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How to Make Rainbow Rice

by Andrea Martelle
March 8, 2024
rainbow rice featured

Learn how to make colorful rainbow rice for sensory play with kids! This easy DIY project uses liquid watercolors to create a vibrant and fun sensory play material.

Rainbow rice is a fun and versatile sensory play material that can provide hours of entertainment and exploration for kids. This colorful rice is not only visually appealing but also offers a tactile experience that stimulates the senses and encourages creative play.

Making rainbow rice at home is simple and inexpensive. And it lasts forever. We’re still playing with the same batch we made about 5 years ago!

Here’s how to make rainbow rice and a few of our favorite play set ups using it.

rainbow rice pinterest
Photo by Andrea Martelle

How to Make Rainbow Rice



  1. Dye the rice

    Place 1-1.5 cups of rice into a Ziploc bag.

    Add a few drops of food coloring or liquid watercolors into the bag. For more vibrant colors, add a splash of vinegar.

    rainbow rice materials

    Seal the bag tightly and shake it to evenly distribute the color.

    rainbow rice with paint

    Repeat for each color you want to make. You can reuse the bag or use a new one for each color.

    rainbow rice in bag

  2. Dry the rice

    Spread the colored rice out onto a cookie sheet or tray lined with parchment paper.
    Allow the rice to dry completely, which may take a few hours.

    rainbow rice on cookie sheets

  3. Mix your colors

    Once the rice is dry, you can mix the colored rice together in a large container or bin to create a rainbow effect.

    rainbow rice in tray

That’s all there is to it! And like we said, one batch of rainbow rice will last you for years! Or you can make different colors for different seasons and holidays.

rainbow rice with scoops
Photo by Andrea Martelle

Ways to Play with Rainbow Rice

Looking for some inspiration for sensory set ups? Here are some of our favorite ways to play with rainbow rice.

  • Exploring Bin: Fill a container with rice and add spoons and cups for scooping and pouring.
  • Color Sorting: Use bowls to sort rice by color using tweezers or fingers.
  • Treasure Hunt: Hide objects in the rice for kids to find by digging and searching.

More Sensory Play Ideas for Kids

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