Colored Rice for Your Sensory Bin

By Julie Hall - Publisher/Editor of Macaroni Kid Gettysburg/Hanover September 13, 2017

This is one of my favorite things to do with the kids. It's easy, inexpensive, versatile and fun. You can use the rice in a sensory box and let the kids run their hands through it, dig, scoop or anything else they come up with. I've also used it for crafts -- just slap some glue on paper, cardboard, wood or any other surface you're in the mood for, sprinkle some colorful rice and BAM! You have an instant masterpiece. As an added bonus, my three-year-old can do most of this herself.

I know it says colored rice recipe, but you can use this with uncooked noodles, dried beans (preferably light colored ones), or oatmeal. 

If you're the type of person who needs measurements, I've included them in there, but you can really just wing it. 

What you need (per color)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice.
  • 1 teaspoon water (or less for brighter colors)
  • Liquid watercolors or food coloring*
  • Large sealable plastic bags

What you do

  1. Put the uncooked rice in a sealable plastic bag, I recommend the ones with the zipper-like closure; it's just safer that way.
  2. Mix the water with about 10 drops of food coloring or liquid watercolors. The water is just to help the color spread over the rice. It will kind of dull your color though, so don't put too much. I’ve done it with and without water, just play with it and find out what works for you.
  3. The next step is very important, SEAL THE BAG! Don't ask me why I feel the need to remind you -- I'm sure you can take a guess. Then shake until all the rice is covered. Add more color as needed.
  4. Spread the rice out on parchment or wax paper and let it dry for a few hours.
  5. Once it's dry you can do whatever you want with it!

*A word of warning about the food coloring -- it tends to stain the skin, or whatever it comes in contact with. I recommend going with the liquid watercolors instead, but they can be difficult to find.