Have you ever wondered what do with rice that was used in sensory play once your carefully constructed rainbow of colors has all been mixed together? We try not to throw away materials unnecessarily, so reinventing ways to create sensory bin materials is a great way to get more uses out. This is how we re-dyed our used sensory rice to allow us to use it in a new themed sensory bin.

– Life Over C's re-dyeing rice for sensory play

Recommended Grade Level:

Materials for the Dyed Rice for Sensory Activities

  • 10 pumps of Purell hand sanitizer
    1 small scoop of gel food dye
    Gallon-size zip top bag
    2 cups of rice

Check out the results!

The pastel rainbow rice was leftover from an after Easter eggs dyeing session (which I may have forgotten to blog about *cough* *cough*). Anyway, the gist of it was that we used the left over egg dyeing water, to create some beautiful pastel rainbow rice.

– Life Over C's rice for sensory activities

After the kids played with it, the rice became a beautiful mix of pastels. Which they played with several times.

However, there comes a point when they get bored with playing with the same old rice and it’s time to bring in a new sensory experience.

So tonight, I took the mixed up rainbow rice and created this:

– Life Over C's re-dyeing rice

I haven’t put it into a sensory bin yet, so you are seeing it freshly made.

To re-dye the rice, I simply repeated the normal method for dyeing rice, but chose some darker colors.

I actually chose some very dark colors, but I think that anything a shade or two darker than the original would work just fine.

How to Dye Rice for Sensory Bins

Materials for Re-Dyeing Rice:

10 pumps of Purell hand sanitizer
1 small scoop of gel food dye
Gallon-size zip top bag
2 cups of rice

– Life Over C's hand sanitizer re-dyeing rice

Throw it all in a bag, zip the top and mix until all the rice is coated with the dye.

Then set it on a tray to dry. Ours took about 15 minutes to dry.

It’s ready for use in whatever sensory activity you dream up! This is a great way to save money on materials for sensory activities. While rice is relatively inexpensive, I love to get the most out of everything that we use.

Ways to Use Rice in Sensory Bins

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– Life Over C's re-dyeing rice for sensory play
author avatar
Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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