How to Dye Rice for Sensory Play

I’m always looking for fun activities to add color to my kids’ lives. This week, I found a great way to let them not only use color but to create new colors all on their own! Mixing the colors with the rice is a fun way to let kids explore their tactile senses. Also, the steps to are simple, so its a great way to work on following directions!

To add scent, try adding essential oils or powdered drink mixes like Kool-Aid.

Activity Supplies:

Zipper seal bags

Hand sanitizer

Uncooked white rice

Food coloring

Paper plates, paper towels, or an old cookie sheet


Activity Directions:

●Place ½ cup of uncooked white rice in a zipper seal bag.

●Add a quarter-sized squirt of hand sanitizer into the zipper seal bag.

●Add 4 to 5 drops of food coloring to the zipper seal bag.

●Release the air from the bag. To do this, you can simply close the bag most of the way and push the air out before sealing the rest of the way.

●Shake, squeeze, or roll around the sealed bag. The kids will love to help with this. Shake the rice, sanitizer and food coloring around until the grains of rice are coated.

●Dump the contents of the bag onto a paper towel, paper plate or old cookie sheet and allow to dry. This takes about an hour.

●Store it in a fresh ziplock bag or a jar so you can reuse it later.


Kids will have a lot of fun mixing the different colors, so its a great chance to learn primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors.  Let them test out different color combinations and see what they come up with!  Once they get the hang of it, try giving them a color to make and see if they can figure out what color combination they need to use to get it. As soon as you have a few colors to work with, you can use the rice to make pictures. Just grab a paper plate and let them lay the rice out to make any picture they want. (The plate will help keep the rice from falling on the floor.) If your child really enjoys the pictures, you can even add some glue to the rice to make the picture permanent. Adding small amounts of glue to the rice is great for developing fine motor skills! Be sure to explain that this rice is for playing, not for eating.  🙂

As always, I love to hear your success stories! Please take a moment to leave a comment or share a picture of your project.


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