If you take care of toddlers in any capacity, you’ll soon realize that keeping them occupied is a major challenge! They get bored quickly, and when that happens they decide your constant attention is absolutely necessary.
I love my Little Man, but I start getting a little bit crazy if I can’t have a moment to myself every once in awhile. Can I get an AMEN, Mamas? One of the ways I LOVE to combat the constant-attention-needed bug for my toddler is with sensory play. Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your child’s senses: touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing. These activities facilitate exploration, and allow children to create, investigate, and explore while having fun! This Article by PBS explains it in a bit more detail, and outlines why sensory play is so important for early childhood development.
With all of that being said, I’m always looking for new sensory play ideas! You can use very simple things from melting ice cubes, to dirt vs. mud, to water, etc, but as we established above, kids get bored all too quickly!
I found this tutorial from Learn With Play at Home for some colored rice, and I thought it would be an excellent addition to my sensory play arsenal. 🙂 Plain white rice works just fine for the touch and smell senses, but is quite boring for sight. Adding some pops of color couldn’t hurt one bit!
What You’ll Need
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Food Coloring
- White Rice
- Measuring cup and spoons
- Ziplock bags
- A few random toys
- Container (preferably with lid) to hold the finished product
How to Make It
Measure out about 2 Cups of rice for each color you would like to have, and place the rice in separate ziplock bags. I wanted to have 6 different colors so I had 6 bags full of 2 Cups rice each.
Pour about 2 Tablespoons vinegar into each bag with the rice. (The vinegar just helps distribute the color evenly. I’ve heard of people using water fairly successfully instead)
Add your food coloring. I used about 20 drops per bag. To make the rainbow:
- Red- 20 Red drops
- Orange- 18 Yellow drops, 2 Red drops
- Yellow- 20 Yellow drops
- Green- 20 Green drops
- Blue- 20 Blue drops
- Purple- 12 Blue drops, 8 Red drops
Now zip the bag up and shake it all around. This is a perfect job for those anxiously waiting kiddos. 🙂 Shake until all of the rice is covered in coloring.
Find a nice, sunny spot, preferably outdoors, and lay each bag flat. Open the zippered top to allow some air flow, and just wait.
It had rained the morning I made this project so it was pretty humid outside. I had to wait about 2 hours for my rice to dry completely.
When completely dry, pour the rice into your finished-product-container, and mix up all of the colors. (or don’t…you can let the kids do this…) I think it looks like Fruity Pebbles! Bright and Cheery!
Add a few random objects, and you’ve just made a complete sensory play station! I added an empty toilet paper roll, a cup, another cup with a hole in the bottom, and various sized measuring spoons.
He LOVED it! And thankfully, he didn’t try to eat it or throw it all over the floor. Success!
What About You?
Have you made a sensory play station for your kid(s)? What have you used? What do they like to play with/not play with?