Sensory opportunities occur naturally and in abundance in the summer - sand
play, berry picking, swimming, flower spotting and many more. Winter can also
offer such opportunities but as the temperature drops and parents become
frazzled negotiating appropriate clothing with their young children, indoor
sensory activities become more appealing.

Rainbow rice is a captivating sensory activity- it is unstructured, bright and an
engaging activity that we should all have in our parenting toolboxes. Apart from
the practical (and worth noting) reasons like it lasts for ages, is cheap and easy
to make – it also has endless learning potential and can last for months and

Rainbow rice provides opportunities for:
Language development and vocabulary building – opportunities to
experience the true meaning of verbs such as mixing, shaking,
measuring, measuring, sliding, pouring etc.
Development of fine motor skills, coordination and pre-writing skills
through mixing, pouring, scooping, grasping and squashing.
Using mathematic skills – sequencing, ordering, measuring, comparing
size or volume
Using science skills – cause and effect, gravity
Creativity and imagination – open ended learning opportunities
Self-expression – no right or wrong answers, children have complete
control of how they play.

Tried and tested tips
✓ If you have younger children at home, put some rainbow rice in a clean
and small empty bottle and let them listen, shake and explore their new
✓ Depending on how the rainbow rice is explored with, a lot of mess can be
created. Encourage the children to help clean the mess! Tidying the rice
should be used as another opportunity to develop their fine motor skills
as they try and find the runaway pieces of rice.


How to make Rainbow Rice:

Rainbow rice is easy to make! As a matter of fact, my five year old loves making it all by herself. Able to manage all the ingredients on her own, making rainbow rice is a great way to allow her to play in the kitchen. She needs a bit of help ensure the bags are properly sealed before giving them a mighty shake, but bag clips would be a way to prevent any huge rainbow rice showers! 


  • 180 g white rice 
  • 1 teaspoon White Vinegar
  • tip of a teaspoon Wilton's Food Coloring Paste (or some drops of liquid food coloring) 


  1. Put rice into a small plastic bag. 
  2. Add vinegar
  3. Add Food Color
  4. Seal bag 
  5. SHAKE 
  6. Allow rice to dry before playing 

Liquid Food Coloring from Migros works well, but the colors may not be as vibrant.
Wilton's Food Coloring Gel is available online @ www.creasweet.ch 

It's worth noting that one box of Wilton's Food Coloring Gel will see you through months of creating! 

Andrew Grover