Here’s how you can easily color rice to rock your kid’s sensory bin. My kids will play for hours with their rice bins. It’s educational and they think it’s fun!

Colored rice is one of the least expensive sensory bin fillers you can find and kids LOVE it! For lots of engaging ideas to help you plan your next sensory bin, check out this list of sensory bins for holidays, seasons and themes, which is updated often.

Sensory bins are one of the best ways to calm a child while encouraging their development in many areas. Click here to read more about the many ways sensory bins are beneficial.

Some links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that if you click on them, I may make a tiny bit of money, at no extra cost to you.

How to Color Rice: Step 1

First, gather your ingredients. For every cup of rice you’d like to color, you’ll also need 1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol, 10 drops of coloring, and a couple of drops of essential oil if you would like for your rice to be scented. You can use liquid food coloring or liquid watercolors like these.

sensory bin colored rice ingredients

How to Color Rice: Step 2

Second, add 1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol along with the 10 drops of color to your container. Either use a bowl with a lid, a plastic Rubbermaid tub, or a quart-sized zipper baggie. If you want to add a scent to your oil, add 1 or 2 drops now. My favorite calming oil is Eden’s Garden Sound Asleep. Bee Happy and Study Buddy are great for uplifting spirits and improving focus, respectively.

Remember when adding your coloring that the amount of coloring you use will determine the final shade of your rice. If you want soft pastel colors, use less coloring. For bright, bold colors, use a bit more coloring. You can always add a bit more coloring before you dry it if you think it’s not dark enough.

rice colored sensory bin

How to Color Rice: Step 3

Next, add in 1 cup of rice to the rubbing alcohol and coloring. Close your container and shake for several minutes until the color is evenly distributed among the rice.

This is the point at which you may add more coloring if you think it’s not dark enough, but remember it will dry darker than it looks right now.

wet colored rice sensory bin

This is what my purple rice looked like after I shook it for a couple of minutes.

Don’t worry if it smells like rubbing alcohol, that will evaporate as it dries.

How to Color Rice: Step 4

Next, you should pour the wet rice out onto a cookie sheet or piece of aluminum foil into a single layer for drying. My rice usually takes a couple of hours to dry. I like to stir it around a couple of times while it’s drying, but that’s completely optional.

colored rice for sensory bin

Your rice is ready to be poured into your sensory bin and enjoyed as soon as it’s thoroughly dried.

Be sure to pin this post to your favorite board on Pinterest and follow Whole Child Homeschool’s Sensory and Body Awareness board for 100s more great sensory tips and tricks!

colored rice


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