Happy back to school season! I am already in my fourth week of school, but I know that many of you just started this week. If you are feeling inspired to try out a sensory table or if you are looking for a fun new filler, then this post is for you! I’m happy to partner with Oriental Trading and share my Easy to Make Rainbow Rice for the Sensory Bin.

How to make Rainbow Rice for your classroom

I have used a sensory table in my classroom for the last few years and love it! Plus, my students love the hands-on and sensory approach to learning. If you are interested in ideas for setting up a sensory table station in your classroom, or how to keep the station going, then check out this post

Over the last few years, I have used colored macaroni, pinto beans, rock salt, Easter grass and water as fillers for the sensory bin. I have been wanting to try to make rainbow rice, but was a little intimidated. Food coloring and I don’t get along real well. But I ‘heard’ that you could use liquid watercolor to dye pasta or rice and it doesn’t require alcohol or any other additive. That sounded easy enough for me and I had just received the new catalog from Oriental Trading’s new educational website, Learn365, and saw that they had liquid water colors. Boom Shaka Laka Boom! 🙂


Plain White Rice (I purchased a 50lb bag from Costco)

Liquid Watercolors from Learn365 – Oriental Trading

X-Large plastic zipper bags (I purchased these from the Dollar Tree)

First, I split the rice into 8 different bags. I didn’t measure, but instead just eyeballed it. Next, I  started adding each watercolor into each individual bag.

Zip the bag closed and shake or manually manipulate, to spread the watercolor thoroughly. I used about 1/2 to 3/4 of each color. You can add as little or much as you want, depending on the color you are going for.

It was so easy to make this rainbow rice and it dries so quickly! The only thing that I wasn’t expecting, was if you leave the watercolor and rice to dry, it hardens up. It is not a problem, since you can just shake the bag and it breaks up the rice.

Then I just emptied each bag into my sensory table. I chose to put it in colored rows, but only for looks and pictures. The following day, it was all mixed up, but it’s lovely and my students love it!!

I can promise you that this rainbow rice is easy to make, dries fast and makes a super fun and colorful sensory bin filler!

Thanks for stopping by and reading today! Please tag me on social media, if you follow this recipe, as I would love to see how it works for you!

Looking for more classroom ideas? How about DIY Playdough? Or The Playdough Station in the Kindergarten Classroom.

6 Responses

    1. Hi Kathy and thanks for stopping by and reading my blog! No, I haven’t had any issues. But I did use liquid watercolor, which dried extremely quickly and proved to have no residue. I have never died sensory table materials with food coloring though.

    1. I’ve never tried it, but it’s worth a shot!! You could always add just a little bit of rubbing alcohol to ‘seal’ in the paint. But keep me posted!

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