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pastel coloured dyed rice, easy to make

How to colour rice for sensory play

This is a super quick and easy way to colour rice any shade, from bright to pastel for sensory play. It takes minutes to make and doesn’t require any food colouring or vinegar. This dyed rice keeps for ages as long as it is kept dry and is the perfect basis for small world play. For ideas about how to use this method, take a look at our Big Top circus sensory rice.

how to colour rice for sensory bottles and trays, lilac rice in jar

You will need

  • Rice (own brand costs about 45p for 1kg from most supermarkets)
  • Ready mixed paints
  • Ziplock/freezer bags
  • A tray or bottle

How to colour rice for sensory play

pastel stripes of dyed sensory rice

Step 1

Pour out as much uncooked rice as you need into a ziplock or freezer bag. If you want to make equal amounts of different coloured rice then measure out the quantities you need into individual bags.

Step 2

Add a generous amount of paint and seal the bag.

To achieve a pastel shade, add a tiny amount of coloured paint to a larger amount of white and mix, adding more until you reach the desired colour. For a brighter tone, just add more paint.

Step 3

Children will love to help with this part, squish and squash the paint in the bag to coat all of the rice.

Step 4

Pour out the coloured rice onto a tray and spread evenly. The thinner it is spread, the quicker it will dry.

Step 5

Your dyed rice is ready for your project. Pop it into a well-sealed plastic bottle for a fun activity for babies or use in a sensory tray with older children.

Sensory rice ideas

We love experimenting with colourful rice in different ways. Add some glitter to make it magical or theme it with bold, bright colours. We have lots of ideas for exciting colourful rice!

  • Different shades of blue with shells, sand and sea creatures would make a beautiful ocean scene
  • Navy blue with silver glitter as the night sky
  • Pastel tones with glitter and sequins as a fairy land
  • Yellow, orange and pink with real leaves and flowers would make a beautiful Spring garden
  • Add herbs and spices to smell wonderful in the tray too!
  • Try different shades of green for a grass effect
striped circus sensory rice for children

Take a look at our Big Top circus rice

What are your favourite ways to use rice in sensory play?

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ABOUT
Natalie Cotton

Mum and early years teacher in the UK helping to make learning fun and creative.

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