4 Ways to Sensory Play with Dyed Rice

I've wanted to dye rice for sensory play forever. Spring and the #pandemic finally motivated me enough to do it! Overall, it took very little time, and we've played with it in so many ways already! I followed @mamapapabubba's recipe for vibrant dyed rice, and it turned out beautifully.


  • 5 lb. Bag of White Rice from Target

  • White Vinegar

  • Ziplock Bags/Repurposed Plastic Yogurt Containers

  • Wilton's Gel Food Coloring/Liquid Watercolors/Natural Dyes from Food

  • Toothpicks (For Gel Food Coloring)

  • Teaspoon

  • 1 Cup Measuring Cup

  • Parchment Paper

  • 4 Baking Trays

S helped me add 1 cup of rice and 2 tsp. vinegar to each bag (I put both in big bowls for her to dip out of with her measuring cup/spoon). I used the toothpicks to add a few glops of gel food coloring into each bag, then sealed each bag very well. Helpful hint: Leave a little air in there so the rice shakes easily. Next, we smooshed and shook like crazy. Once the color was uniform throughout the bag, we poured the rice onto lined baking trays to dry. We ended up letting ours dry for 24 hours. It probably was dry long before, but we got busy and decided to leave it until the next day.

Once we were ready to play, we made 3 sensory bins, a mini play dough kit, and still had some blue and green leftover for a future sensory bin (bugs or dinosaurs!).

Here's what ours became.

St. Patrick's Day Bin: Fool's Gold & Rainbow Jewels

Rainbow Egg Shakers

"Happy Birthday" Mini Play Dough Kit (with Chocolate and Sugar Cookie-Scented Dough)