Do you try to expose your kids to different textures when playing? Are your kids tired of the usual sand and playdough sensory play materials? Then try this Rainbow Rice Sensory Play activity. Making your own Rainbow Rice is an activity in itself that kids as young as 2-4 years old can help with. And after they make their own Rainbow Rice, toddlers and preschoolers then use it for sensory play. But we don’t end there. We continue by pointing out the benefits of this play based learning activity, so keep reading on.
Rainbow Rice Sensory Play
What you need to make Rainbow Rice:
- Rice (we used 1 kilo of the cheapest rice we could find)
- 10 teaspoons of white vinegar
- Food colouring (5 different colors)
- 5 ziplock bags
- Baking trays
How to make Rainbow Rice:
- Divide 1 kilo of rice into 5 equal parts and put each portion into a ziplock bag.
- Pour 2 teaspoons of vinegar into each bag. And add drops of food coloring. The number of drops depends on how intense you want the color. Experiment with 3-5 drops first.
- Seal the ziplock bag and let the kids shake, shake, shake the bag. This is actually fun for them. Not only do they contribute to making the rainbow rice, but they also see the color of the rice spreading and changing. Add more drops of food coloring as needed.
- When you are happy with the intensity of the colors, spread the rice onto a baking tray. And leave the tray out under the sun to dry.
When the Rainbow Rice is dry, it’s time for the kids to have fun! Give each child a bin or tub to hold the rice. Provide them with toys and kitchen items that you may already have at home, such as plastic funnels, sand toys, cooking toys, dump trucks, measuring cups, muffin tins and anything else you find that might be suitable for this rainbow rice sensory play activity.
The kids initially dove in and played with each single color. It didn’t take too long for all those colors to get mixed up. They had loads of fun pouring, scooping, catching, shaking and spreading the rainbow rice.
What are they actually learning in this Rainbow Rice Sensory Play activity?
- Sensory play engages all senses. They learn best and are able to retain more information when all senses are engaged.
- During sensory play, the brain makes connections as they learn pre-math skills such as comparing size or volume (which cup can hold more rainbow rice). They also build on science skills such as gravity (the rice goes down the funnel when I pour it) and cause and effect (what happens when I squish rainbow rice vs. squishing playdough?).
- Kids exercise their creativity and imagination as sensory play provides open-ended learning opportunities. This prompts kids to think creatively to solve problems or to engage in make believe scenarios while they are at play.
- Sensory play activities help kids to use descriptive and expressive language, as they experience the true meaning of the word: grainy, loose.
- Sensory play activities strengthens fine motor skills and develops pre-writing skills as they pour, spoon, mix, scoop, measure, grasp and squish.
- Sensory play activities allow kids to be in complete control of their actions and experiences. This in turn inspires them to learn and experiment. It also boosts their confidence in decision making.
This Rainbow Rice Sensory Play activity did create a lot of mess, but I encouraged them to help clean up, which they did to the capacity that they can. Cleaning up was great for their fine motor skills, as they picked up each piece of rice. It was also good for hand-eye coordination too, as my son swept the rice off the floor with a dustpan and brush.
If you have babies or young toddlers, you can also put the rainbow rice into an empty milk bottle. The baby can then shake, shake, shake the bottle like a maracas.
Are you ready to make Rainbow Rice with your kids? It’s a great sensory play activity with lots of benefits for toddlers and preschoolers. But more importantly, it loads of fun to make and play with.
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