Tag Archives: coloured rice

Simple Coloured Rice for Sensory Play

Sensory Play
I’ve been wanting to make this coloured rice for ages, actually, since the girls have been asking for their sand pit which is currently outside, soggy, smelly and not to mention the ridiculous changeability of our weather – Its March yet its snowing outside!

This is a great alternative that can be used indoors…if you don’t mind hoovering up a bit afterwards.

I have been wanting to experiment a bit with it as I had read a recipe for adding rubbing alcohol which I really don’t like the thought of for small children to be handling or the smell!

For me doing anything like this for the kids has to be simple so here’s my recipe!

You will need:

  • Cheap basic rice – I got mine from a Cash and Carry (5kg and used about half in all)
  • Food colouring
  • Zip loc bags (makes it easier but sandwich bags or a bowl would do it)

Optional Extras:

  • White Vinegar (instead of rubbing alcohol) – personally I wouldn’t bother using either.
  • Water – a few drops to help mix the colour if it seeems a bit thick

    See the bottom of post for why I would choose not to use these things.

Toddler play

Add the amount of rice you want to colour to the bag

Toddler Play

 Add the food colouring – don’t be shy here…. try a few blobs and add more if necessary. The more you add the more vibrant it will be.

Toddler Activities

Close the bag up and massage the rice inside so its all covered. This is where the Zip Loc comes in handy as I kept adding dye until it looked really vibrant!

Make whatever colours float your boat, even just one colour looks good to a child.

Sensory Play
Transfer them to a dish so the rice can dry overnight (baking trays covered in foil would also be good here) I actually couldn’t wait so after a while I put them in the oven on really low for 10 mins giving it a stir half way to help it along. I still left them in their trays overnight though as the rice was hot and it was nearly bedtime anyway.

Then when its all dry put it in a container with enough room so the kids can play – I used a Really Useful Box for wrapping paper but any large plastic tub would work.

Toddler play

How AMAZING does that look!

Toddler Games

Coloured Rice
The Girls LOVED it! They played for ages and made up all different kinds of games. It did make me think it would be great outside when it’s warmer too ……


as it didn’t take me long to realise that I should put a mat down ……………………




Toddler play
Like so ….. because it made it so much easier to clear up!

One of the games we played was hiding treasure. I found really small objects like a hair clip or a small image I had cut out of a card and hid them in the rice and they had to find them. That then gave me all sorts of ideas like hiding buttons and asking them to find the right coloured one – a bit like button bingo! We played for ages just sprinkling it on our hands because it felt nice, a bit like sand in a way.

I reckon it will last months before dirt and grime will mean I need to replace it! I have a lid for the box so that will make it easy to store away too.

Coloured Rice
By the end it had all mixed up in to this fantastic rainbow coloured rice!

Why I chose not to add anything else to the recipe!

I believe using Rubbing alcohol or the safer alternative- White Vinegar makes the colour less likely to come off. However, I found just using the food colouring, that once the rice was dry it didn’t come off anyway. I added vinegar to the blue one to test it and to be honest it made it smell….very vinegary which wasn’t very nice!

I tested it by putting some blue rice in to a bowl of water and a very faint amount of dye came off as opposed to when I put the red rice in a bowl of water more came off (not majorly but thought i’d point that out). So I would suggest if you think your little one is likely to empty their drink in it then throw the rice at the walls or maybe get really sweaty hands it may be worth using white vinegar. I’ve told my kids they mustn’t get it wet (just in case) and I will supervise them when they are playing with it anyway but it really doesn’t worry me. If you do want to use vinegar add it when you add the colouring about a tablespoon to a large cup of rice.

If you use any drops of water, it will make the rice wetter and will take longer to dry so use sparingly. My orange and green had water in them and I can’t say they were any better than the rice with nothing added (Red, Pink, Purple)

Hope you have fun, its great fun making it as well as playing with it!