How to Make Rainbow Rice Sensory Bins

Monday, March 11, 2024
Sensory bins are one of the best things about childhood. They're a great way to promote creative play and independent discovery! There are some amazing ideas for sensory tables/bins all over Pinterest, and when The Jersey Momma's Boy was about 2 or 3, I would change up the sensory bins every few weeks for him. He's too old for them now, but he enjoyed playing with the rainbow rice for years. Because, well, let's face it, it's cool. Rainbow rice is perfect for St. Patrick's Day or any old time of year. And don't worry, it's not as hard to make as you think!

I wish I had one of these when I was a kid. Seriously, don't you just want to stick your hands in there? It's so pretty, too!

What You'll Need:

-Uncooked, dry white rice (you can buy as much or as little as you like)
-Rubbing Alcohol
-Food Coloring (I used the plain old kind you find in the baking aisle)
-Ziploc bags
-A bin to put your rice in (I used a clear rubbermaid container)

How To Make It

Step 1. Divide the rice into separate ziploc bags (six of them, to be exact, one for each color.  I  used about 3/4 cup of rice in each bag).

Step 2.   Mix 4-5 drops of food coloring in each bag (the number of food coloring drops depends on how bright you want the color), along with 1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol.  Seal up the bags and give them a good shake to mix the colors.  That's it!  And you can solicit the help of your little ones to actually make the rice, if you so desire.  I actually had my dad help.  Yes, Poppy (a.k.a. The Jersey Grandpa) loves doing that kind of stuff!  

Step 3.  I recommend dumping out the rice on trays or paper plates to let it dry, because it does have a bit of an "alcoholish" smell when you're finished.  This smell fades over time, so no worries.

Step 4.  When your rice is all dry and ready, dump it into your container. As you can see, I lined mine up in perfect color formation, because it's that much more enticing to mix up!  I added some little plastic gold coins and leprechaun heads, oh, and scoopers, of course!

The Jersey Momma's boy has always liked to do things in his pajamas (have you noticed?).

Check out my friend Laura's rainbow. rice bin! I love the colors her daughter used. 

phot cred: L Hicinbothem


When we were tired of the rainbow rice box, I scooped up all of the rice and stored it in large ziploc bags. I pull it out every now and then when we're bored, and even used it for an Art themed birthday party that we had (you can read all about that here).

The rice has kept so well over the years (yes, I think we've had it about 2 years now). So the few minutes it takes to make this stuff is totally worth it.  Enjoy!

If you liked this craft, you might enjoy some of our other rainbow posts. Check out my Paper Plate Rainbows or Rainbow Cupcakes. And if you're looking for some rainbow-themed books to read, check out my Amazon affiliate picks below:


  1. So cute! This is wonderful and easy!

  2. I want to make a bin like this for my daughter, I know she will love it.

  3. Ooh! This looks like SO much fun! My son would love it, but I suspect I would be playing in it too! Us Jersey girls are kids at heart, right? :)

    1. So true, Jennifer!!!! Thanks for swinging by! I hope you whip up a batch.


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