How to Make Color Rice for Sensory Play

My kids just love making and playing with their color rice! I have seen sensory tubs popping up here and there and thought it a good idea for the boys. One day one appeared in my news feed. It was the most beautiful blue and I couldn’t help but wonder if I could get that color.

It turns out that making color rice is easy!!

quick and easy color rice

Ingredients for color rice:

  • 1 tablespoon Vinegar
  • 1 cup Rice
  • a few drops food coloring

color rice ingredients


Rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of vinegar per cup of rice and however much food coloring you need for the shade you desire. I made 4 cups of color rice.

rice dying in a bag

I made them in zip lock bags, poured the vinegar and coloring in, added the cup of rice and shook (zipped closed) and swooshed to get the colored vinegar everywhere. This step is also great for the kids to help with. They love to shake that bag!

Once the rice is mixed well with the coloring spread it out onto the wax paper to dry. It took about an hour in my kitchen. Other ways to get it to dry quicker is to put in the oven on the lowest setting and check it often or to take it outside into the direct sun.

Also in batches I have made with various kinds of rice some absorbed the vinegar so well I didn’t have to dry it at all. So this greatly depends on your rice that you have.

color rice drying on baking sheets with wax paper

UpdateHow to Neutralize the Vinegar Smell when Coloring Rice or Pasta.

I just love the colors of the rice!

color rice tubs

I then let the boys at the color rice!

In the corner on the foam mat where there would be minimum messing! We started out with one color each, then switched to another. They loved exploring and my very sensory 2 year old ran the grains through his hands many times inspecting them.

kids love color rice play scooping

I brought out the cups, funnel and other containers. The rice then got mixed into rainbow rice for measuring and pouring. I let them do the mixing themselves and both boys were very interested in the mixing of the colors.

TOP MESS TIP! Do this activity in a corner which means there is only half the area to mess in! Put the bin in the corner that way they are also facing to corner and minimum spilling will happen. There was not that much to sweep up when the activity was done. Another thing that could work if you have carpets is to put down a large bed sheet to contain the grains. This will make your vacum happy!

sensory play with color rice

Next time we will make even MORE color rice then get the little cars and farm animals out!

Did you know? That your color rice will keep for YEARS if you store it in an airtight container!


how to make color rice for sensory play

Pin this post for later!

How to make color rice on the cheap - your toddler will love this sensory experience!

Check out the things we have done with Rainbow Color Rice so far!

Need more awesome Ideas for your RICE PLAY?

rice play ebook - 25 play and learn ideas!

My color rice ebook is an amazing resource with over 25 activity and craft ideas for toddlers featuring great photos, easy to follow instructions, a NO-FAIL color rice recipe PLUS each idea can easily be done at home! Click here to see more and download!


    • says

      i do this with spaghetti rice pasta! You cook it as normal then use a bit of colored vinegar (same as dry) except you don’t leave it to dry instead you rinse off the extra coloring (no staining hands!) the kids usually play with the items just as is.Remember this does not store well. you might get 2 days out of it.

  1. Merle charles says

    Looks awesome I was just about to colour some rice.but wasn’t quite sure if I had to boil the rice first. So I thought why not Google. And there it was.thanks a bundle.

  2. Ali says

    Found this activity and made colored rice for my 4-year-old campers! Just wondering what color combination you used for such a vibrant pink. Thanks!

      • Lavanya says

        Help! I need the exact pink that you have? Can u Pls share what brand of food color u used and where can I get it? This is a project for my temple that I need it for! Thank You! Lavanya

  3. Dez says

    Does the color come off the rice at all, did it stain their hands at all when they played with it? I would love to try this it looks great and like a lot of fun :)

  4. says

    My niece loved rice for sensory play when she was younger, particularly pouring it from one item to another. We never thought of coloring it, though! Way too cool!

  5. says

    The colored rice looks amazing, I love the texture and the kids must, too! I’ve been following you on Hellocotton, which is closing tomorrow. So now I’m following you with Bloglovin, G+ and FB, hope you could return the favor :)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *