Rice is probably one of the most loved, cheapest and easiest to prepare sensory play base. Here you can find more than 30 rice sensory play ideas to get you started!
Either used in it’s dry form or cooked, white or colored, rice is the perfect filler for sensory bins, bottles or bags! What benefits children have from playing with rice? They explore with their sense of touch, along with working on their fine motor skills.
Safety Issue with Rice
If you are wondering if uncooked rice is safe for play, it will not possess safety problems if child eats uncooked rice by mistake. However, caution is still advised, like in any other type of sensory play. Make sure to tell younger kids clearly not to eat uncooked rice (or any other item inside a sensory bin) and be around them when they play.
How to Dye Rice for Sensory Play?
Before we get down to ideas, let’s go through steps to dye the rice for your sensory play. Of course, you can use rice as is, but when you want to change things, you will need to dye it.
Materials for colored rice:
- uncooked white rice
- food coloring
- ziplock bag or plastic container with lid
- paper towel or baking paper
Follow these steps for each color:
- Place rice in ziplock bag or plastic container.
- Add few drops of food coloring.
- Add 1-2 spoon of vinegar.
- Seal the bag or container.
- Squish the bag until color is spread. If you are using container, shake it until all rice is covered in color.
- Spread out on paper towel or baking paper until dry.
Rice Sensory Play Ideas for Kids
Allow kids to explore with their hands, eyes and nose! It is common to add a bit of scent to themed sensory bins like an apple scent in a bin linked under the picture.
Apple Spiced Rice Sensory Bin
Start with our yummy Apple Spiced Rice Sensory Bin. Perfect for fall or when you work on an apple theme. With added tools, toddlers will play scooping and pouring and, in process, work on their fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Source: Best Toys 4 Toddlers
Spell Your Name Sensory Bin Hunt
Go on a letter hunt in this Spell Your Name Sensory Bin filled with rice. It’s a combination or fine motor practice and letter recognition. Source: Fun Learning for Kids
Travel I SPY Bottle
Mini Eye Spy Bottles are perfect to bring with you when you are out and about. Because of it’s tiny size, this sensory bottle is great fit for baby’s hands. Source: Play Teach Repeat
Quick Setup Sensory Play
Simply fill a bin with rice and let the kids dig their fingers and decide how to play from there. Give them an opportunity to choose by themselves what to add to their sensory bin and how to play. Source: Teach Me Mommy
I Spy Sensory Bin
Enjoy a game of I Spy in this sensory bin in super colorful sensory bin which is perfect for your little toddlers and preschoolers. Source: Happy Hooligans
Letters Sensory Bin
Raid your kid’s puzzle drawer to set up this rice based Letters Sensory Bin. They will learn to recognize their letter without knowing they are learning! Source: Best Toys 4 Toddlers
DIY Rain Sticks
Make music with rice when you use it as a filling in DIY Rainsticks. It’s amazing how sound changes depending on what you use as filling. Source: Danya Banya
Neon Colored Rice
Enjoy playing in the dark with bright Neon Rice. Kids will totally adore this activity since time when we allow them to play in dark is rare and short! Source: Kids Activities Blog
Rainbow I-Spy game
Fill an I Spy Bottle with Rainbow Rice and invite a child to find all the letters of their name (or anything else you can think of). Source: You Clever Monkey
Fall Scented Rice Play
Explore the scents and colors of autumn in this large sensory tub. Can you smell pumpkin or clove? You can change up a setup through out the autumn using differently scented rice as a base. Source: Growing a Jeweled Rose
Aussie scented sensory rice
Mix up and play with rice in the colors of your nation. We have Australia as a sample with green and gold, plus she added an eucalyptus scent! Which colors and scents will you use for your country? Source: Laughing Kids Learn
Lavender Scented Sensory Rice
Calm down your child before bedtime with a Lavender Scented Sensory Tub. It smells divine! This lovely scent is fabulous for ending down after school or before bedtime through the cranky hour (and helpful for exhausted parents too!) Source: The Imagination Tree
Sparkly Winter Sensory Bin
Enjoy scooping, pouring and transferring in this Winter sparkly sensory bin. Add silver or gold colored items on top of the rice to bring out the season mood. Source: Best Toys 4 Toddlers
Kool-Aid Dyed Rice
Did you know that you can dye rice with kool-aid? Colors come up very vibrant which makes this rice perfect filler for spring themed sensory bins! Source: Kiwico
