How to dry beans for sensory play is super EASY but looks overwhelming. I’ll show you how to make colored beans with these 4 easy steps. Once you see how easy it is, you will be making it for all the things like sensory bottles, sensory tables, and writing trays.
When you use beans for sensory play is less mess than rice and it’s much easier to clean up. Sensory bins don’t have to be a huge table or tub with tons of beans, it can be small for individual students to use. Make small individual sensory bins with pencil boxes or paper trays. These are perfect for small classrooms and with all the new COVID guidelines because you can make one for each student or skill and store in student cubbies or on a shelf. It’s also great for take-home bags or to use at home.
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How to Dye Beans (color with Acrylic Paint)
Just follow these steps and you will have bright colored beans in no time.
Step 1: Place beans in a thick baggie. If you are making small batches use sandwich size bags if making a big single color batch, use a gallon baggie. Any cheap white beans will do.
Step 2: Add acrylic paint and close the baggie. Just a few squirts will do.
Step 3: Shake, shake, and shake! This is the fun part that students can help with! If the color isn’t bright enough for you, just add a few more squirts of acrylic paint.
Step 4: Grab a tray and cover with wax paper or foil. Spread the rice on the tray and let it dry. Remember this paint will stain so over the tray!
***Let the beans air dry for 24-48 hours before you place in an airtight container so all the moisture is out of the beans.
That’s it! Now for the FUN part!
Making the Sensory Bin
Make mini sensory bins with pencil boxes or any small plastic tub! Place fun tools and add-ins like colored plastic shot glasses (Dollar Tree), mini erasers (Target), tweezers, and a measuring scoop (Dollar Tree). When students explore and play in the sensory bin, students will be picking up, pinching, scooping, and pouring using the tools and tiny treasures! The entire time they play they will be building their fine motor muscles and developing hand-eye coordination!
If you are making individual student supplies, grab these Editable Student Supply Labels from my TpT store here. You can see I like to color-code each student to help organize all the things. If you have a big class you may have four or five students that have blue supplies and that’s ok. It will still be easier to find the blue notebook with the letter “J” or “Jude” because there will only be 5 blue notebooks rather than 20 if every student had the same color.
If you want to fill a large sensory table, make a big batch of colored beans. Dump a bag or two of white beans in a gallon baggie, squirt some acrylic paint in, close the bag, and shake! Remember to cover your tray which you can see I forgot to do. Luckily I scrubbed the trays and the paint came off but I’ll never forget to cover the tray again.
Here is a fun sports-themed sensory bin I made with beans that I colored green! I added sports eggs (Dollar Tree during Easter), sport mini erasers (Target), mini trophies (Dollar Tree), and sport birthday cups (Dollar Tree). You could create mini sensory bins by just putting to sports eggs, mini trophy, a few erasers, and beans in a pencil box.
If you want more ideas for sensory play, check out these posts by clicking on the photo!
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