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How to Make Colored Rice for Your Sensory Play Bin


How to make colored rice for your sensory binWhen we were getting ready for our Bulgaria Open House in November, we decided we were going to have a sensory play bin. A sensory bin allows children to explore using their five senses in a controlled environment. This can be helpful for adoptive children, really any children, because it helps stimulate their brain, which helps with learning.

I volunteered to make colored rice and hot glue numbers and letters for the sensory bin. This blog is about how to color rice for your sensory bin. I needed to make a lot of rice for the open house, so I made one box of rice per color. Below I share what you will need to make the colored rice and how to make colored rice.

What you need:

  • Rice
  • Vinegar
  • Food Color
  • Gallon size Ziplock bags 


  1. Put 4 cups of rice in a ziplock bag. You can put more in a gallon bag, but I found this was the largest amount of rice I could easily put in a gallon bag without the bag opening and spilling rice everywhere.
  2. Put 4 tablespoons of vinegar in the bag with rice. Use 1 tablespoon per cup.
  3. Add food coloring. If you want your rice to be pastel do not put in a ton of food color, if you want it dark/bright then put in more food coloring. You can add essential oil. I used lavender, it wasn’t my favorite, but it was better than the overwhelming smell of vinegar. Zip the bag and work the color around until it coats all the rice evenly. Make sure to get most of the air out of the bag otherwise you’ll probably be picking up rice off the floor.
  4. Lay out parchment paper (or wax paper or aluminum foil) and take the rice out of the bag and lay the rice out on the parchment paper to dry. The less rice that is on top of each other the less time it will take to dry.


And there you have it, once it dries you can use it! For my first time making the colored rice, it was not bad at all, but I will say that I dropped rice all over the floor about three times! It was a fun experience and the kids loved the colored rice at the sensory table during MLJ’s Bulgarian Open House!