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How to Color Rice for Sensory Bins

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I just recently shared our fun Zoo sensory bin, where I used different colored rice to represent different habitats for the animals. It was a lot of fun, and my boys love playing with rice in general. After they enjoyed the animals and habitats they had a lot of fun mixing and scooping the rice. So, I wanted to share how to color rice for sensory bins- this is an easy foolproof way you can have any color rice you need, for any sensory bin theme. You’ll want to plan ahead because this rice does need to dry for a bit before it is ready to use.

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How to Color Rice

colored rice

To give you an idea of the amount, I make my rice in 2 cup increments, and here I did 2 cups of each color to fill this bin. You’d probably need to make at least 2 batches of rice to fill a good sized bin.

Here’s what you’ll need-

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 8-10 drops of food coloring in your desired color- use more or less food coloring for a lighter or darker color on your rice.

I used gel food coloring for the brown colored rice pictured here, and regular food coloring for the blue, so they both do work just fine.

colored rice supplies

To make it, find yourself a pretty big plastic container with a lid, and add your 2 cups of rice to the container.

mixing vinegar for colored rice

Add the vinegar to your rice, and then add your food coloring.

adding food coloring to rice

Next, you’ll put the lid on your container and shake it vigorously.

green colored rice in a bowl
rice drying on a paper towel

Now you’ll want to let your rice dry. I laid mine out on a long stretch of paper towel and spread the rice out mostly evenly across it. I left for carpool line, and came back an hour or two after I had lain the rice out to dry, and it was ready!

brown rice

Repeat the process for any additional colors of rice you want to have.

blue food coloring in rice

I can’t wait to try this with some really bright and bold gel colors- maybe we’ll try some rainbow rice! The possibilities are endless, and you can get bulk rice at Walmart for about $.50 a pound.

Just load the rice up in your sensory bin, and you are ready to go.

What fun ideas can you think of using fun colored rice? Be sure to check out the Zoo sensory bin we did using these rice colors!

Plus, check out these other great sensory bin fillers from Pre-K Pages!

Check out all of our fun activity ideas for kids, here.

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