A few years back, I posted photos of our rice sensory bins on my personal Facebook page but haven’t really had the chance to share how we dyed them. This is a quick and easy DIY sensory bin that you can easily do at home. No cooking required. Even your kids will enjoy doing this too!
- 2 cups white rice
- food coloring
- 2 tbsp. isopropyl alcohol
- zip bags or bowls
- baking tray or a big plate
- Pour your rice into the zip bags. You may also use bowls. I just find the zip bags less messy. Make as many bags of rice depending on how many colors you want to have. Tip: Fill half of the bag only so it is easier to mix later.
- Add a teaspoon of alcohol and mix or stir the rice. Others use vinegar. I prefer using alcohol because the rice dries up quickly. If needed, you can add more alcohol according to the amount of rice.
- Gradually add a few drops of food coloring to one bag. Close the bag and mix. Add in more food coloring until you get the desired color.
- Empty the bag of rice on a baking tray or plate. Leave to dry for 30 to 45 minutes.
And there you go, vibrant colored rice!
First, take whatever plastic bins you have at home and fill them with the dyed rice. Then, add spoons, funnels, cups, empty boxes, ice cube trays and sifts. I repurposed our Ikea Samla storage box for this activity and raided our kitchen for a few bits and bobs.
Now, it’s time for the kiddos to dig in!
BENEFITS OF SENSORY BINS
Sensory bins help kids strengthen their fine motor skills and coordination. All that scooping, pouring, digging and sifting promotes exploration and creativity through play. As well as encourage social and problem-solving skills when they play with other children or their siblings. They learn to take turns and work with others.
You can use these sensory bins for a lot of activities. Our favorite is “treasure hunt”. I hide flashcards, plastic eggs, pompoms and shapes under the rice and Seth will scoop or dig out the rice to search for those items. There’s something about seeking and finding that really excites children. It has been a wonderful help for letter, color, shapes and number recognition.
What other activities can you do with sensory bins? There are a lot. Pinterest it. However, I found that the best activity is to give kids the chance to have unstructured play. You will be surprised at how creative they can get. They learn to improvise and think outside the box. Seth loves to use it as a dirt road for his cars, pretend he is selling at a market or feeding his animal toys.
Oh and yes, prepare for rice fall outs after each play. Sensory bins are messy. Tablecloths or blankets on the bottom of the bin will definitely help for an easier cleanup.
At home, we encourage the boys to clean up after they play. Seth finds this extremely fun as he gets to sweep the floor using a broom and dustpan. The rest of the mess gets vacuumed.
I hope you find this tutorial helpful. Go forth and make your quick and easy DIY sensory bin. Why not try it on pasta and beans?
Explore, learn and have fun!