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How to dry rice for sensory play is super EASY but looks overwhelming. I’ll show you how to make rainbow rice or any color rice you wish 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.

Sensory play doesn’t have to be a big mess or a giant table full of rice, 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.

*This post contains affiliate links that I earn a tiny commission on when you use my link at no cost to you.

How to Dye Rice
Just follow these steps and you will have gorgeous rainbow or colored rice in no time. You guys it is so simple, I promise!

Step 1: Place rice 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 rice will do.

Step 2: Add liquid watercolor and close the baggie. Just a few drops 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 drops of liquid watercolor.

Step 4: Grab a tray and cover with wax paper or foil. Spread the rice on the tray and let it dry.

***Let the rice air dry for 24-48 hours before you place in an airtight container so all the moisture is out of the rice.

That’s it! Now for the FUN part!

Making the Sensory Bin

If you want to make mini sensory bins simply place some of the rice in a pencil box. Add fun tools and add-ins like silicone cupcake liners, shape buttons, candles (Walmart), mini pom poms (Hobby Lobby), 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!

Individual student supply boxe labels (editable)! Perfect to keep everyone organized. Labels included: suppy box, sensory box, journal, letetr box, and math box.

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.

You can also use small plastic tubs for mini sensory bins. This is a purple paper tray box from Target (in the dollar spot during back to school) and Lakeshore has them also but any plastic tub will work. I put purple, blue, and green rice with magnet letters and sight word cards to create a mini word work center. Students pick a sight word card, say the word, find the letters to build the word, and write it on the dry erase board. Simple and FUN word work. You could also do this activity with student names!

You can also put rice in sensory bottles! I have tons and tons of themed and seasonal sensory bottles that you can create for your classroom HERE.

Letter Sensory Bottles and a FREE letter hunt printable to make learning letters FUN for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten.

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