Easy sensory play recipe

Although the instructions call for 1 cup of rice, I usually make 12 cups (2.3 kg) of each colour for a sensory bin.


Makes 1 cup (195 g) coloured rice

  • Large, resealable plastic bag, for mixing
  • 1 cup (195 g) uncooked white rice
  • ½ tsp white vinegar
  • Several drops of gel or regular food coloring
  • Several drops of food-grade essential oil (optional)
  • Baking sheet or large, shallow plastic container, for drying
  • Parchment paper and spoon
  • Airtight container or dry resealable plastic bag, for storage


  • In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine the rice, vinegar and food colouring
  • Add several drops of essential oil (if using)
  • Seal the bag carefully and then mix and massage the contents thoroughly to distribute the color evenly. If you want your rice color to be more vibrant, add more drops of food coloring and a very small amount of vinegar
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Spread out the colored rice on the parchment paper as thinly as you can, to help it dry faster. Allow it to dry overnight. As the rice dries, run a spoon carefully through it a few times to separate the grains and to ensure that the rice at the bottom is drying
  • Repeat for each color, drying each color separately on its own baking sheet
  • Ensure that the rice is completely dry before storing it or letting your child play with it. This will help prevent color transfer. Once dry, the color on the rice should not transfer, but as your child plays with it, there may be some transfer of color onto their hands or clothing, especially if you used a lot of food coloring. Wear a smock or play clothing to help protect clothes and wash hands with soap and water to remove the color
  • Store the colored rice in an airtight container