Inside: How to Dye Rice or Make Rainbow Rice, with all supplies from Dollar Tree. Add color to your sensory bin or sensory play with this activity.

If you do sensory activities or sensory bins with little ones, rice often plays a prominent role. After all, it’s non-toxic and fun to play with and run through your fingers.

But if you want to take your activities up a notch, what about how to dye rice? Or make rainbow rice?

Four bowls of Rainbow Rice on a wooden table.

Rainbow rice will surely get a child more interested in sensory play than plain, boring white or brown rice.

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And, I found most of the supplies for this activity at my local Dollar Tree. We just got a new Dollar Tree, and I am quickly becoming a regular customer. It’s a great place to find all the ingredients for not just rainbow rice, but many sensory activities (like this Fall Sensory Bin).

Are you looking to add some color and creativity to your sensory playtime? Look no further than the Dollar Tree. With just a few simple items, you can create rainbow rice for hours of fun and exploration.

Whether you’re a parent looking for an engaging activity for your little ones or a teacher searching for a hands-on learning experience, this budget-friendly project will surely be a hit.

Supplies for Making Rainbow Rice

  • 1 or 2 bags of rice (I used the brown rice)
  • Ziploc sandwich bags or any sandwich bag that seals
  • Food coloring (I found it at Dollar Tree)
  • Cookie sheet and parchment paper on top

How to Make Rainbow Rice

I use parchment paper often. I love it. And it makes cleanup so easy.

I own several measuring cups, but you can find cheap sets at Dollar Tree. I keep a set just for things that we won’t eat. Like dyed rice.

A measuring cup filled with a small amount of Dollar Store rainbow rice.

Place an equal amount of rice in each bag.

Four bags of brown rice on a white surface from the Dollar Store.

1. Put about a cup of rice in each bag.

A Dollar Store bag filled with Rainbow Rice and a bottle of liquid.

Place 25-30 drops of food coloring in the blue, red, yellow, and green bag.

White rice in a plastic bag.

To make the orange color mix about 20 drops of red and 20 drops of yellow.

Three bags of Dollar Store Rainbow Rice sitting on a table.

Mix the rice around in the bag until all of the rice is colored. This is a task that the child can do if you trust them not to spill it

Dollar Store Rainbow Rice cooking on a stove.

Heat your oven to 220 degrees.

Place the rice on the cookie sheet with the parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes.

You want the rice to be completely dry.

Four bowls of Dollar Store Rainbow Rice on a wooden table.

Store in either bags or an airtight container if you have extra.

To play with the rice or add it to a sensory bin, I would let it “set” for a few days. If you don’t have time for that, I recommend plastic gloves. The dye may come off on kids’ hands.

As you are either making your rainbow rice or adding it to a sensory bin, don’t forget the many things you can do to enhance language and learning through sensory play.

Benefits of Sensory Play

  1. Cognitive development: Sensory activities stimulate critical thinking and problem-solving skills as children observe, compare, and contrast sensory materials and phenomena.
  2. Language development: Sensory experiences provide opportunities for children to describe what they are sensing, enhancing their vocabulary and language skills as they communicate their observations and feelings.
  3. Fine and gross motor skills: Many sensory activities involve manipulating materials, which can help develop fine motor skills (such as finger dexterity) and gross motor skills (like hand-eye coordination).
  4. Social and emotional development: Sensory play can be a shared experience, encouraging cooperation and communication among children, which promotes social development. It can also provide a calming or stimulating effect, helping children regulate their emotions.
  5. Scientific curiosity: Engaging with various materials and phenomena through sensory exploration can spark a natural curiosity about the world and foster an interest in science.
  6. Multisensory learning: Sensory activities cater to various learning styles and preferences. They engage multiple senses simultaneously, making learning more engaging and memorable.
  7. Sensory processing skills: These activities can help children develop and refine their sensory processing skills, aiding in sensory integration and improved self-regulation.
  8. Creativity and imagination: Sensory experiences often encourage open-ended, imaginative play and creative problem-solving as children experiment and invent with the materials provided.
  9. Basic scientific concepts: Sensory activities can introduce children to fundamental scientific concepts like cause and effect, observation, and experimentation in a hands-on and tangible way.
  10. Nature exploration: Many sensory activities involve natural materials, fostering a connection to the natural world and an appreciation for its beauty and complexity.
  11. Sensory exposure: Sensory play exposes children to various textures, temperatures, and sensations, helping them become more comfortable with diverse sensory experiences.
  12. Sensory therapy: For children with sensory processing disorders or other sensory challenges, sensory activities can be a therapeutic way to help them adapt to various sensory stimuli and regulate their responses.
  13. Family and Social Engagement: Sensory activities are often enjoyable for children and adults, making them an excellent opportunity for family bonding and shared learning experiences.

Make sure you check out all the sensory activities we have here on the website.

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