Rainbow rice is a fantastic sensory activities that allow children to engage their 5 senses i.e. via sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste while simultaneously encouraging them to play, create, explore and manipulate the materials given. In other words, your little budding scientists in the making (while having fun, of course!).
It is essentially just coloured rice and is popular due to its easy preparation and as a great sensory activity for young children. This is also my personal favourite as rice is easily available in our Asian kitchen and is one of the easiest sensory activity to clean up. All ingredients used are edible so if your child accidentally swallowed some, its harmless – a necessity if you have a child that used to like putting things in her mouth like mine does.
So, here you go – a simple way of preparing rainbow rice using vinegar and food colourings.
How to dye rice for Rainbow Rice Sensory Bin
Ingredients to dye rice:
Clean plastic bags or Ziploc bags
Food colouring (3-4 colours recommended)
Method to dye rice:
- Pour a cup of rice into a clean square plastic bag. Add approximately ½ tablespoon of vinegar and ¼ teaspoon of food colouring. Add more colouring if you wish for more intense colour.
- Tie a knot at the top of plastic bag and mash the contents so that the rice grains are evenly coloured.
- Repeat with other colours of your choice. I recommend about 3-4 colours for variety.
- Spread out on baking paper and allow to dry under the sun (approximately 2 hours) or overnight above the fridge is also a good idea.
- Store in air tight container if not in use. It can last for few months.
(adapted from The Happy Hooligan)
Setting up of Rainbow Rice Sensory Bin
I would recommend this activity for children between the ages of 2 to 6. No play instructions required and don’t fret if the kids mixed up the colours. That’s part of the fun, you know (wink!)
If you have older kids in the house, you may give them a challenge to fill up simple colouring pages as shown in the picture here. It is similar to the practice of decorating “Kolam” done by the Hindus during Deepavali.
By carefully placing the rice grains within the lines, children would be putting their eye-hand coordination to use as well.
Cleaning up + mess control:
I know what you are thinking, aren’t these going to create a huge mess in the house?
Well, to minimise mess, I usually place a large plastic sheet for my children to play on. Bed sheet or floor mat will do too. When they are done playing, I simply empty the rice from the plastic sheet into an airtight container. Simply vacuum of the stray rice by the sides and you are done. Be thorough with the vacuum though as stepping on bits of rice is definitely not pleasant!
In my opinion, this is certainly one of the safer sensory activities for young children. So you may actually sit back, relax and enjoy your cup of coffee while browsing FB while the kids keep themselves busy. Always keep yourself within sight distance of your kids. Obviously, the younger your child, the more supervision would be required. Enjoy, mommies!
Don’t forget to head over to check out our 5 invitations-to-play using rice ideas over here.