How to make your own colored rice for sensory play

Do you like sensory play bins? Then you should try to make your own colored rice!

It is so much fun and perfect for an afternoon full of hand-eye coordination fun for kids.

Let’s dive right in.

DIY colored rice recipe

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Colored Rice Recipe

Colored rice is one of the most common materials used for sensory bins. It is perfect for any type of fine motor skills activities for young toddlers and even still enjoyable for big kids.

My older son just loved playing with it as much as my youngest.

After helping prepare this super easy recipe the kids enjoyed the whole afternoon scooping and pouring the sensory rice into different cups, bottles, or even traktor wagons. They used whatever they could find.

All you need to make a colored rice craft is food coloring, vinegar, zip log bags, and rice.

Most likely you will probably already have all these ingredients in the house, which is another great benefit of this fun sensory project.

As sensory bins, you can use any type of plastic container, cooking trays, water tables, sandboxes, cooking pods, and more.

Colored rice trays can be made in every possible color and decorated for any celebration as well. Take a look at how I decorated mine for the 4th of July here. 

Be aware this activity can be messy.

Not so much the process of making colored rice but the colored rice sensory play afterward. Therefore I used a big old sheet and placed it under our sensory bin.

Instead of a sheet, cardstock paper or old newspapers will work as well. It helped me during the cleanup process after the kids were done playing.

Also, there is no need of throwing this fun sensory material in the trash right away. I filled it back in my zip log bag and was able to reuse it several times afterward again.

I would not recommend colored rice for sensory bins or trays for babies or really young toddlers since they most likely will try to eat it and might joke on it.

But it can also be used in empty plastic bottles as shakers for babies or in zip log bags for them to explore the texture in a safe environment.

But let’s take a look now at what we will need for our easy colored rice recipe.


materials for colored rice
This might be interesting for you too: 
- Fruit Sparkler 
- Strawberry Popsicle Recipe 
- Toddler Safe Playdough Recipe

In the full step-by-step tutorial, you will see how easy and fast it is to make your own colored rice.


Step 1: Fill Zip Log Bag

Fill the zip log bag with uncooked rice. We used 1 cup of rice for each color.

Step 2: Add Ingredients

Add 1 tsp of vinegar and a couple of drops of food coloring.

add food coloring to rice

Step 3: Shake it

Close the zip log bag and start shaking it till the food coloring and rice mixed evenly.

red rice
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Step 4: Let it try

Place the finished product on a tray and let it try. Then it’s ready for action!

Step 5: Set up a colored rice activity

Be creative and set up your own sensory play tray with the colored rice for your kids.

Step 6: Enjoy

Simply let your kids enjoy playing with your play tray.

sensory play tray with colored rice


Overall I have to say this DIY colored rice recipe was a total win in my house. The kids even enjoyed being mommies little helper and I already had all ingredients for it in my kitchen.

Creating colored rice is not messy at all and super fast and easy to prepare. Using the sensory play material on the other side can is a different story. Be prepared that the rice will not necessarily stay in the bin or tray.

The sensory rice is reusable and we got some good afternoons full of play fun out of it. I also like the fact that there are endless possibilities of sensory play themes out there. Most of the time I make different colors at the same time and let my kids choose their favorite color but what always works is making rainbow-colored rice!

Sensory play activities help my toddler to learn through play and touch. Therefore I love to combine this fun kids STEM activity with a learning unit. We pick a subject, talk and learn about it, read a book, and set up a matching sensory play table. It helps to lengthen my children’s attention span and they learn through play at the same time. Give it a try!

Other great sensory bin materials are water beats, colored rice or pasta or in the fall time corn. Here for example an recipe for rainbow spaghetti or Lil Tigers fun on the farm corn sensory play tray activity. Check it out!

I hope you enjoyed this easy DIY colored rice recipe for sensory play with your kids.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below and add a picture of your sensory play table and let me know how your kids liked it. I love to hear from you!

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Colored Rice Recipe

diy colored rice recipe

How to make your own colored rice for sensory play

Prep Time 5 hours 1 second
Total Time 5 hours 1 second


  • white rice
  • food coloring
  • vinegar
  • zip log bag


  • one tray


  1. Fill zip log bag with uncooked rice
  2. Add a couple of drops of food coloring and 1 tsp of vinegar
  3. Shake it
  4. Empty the bag on a tray and let it try
Skip to Instructions