Mini Animal Habitat Sensory Play
Rice is an ideal base for some Mini Animal Habitat Sensory Play. Using small plastic containers, prepare several tiny habitats for play. Perfect for play on the go! Source: The Imagination Tree
Candy Cane Sensory Bin
Perfect red and white sensory base to use for Christmas or Valentine’s day! This sensory setup uses some great skills too from scooping, pouring, transferring, grasping and gripping! Source: Little Bins for Little Hands
Christmas tree sensory bin
A rice based Christmas sensory bin perfect for fine motor practice too. It is fun watching kids search through rice and finding little ornaments, stars and jingle bells. Source: Best Toys 4 Toddlers
Cinnamon and Vanilla-Scented Sensory Bin
You can make cinnamon and vanilla scented sensory bin for Christmas too! Add items to sensory bin but keep it on simple side for plenty of tactile and olfactory sensory play opportunities. Source: Little Bins for Little Hands
Winter Sensory Counting Table
Fill a Winter Sensory Counting Table with snowy rice. This sensory play is perfect for exploring textures, sorting and counting small amounts of tactile items in play! Source: The Imagination Tree
Spring garden sensory bin
Greet Spring with themed sensory bin! Setting up this sensory bin is extremely easy – use beans for “rocks / dirt” and green colored rice for the “grass” part. Source: Best Toys 4 Toddlers
Ocean Sensory Tray with Frozen Rice
Turn your sensory bin into pretend play ocean! Place frozen rice with sea shells, fish and sea creatures for play on a hot summer day and invite kids to play. Source: The Imagination Tree
Rice and Ice Sensory Activity
Add some ice to your rice in this Little Blue and Little Yellow book themed sensory play. Children will be able to watch the color of the rice change as the blue and yellow ice begin to melt and combine to create a secondary color – green. Source: Learning 4 Kids
Make Rice Dance with this sensory science experiment. Very simple to prepare experiment with minimal supplies, most of us already have at home. Source: Buggy and Buddy
DIY Pumpkin Scented Rice Bin
Celebrate coming of the fall season with pumpkin scented sensory bin! Dig into all things fall like pine cones, nuts, and whole spices. Source: Hands On As We Grow
Airplane Sensory Bin
Among fluffy clouds airplanes fly on blue rice sky! Loving this airplane sensory bin! With only 2 ingredients (cotton balls and rice) it is simple enough to make quickly for your plane loving child! Source: My Mundane & Miraculous Life
Lemon Scented Rice Sensory Bin
Make a zesty lemon scented sensory rice for hot summer days! It will make your kids crave lemonade so have some ready and on stand-by! Source: Little Bins for Little Hands
Watermelon Sensory Writing Tray
Watermelon sensory rice sounds yummy enough to eat! By adding rice that’s been dyed pink to a shallow tray and some black beans to represent the watermelon seeds, you can create a watermelon sensory writing tray. Source: Fantastic Fun and Learning
Witch’s Brew Sensory Bin for Halloween
Brew a potion for a Halloween with fun purple rice sensory bin. Includes lots of action like stirring, scooping, sorting and more. Source: My Bored Toddler
Sensory Play with Rosemary Rice
Mix in rosemary in a sensory bin. It will be a new sensory experience for kids! If you don’t grow fresh Rosemary, dried Rosemary would work just as well. Source: Childhood 101
Giant Rice Pool
Bring out an old pool and fill it with rice! More space, more fun! With only changing the ‘bowl’ which holds the rice, you will peak child’s interest and make plain old white rice the whole new experience! Source: Busy Toddler
Invisible letters and numbers
It’s tricky to find an invisible letters and numbers in a rainbow sensory bin! To make the invisible letters and numbers, simply hot glue the designs onto some parchment paper. Neat idea, right?! Source: And Next Comes L
How to Store Sensory Rice After Play?
Many people ask this question.
In general, if you store uncooked rice in a plastic container or ziplock bag after play, it can last very long.
We had colored rice still good after a year. Only thing you have to make sure before sealing is to check if rice is completely dry.
Looking for more fun things to do with your kids? We want to recommend you our book – Learn with Play (150+ Activities for Year-Round Fun and Learning)! You will find inside easy to prepare activities for everyday fun as well for all seasons and holidays! Here is a preview for you:
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
- Easy to set up water play
- Playing with Q-tips is fun too!
- To try something new, pick some of the activities with shaving foam!
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