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Dyed Rice Recipe for Sensory Bin Play

how to make dyed rice

Dyed Rice Recipe for Sensory Bin Play

This dyed rice recipe for sensory bin play is easy to do and is great for sensory and textured play. Dyed rice is lovely for play in early years settings, preschool and even at home. Children can make marks in it, and it’s an excellent alternative for sand tray play in which children can use it to pour, fill, and mix it in containers. It’s best to use sensory bins (large Tupperware drawers) or tuff spots to keep it contained.

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What you need – dyed rice recipe


To make one cup of dyed rice, you will need 1 cup of rice, one tablespoon of white vinegar and some food coloring. Place it all in a bag or container, mix it up with a spoon, seal it and shake it up until the rice is completely covered in food coloring. If you would like to make the rice a deeper color, you can add additional food coloring. However, you may need to add a little more vinegar at the same time to make sure the color spreads evenly on the rice.

Once you are happy with the color, spread it out on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil or wax paper. It can then be left out to dry overnight (it may take a longer or shorter length of time depending on the climate). You can also place it in the oven on the lowest setting and while regularly checking on it, and mix it up to help it dry uniformly.

What they get from it

Dyed rice is excellent for sensory bin play and is a lovely way for children to experiment and experience different sensations and textures. Sensory play is beneficial for learning, language and memory development. Research has demonstrated that sensory experiences assist children’s learning and development by making and reinforcing connections in the brain (Gascoyne, 2012, Gascoyne, 2016, and Papatheodorou & Moyles). They can use it in pretend play, and it will help them to see how different materials can be used and how they behave. It’s also a fun way for children to learn about the concepts of volume and capacity through filling and emptying containers.

Take it further – Dyed rice for sensory bin play

This dyed rice recipe can be enhanced by adding items such as sequins, glitter, beads, small toys and even lavender petals. You may also want to add some essential oils (careful to choose ones that are safe for children such as lavender, rose, chamomile) which can provide a different sensory experience.  

You may wish to read some of my other posts such as Edible Mark Making Activities, Homemade Cloud Dough, Deliciously Smelly Playdough Recipe, or Pre-writing Activities.


Gascoyne, S. (2012). Treasure Baskets and Beyond: Realizing the Potential of Sensory-Rich Play. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Gascoyne, S. (2016). Sensory Play: Play in the EYFS. Andrews UK Limited.

Papatheodorou, T. & Moyles, J. (2012) Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Early Childhood. Sage.



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