How To Dye Rice For Sensory Play

What Do Children Learn From Dyed Rice?

Fine Motor Skills – as they use tools and their hands to manipulate the rice within the tray.

Gross Motor Skills – as they scoop the rice into containers and tip it out again.

Colour Recognition – as they explore the different colours within the tray.

Mark Making – As they notice their movements leave different marks within the rice revealing the tray below.

Mathematics – As they fill and empty different containers as an introduction to volume as well as language like full and empty.

Imagination and Creativity – As they use the rice and the resources within the tray to test their ideas and create a narrative behind their play.

Speech and Language – As you explore the tray together you can explore new and already known vocabulary together.


Use Before
6 Months +

10+ Drying

Air-tight Container

Mess Scale

3 years +

No Limit

Can Prep
Night Before

How To Dye Rice For Sensory Play

Just Grab

  • 2 cups or 350g of uncooked long-grain rice
  • few drops of food colouring or paint
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice if you are using food colouring
  • Zip-lock bag
  • Baking tray
  • Tin foil


  1. Pour the rice, colouring and lemon juice (if needed), into the ziplock bag and seal, removing as much air as possible.
  2. Shake the bag until you have coated the rice evenly in the colouring. Add more food colouring, if needed, until you are happy with the colour.
  3. Cover the baking tray with tin foil and pour the rice onto the baking tray, gently shaking to get one even layer.
  4. Leave overnight to dry.
  5. Run your hands through the rice to break it up. If it’s still wet, leave it for a while longer.

What Is The Best Way To Clean Up Dyed Rice?

Cleaning Up Your Child

Use your hand to brush any excess rice off your child, then wash their hands with warm soapy water.

Cleaning Up A Small Tray

Tip any leftover rice into an airtight container and wipe over the tray with an anti-bac wipe.

Cleaning A Large Tray

Scoop any leftover rice into an airtight container and go over the tray with an anti-bac wipe.

Cleaning The Surrounding Area

Sweep up any excess rice and pop it into the bin. You can wipe over the surrounding area with a wipe if you want to, but you shouldn’t need to.

Dyed Rice Sensory Play Ideas

Dyed Rice Activity

Dyed Rice Activity

Dyed Rice Activity

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