It is finally starting to feel like spring where I live (I see you global warming!) and this looooong winter I finally experienced the challenge of keeping a little one busy indoors! One of the toddler friendly activities that I was somehow brave enough to conquer with my wild 18 month old was a DIY Rainbow Sensory Rice Bin. I can’t promise you it is a mess-free activity, spoiler alert: it’s definitely not, but I can promise that your toddler will have fun and hey, you might too!
The Importance of Sensory Activities for Toddlers
Sensory play has a ton of benefits for little ones! Not only does it keep them entertained (yay!) it helps them develop and build important skills. Improving motor and language skills are just a few of the benefits. It can also be therapeutic and relaxing for little ones. Similar to adults who still enjoy sensory activities like squeezing a stress ball or playing with play dough. It just feels good!
Something else to keep in mind is that sensory play is play that stimulates any of the five senses. The DIY Rainbow Rice Bin satisfies touch by feeling the rice and sight by seeing the colors. It can also be turned into a smell sensory activity by adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to the rice! You can read more about why sensory play is important here, but if nothing else, it is at least something to help you connect, be silly and have fun with your toddler.
How to Make a DIY Rainbow Sensory Rice Bin
This sensory play activity is so easy to make and in no time at all! You only need a few ingredients that you might even already have on hand and it stores super easily. Here’s what you need!
- white rice (here’s the rice I got off Amazon!)
- food coloring
- white vinegar
- paper towels
- ziploc bags
- Measure out 1 cup of rice into a sandwich size ziploc bag
- Add in 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar, seal bag and shake to distribute evenly.
- Add in a few drops of desired food coloring, seal bag and shake to distribute evenly.
- Line a pan or tray with a paper towel and spread out colored rice to dry. It will only take a few minutes.
- Repeat with any other colors you’d like!
- I keep it in a sealed plastic container or ziploc when not in use.
A Few Tips
Like I mentioned, this can get a little messy! The good news is, it’s nothing the vacuum or broom can’t handle in a few minutes. I’ve tried placing the rice bin inside a larger plastic container as well as putting it on top of a beach towel. Regardless, you are probably going to end up with some stray grains of rice on your floor, but hey, the fun stuff is never mess free!
You can buy fun toys for your toddler to use in the sensory bin but they will also be just as happy with some measuring cups and spoons. I have to admit the mini diggers were a big hit though! Finally, you don’t need to do rainbow colors! You could do your toddler’s favorite color or stick with shades of one color (different blues would be great for an ocean themed bin!) Most importantly, have fun!!
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