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For ages: 1+

Adult involvement: Limited to none for preschoolers, hands-on for babies and toddlers

Messiness factor (on a scale of 1-3): 2

My daughter loves sensory bins: anything she can put her hands in and scoop, pour, squish and mould. This easy to make, three-ingredient rainbow rice will keep her entertained longer than any other sensory activity I’ve made.

You’ll need:

– Uncooked rice (any variety)

– White vinegar

– Liquid food colouring

– Sandwich bags or tupperware containers

– One or two cookie sheets

To make:

For each colour you want to make, use one cup of rice, 1/2 tsp of vinegar and 5-10 drops of food colouring (you can tweak it as you go).

Step 1: Combine all three ingredients in a tupperware or ziploc bag, close it up and shake shake shake. My toddler liked using the ziploc bag better because she could squeeze it and see the rice turn colour.

Step 2: When the rice and dye are well-mixed, pour it out onto a cookie sheet to dry.

Depending on how much rice you make, you can pour several colours worth of rice onto one sheet.


The rice should take about an hour to dry. Give it a test to see if it’s still wet, and if not, it’s ready for play. If it smells vinegary at first, don’t worry – the smell will dissipate.


Step 3: Pour all your colours into a shallow plastic bin, add some spoons, small containers, funnels and small toys, and have fun.

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Take the rainbow rice on the road: Put it in a jumbo freezer ziploc and add small toys to it for a search and find sensory bag.


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