make colored rice, you will need:
- Rice: You’ll need white rice. One cup per color you want to make.
- Food coloring: You’ll need regular food coloring, not gel food coloring. I used a rainbow set from Amazon.
- Vinegar: You’ll need one tablespoon of white vinegar.
⭐ How to dye rice (step by step guide)
There are printable instructions further down in this post!
To dye rice, you will need to measure out one cup of rice. I used a large plastic storage bag.
Next, add one tablespoon of vinegar. Add the food coloring (I used about 10 drops) and stir well.
Spread out to dry. I used a tupperware container that had been lined with wax paper.
Let the mixture dry for 2 to 3 hours then it will be good to play with. Mine took about 2 ½ hours to dry but I live in a very humid climate.
⭐ Fun ideas for sensory bins
Dye your rice red and green for Christmas or pink for Valentine’s Day themed sensory bins. You could also use your child’s favorite colors.
Use the rice to practice writing numbers or letters with your fingers.
Dying rice brown or black is great for construction themed sensory bins.
Add some fun pom poms, toys, or plastic cookie cutters for more fun.
We used these measuring cups that actually represent the measurements. I think they are really cool for learning.
⭐ What if my rice won’t dry?
If your rice hasn’t dried, you can either let it air dry longer. You may have accidentally put too much vinegar in it. Give it another day to dry. If you live in a very humid environment it may also take longer to dry.
⭐ How to store
Once dry, store your sensory bin rice in an airtight container. It will be good to use for a year or longer.
I used an extra large tupperware container to store ours.
- Set wax paper or parchment paper down when drying the rice. This will help prevent the food coloring from staining your tray.
- Use a paper towel to test if the rice is dry. If it comes off clean then your rice is ready to be played with.
- Let the rice dry completely before letting your child play with it. This is a great activity to prep the night before so it has plenty of time to dry. Let the rice dry overnight.
⭐ Sensory Bin FAQs
No, once the rice is dry it will not stain hands. Test dryness with a paper towel before letting your child use it.
Mix one cup of dry white rice with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Add food coloring then mix or shake in a plastic storage bag. Lay out to dry on parchment or wax paper lined trays.
Yes, food coloring works on rice if you also use vinegar.
You can substitute rubbing alcohol for the vinegar. The alcohol smell will dissipate once it dries.
Other fun sensory activities:
If you tried this Colored Rice Sensory Bin or any other activity or recipe on my site, please leave a ⭐ rating and let me know how it goes in the 📝 comments below. I would love to hear from you!
How to Make Colored Rice for Sensory Bins
- Plastic storage bags
- 1 cup white rice
- food coloring
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- To dye rice, you will need to measure out one cup of rice. I used plastic storage bags but you can also use any bowls that you don't mind staining.
- Next, add one tablespoon of vinegar. Add the food coloring (I used about 10 drops) and stir well.
- Spread out on a tray to dry. I used a tupperware container lined with wax paper.
- Let the mixture dry for 2 to 3 hours then it will be good to play with. Mine took about 3 hours to dry but I live in a very humid climate.
- Repeat to do multiple colors in separate bowls.