Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer Sensory Fun: Colored Rice

Welcome to Day 5 of the Summer Sensory Series!  
I've been having so much fun, and I'm glad to see so many of you enjoying yourselves, too.
If you've missed some of the other posts from this week, go check out:

Making colored rice is probably easier than you're thinking, and the result is something that is bright, gorgeous, and irresistible to kids.

This stuff is so much fun.  It can be used for craft projects, sound makers, filler for discovery bottles, sensory table play, and even practicing the alphabet.

And even though regular white rice can do all that, bright colors make it so much cooler ;-)

Start out with white rice.  The whiter the rice, the brighter the colors will be.
I used about 1/2 a cup of rice for each color.

Add just enough water to cover the rice, then drop in 9-15 drops of food coloring

Let it sit in the mixture for 5-10 minutes (use your judgement and wait for the color you like)
Then pour out the excess water and spread the rice thinly out on two layers of paper towels

Allow it to dry, and then see how many fun ways you can use it!

Why Kids Love This:
What's not to love about something this bright and brilliantly colored which makes such a great noise?  Kids love it!  Here are some ways you can adapt it to their ages and abilities:
Babies: Add rice to a sturdy clear plastic bottle to make a Discovery Bottle.  Babies will love being able to hold the bottle and shake it up and down.  They will be mesmerized by the beautiful colors, and the fun sound that the rice makes will keep them shaking it, and shaking it, and shaking it...
Preschoolers and Toddlers who are past the oral fixation stage will love being able to touch the rice and move it around between their fingers.  Since rice is very small, it's perfect for fine motor development and will keep those tiny fingers working.  They can practice writing the alphabet, making pictures, sorting the colors, and even making mosaics on contact paper.  
Older kids can try fun challenges like using tweezers or chopsticks to move the rice from one container to another.  Since their fine motor skills are already in tact as far as their ability to pick things up with their fingers, using a new tool will be a great challenge for them and further their fine motor development.  You can also give older kids some recyclable cardboard (cereal boxes, paper towel tubes) and have them create funnels and scoops to play with.

Why You Should Love This:
Allowing your children to play with a free-form art like colored rice encourages their creativity while stimulating many of their senses.  The colors stimulate their eyes, the sound moving rice makes wakes up their ears, and the way the tiny pieces feel in their hands keeps them grabbing for more.  We can leave the sense of "taste" out of this one, since they already know what rice tastes like, and uncooked rice is bad for their teeth.  What about the sense of smell?  Sure!  It would be easy to add scent to rice.  During the soaking step, just add a few drops of any essential oil (think lavender, eucalyptus, lemon) or raid your baking cabinet for vanilla, peppermint, or cherry extract.  You will love their reactions to the scents :)
You're also doing your children a huge favor when you invite them to play with materials that encourage fine motor skill development.  Simply picking up tiny pieces of rice will encourage little fingers to become more dexterous and confident, and you can have fun finding ways to adapt this for your older kids with utensils.
Keep it in the sensory bin, and clean up is easy!

What's your favorite way to use colored rice?


  1. So cool! All I need is some food coloring.

    1. I had to go out and buy some recently, too! I think Easter kind of wiped out my supply :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Katie! It's so easy, and a really fun thing to have on hand :)

    2. I'm going to make some later today for my son to use decorating a picture he's making for Father's Day!

    3. Awesome! Take pictures and link up next Friday on my Sensory Fun Linky Party! I'd love to see!

  3. Hey girl! Just stopping by to say "hi"! I have been gone for about 4 weeks in a row on vacation and so blogging has definitely taken a backseat for fun.
    Also, blogger no longer wants to give me your feed and I kept forgetting to subscribe by email so I keep missing your posts. So that's done now though.
    I just got through reading your summer series. There are lots of fun ideas here. :-) My kids just discovered moon dough and we are all in love with that stuff. Hours later it's still going strong since it doesn't dry out. That has been my new summer tactile object. It has such a great texture!
    Hope your summer is going well. My goodness I almost didn't recognize your daughter as I missed a couple months on your blog here. How did she get so BIG! Fun fun!

    1. Welcome home, Jenny! I've missed you! Can't wait to read that whopping big vacation post :)

      I LOVE moon sand! And clean mud (TP+Ivory soap). Have you done that one with them? So much fun! Take some pictures of them playing with the moon sand and link it up with my Sensory Linky next Friday! I'd love to have you join in!

  4. I just found your "playroom". Love all the fun ideas you have!! I want to go make this right now!!:)


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