If you’ve been following along you’ll know how much we love to play with dyed sensory rice around here! This post includes affiliate links. Here are three super easy methods to dye your sensory rice and the pros and cons of each.
I introduced dyed sensory rice to Q when he was 18 months old
It was an instant hit. I mean have you ever run your hands through rice before? It’s amazing! Since introducing to Q i’ve experimented with various methods and as our sensory play has evolved as Q has grown, so has the way we dye rice.
There is no right or wrong way to achieve dyed sensory rice
The Taste Safe Method
When Q was 18 months we had moved past the mouthing stage. I still wanted our play to be taste safe. I started dyeing our sensory rice with:
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 5-10 drop food coloring
I’ve used both gel and liquid food coloring. I find gel to achieve the most vibrant colors.
I would add about 1.5 cups of rice to a ziplock bag, add in the vinegar and then the food coloring and shake really well. Then I’d spread on a baking sheet and allow to dry – usually overnight.
Pros and Cons of Dyed Sensory Rice with Vinegar and Food Coloring
The biggest and most important pro is that is it taste safe. This I found to be the safest method to achieve bright rice colors for us to play with.
The cons were the smell of white vinegar and it often took a long time to dry compared to the other methods.
My recommendation here is to dry overnight in a well ventilated area to avoid strong vinegar smell.
The Paint Method
Come 28 months old, a full year beyond mouthing anything I started to experiment with dyeing rice. I had hand sanitizer left over from a photo shoot I had produced – i mean a LOT of hand sanitizer, and I decided to start there.
I love working with acrylic paint in my art. It dries fast and the colors are crazy bright. I decided to combine the two to experiment how the hand sanitizer would help spread the paint and prevent the rice from sticking together. It worked GREAT. It quickly became our favorite method for dyeing rice.
This is great Dyed Sensory Rice for your older toddler
I would add a few squeezes of acrylic paint to a ziplock bag with 1.5 cups of white rice in it. Then I would add 4-5 pumps of hand sanitizer. Video here! Shake it up really well and spread on baking sheet to dry. It dries in about 10 minutes and is ready to be played with.
Pros and Cons of Dyed Sensory Rice with Paint and Sanitizer
Pros are the quick dry time and the beautiful colors.
Cons would be you must use a high quality acrylic paint. I recommend this brand linked here. A high quality paint helps avoid the rice ” breaking” into small pieces so you can keep reusing the rice. The obvious con is that this is not a taste safe method.
The Combo Method of Dyed Sensory Rice
I feel this method is a little combination of the two. My friend over at Casa Kinsey tried this. This is the beauty of dyeing rice. There is no “right” and no “wrong” way, rather experiment and have fun with it. Basically what you’re looking for is a way to add color (dye or paint) and a way to spread the color and prevent sticking (vinegar or sanitizer). So this method is sanitizer and food coloring.
This is another great dyed sensory rice option for older toddlers
I added 5-10 drops food coloring to a ziplock bag that contained 1.5 cups of white rice. Then I added 4 pumps of hand sanitizer and shook well. Instead of a ziplock bag you can mix in a bowl as well! Once shaken I spread on a baking sheet and allowed to dry for 15 minutes and it was ready to be played with.
Pros and Cons of Dyed Sensory Rice The Combo Method
The pro is the very bright colors without having to use paint.
The cons is the obvious that this is not taste safe.
Moving forward I’ll be combining methods 2 and 3 in sensory play with Q. All depending on what colors I have on hand in paint and food coloring.
Experiment and have fun! Drop a comment if you give it a try and what your favorite method is. I am happy to not have the vinegar smell anymore! Wondering what we do with our rice when we’re done playing with it? Check out here how to redye it!