Rainbow Rice - Sensory Bin Filler for Early Learning

Wednesday, October 7

When Aiden was little, one of our favorite learning activities was using sensory bins. There is so much that can be learned just through the process of playing with and exploring new materials. It didn't hurt that these tubs would keep Aiden busy for a good 30 minutes up to even an hour at a time. For a toddler, that is huge! Especially when mama wants to get some cleaning done. So, I found some old blog posts on my archive blog (if you haven't heard me say it, never delete your blogs! I am glad I at least backed up my old posts so not everything was lost...) with these toddler activities and thought I would share them here. Starting with Rainbow Rice... a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to fill a sensory bin for little ones to play with!

Rainbow Rice sensory bin filler

I had a recipe for this pinned on pinterest, but when I actually went to do it I had just finished dying pasta and the amount of food coloring it was calling for in the recipe for the rice sounded extreme. So I decided to try the ratio I had been using for the pasta, and it worked great! Here is the ratio for each baggie/color of rice:

2 c. rice
3 T rubbing alcohol
30 drops food color

I combined the liquid ingredients, then poured them over the rice in a ziplock bag mixing everything well. I let it sit for about 15 minutes, shaking it occasionally, then put it out on wax paper to dry. I used a 5 lb bag of rice to make 6 colors.

Tips and Tricks (aka what I would do different next time...)

Rubbing alcohol stinks! Be sure to allow for ventilation. I did this at night during the winter... would be a better idea when it is warm and can be done outside!

If you have too much liquid when you dump the rice onto the wax paper, it can actually soak through onto whatever is underneath! Drain well, and be prepared.

We put our rainbow rice in a tub, and added some sand tools and little cups for measuring and dumping. We also used some little colored balls for buried treasure.

I look forward to sharing more of these early learning activities... and not just because it means getting to look back through photos of my curly-mop-top little boy!

Linking up with: Learning Kid Link-Up Branson Merrill


  1. We did something like this in an early childhood education class I took, the kids had a lot of fun with it!

  2. I love this idea! My children are all big - this would have been amazing I am making this for my neice - I love it thank you for sharing

  3. I have died other grains but not rice yet - I love your pictures, it looks like the rice absorbs the colors really well. And as luck would have it, I just bought a giant back of rice so I have plenty! Thanks for the idea, I think we'll give this a try this week!

    I'd love it if you stopped by my site, I have made some fun lessons for PK1 kids, though I'm just getting started out as a blogger :) PK1HomeschoolFUN

  4. The colored grains look so pretty! My daughter has passed this stage sadly :(
    Thanks for sharing @LearningKidLinkup8


  5. My son would LOVE this so much! Seriously. I need to make this asap!


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