Rainbow Rice – Sensory Toddler Activity


Recently we’ve been doing a lot of sensory and messy play involving food. One reason for this is Ollie is going through a fussy eating phase, so I’m trying to take the pressure off and make food more fun. The other reason is these activities are easy to prepare and totally thrifty because they just use things I already have in the kitchen! 

Last week I made rainbow rice. It’s a great sensory activity that Ollie had so much fun with. He loved the sound it made and the bright colours. He practised scooping and transferring aswell as working on his pincer grip to pick the little grains up. 

It’s really simple to make and only takes 5 minutes to prepare. 


You will need: 

  • White rice
  • Food colouring 
  • White vinegar
  • Plastic sealable box or freezer bag

Place the rice in a freezer bag or plastic box – about one cupful to start with. Add one teaspoon of white vinegar and a couple of drops of food colouring. Seal the bag or box and give it a good shake for a couple of minutes until the colour has spread evenly. A few drops will give you pastel shades. If you want brighter colours like mine, just add more food colouring and shake again. Repeat the process to make different colours.

Once you’re happy with the colour, lay the rice out to dry. I used baking trays with kitchen roll spread out over them. I spread the rice out in a thin layer to help it dry. I used quite a lot of food colouring to get the colour I wanted so I left the rice to dry overnight. If you use less, the rice should be dry in a few hours. 

If you don’t have the above ingredients, you can buy the lot at Aldi for under £2! As the rice is uncooked, you can store it in an airtight container to use again in the future. 

Of course when you’ve made the rice, you can use it however you want. I think it would look great in sensory bottles and I’m going to use some of ours to make colourful maracas!

It was a lovely sunny day so we played outside with Ollie’s sand/water table as it’s the perfect height and has raised sides to contain the rice. I added a few cups, containers, plastic shapes and spoons. 

Once he’d had a little feel and decided he was ok with the texture of the rice, he spent ages picking it up and dropping it to hear the noise it made on the plastic. He used a spoon to scoop it up and fill different containers which is a great way to practise using cutlery without messing the dining room up! 

The different colours gave us a great opportunity to practise naming them, which is something Ollie has been learning recently, and he even learnt a new word – ‘wice’ 😂

Ollie really seemed to enjoy himself and in the past week he’s pointed at the play table a couple of times and said ‘wice please’ which I think proves it was a hit! 


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6 thoughts on “Rainbow Rice – Sensory Toddler Activity

  1. This is a great idea and SO simple. I think even my 4 and 5 year old would love playing with rainbow rice, it’s messy play without the mess! Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

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