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How to Colour Rice for Sensory Play

How to colour rice for sensory play - a simple and quick step by step guide with photos

How to colour rice for sensory play? The information in this post provides a step by step guide outlining how we colour our rice for sensory play.

There are so many different ways to colour rice out there that require alcohol or vinegar to ‘set’ the colour but I have found that I have never really needed to this and skip this part completely.

It is so easy to make and you can use coloured rice for all kinds of sensory activities, art and crafts.

What you will need?

How to colour rice step by step instructions

1 cup dried rice. (I use jasmine rice because I love the smell!)

1 teaspoon food colouring (I have also used diluted paint before with the same outcome.)

Paper towels

Tray or plate (this for drying the rice)

A container with a screw on lid on.

Step 1:

add rice and food colouring
  • Add food colouring to the container and pour in one cup of rice.


shake the rice and coluring in a sealed container
  • Screw on the lid and shake, shake, shake until the rice is completely covered.
  • Add a little more food colouring if needed to achieve desired colour.

Step 3:

place wet rice out on a paper towel to air dry
  • Place the wet rice our onto a paper towel and plate.
  • Using a spoon spread the wet rice out evenly to dry out. If it is a sunny day, I place the wet rice out in the sun to air dry.
  • Give the container a wipe and a rinse, and proceed with your next colour!

Step 4:

Store dried rice in an air tight container
  • When the rice is dry, gently rub the rice between your fingers to break up any rice that may be stuck together.
  • Coloured rice will last for several years if stored correctly in an air-tight container. We have had our rainbow rice for nearly 5 years and it is still good to use.

Click here for more RICE activities & play ideas

2 thoughts on “How to Colour Rice for Sensory Play”

  1. I made 8 cups of rice for my 2 year old son. I used 4 colours and combined them to make rainbow rice and my son loved it. I hid 12 plastic bugs in the rice and let my son find them with mini tongs. Lost a bit if rice on the floor but it was that easy and cheap to make I don’t mind how much gets tossed in the bin each use.

  2. Just wondering how long it normally takes to dry, think I added too much food colouring, however have it spread out on a tray left above the radiator on tissue

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Picture of Hi and welcome to Learning 4 Kids!

Hi and welcome to Learning 4 Kids!

My name is Janice and I am an Early Childhood Teacher in Australia.

I have a strong passion and love for teaching and creating meaningful learning experiences for my students. What I love most is watching children discover in those amazing light bulb moments. I hope Learning4kids brings you some useful ideas.

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