How to Make Sensory Rice

Sensory rice is a fun and engaging activity for children of all ages. It not only provides hours of entertainment but also helps with their sensory development. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create your sensory rice at home.

How to Make Sensory Rice

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps on how to make sensory rice that is safe, non-toxic, and enjoyable for your child. However, before we get started, let’s first understand what sensory rice is and its benefits. This will help you to create a more tailored and effective experience for your child.

Understanding Sensory Play and Sensory Rice

Sensory play is any type of activity that stimulates a child’s senses – sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. It can involve different textures, colors, sounds, and scents to encourage exploration and learning. Sensory play is essential for a child’s development as it helps them to learn about the world around them through their senses.

Sensory rice is a type of sensory play that involves using rice as the base material. It can be dyed with food coloring or scented with essential oils to create a multi-sensory experience for your child. The texture of the rice, along with its colors and scents, provides a stimulating and calming effect on the child’s senses.

This type of sensory play is particularly beneficial for children with sensory processing disorder or those who have difficulty regulating their emotions.

Tools and Materials You Will Need to Make Sensory Rice

1. Uncooked rice (white or brown)

2. Ziploc bags or containers with lids

3. Food coloring (optional)

4. Essential oils (optional)

5. Baking sheet or tray for drying

6. Measuring cups and spoons

Step-by-step Guidelines on How to Make Sensory Rice

Step 1: Measure and Prep the Rice

Measure Out the Amount of Rice

Measure out the amount of rice you need depending on how much sensory rice you want to make. We recommend starting with 4 cups of uncooked rice, as it will give you a good amount to work with without being overwhelming. You can always adjust the recipe according to your needs.

Once measured, pour the rice into a container or ziplock bag, which will be used for coloring or scenting the rice.

Step 2: Add Color (Optional)

If you want to add color to your sensory rice, this is the step where you can get creative. Add a few drops of food coloring into the container or ziplock bag with the rice. You can use one color or mix different colors to create a rainbow effect. Seal the container or ziplock bag and let your child shake it up until all the rice is evenly coated. If using more than one color, you can layer them in the bag to create a marbled effect.

Step 3: Add Scent (Optional)

Adding a scent to your sensory rice can make the experience even more enjoyable for your child, especially if they have a favorite smell. You can use essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, or lemon, but make sure to dilute them with carrier oil before adding them to the rice. The amount of scent you add depends on personal preference and how strong you want the smell to be.

This step is optional, so if you or your child have any sensitivities to scents, you can skip it.

Step 4: Dry the Rice

Spread out the colored and/or scented rice on a baking sheet or tray in a thin layer. Let it air dry for at least an hour or two, depending on how wet the rice is. You can also place it in a low-temperature oven or use a hairdryer on the cool setting to speed up the process. Make sure the rice is completely dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 5: Store and Play

Once your sensory rice is dry, you can transfer it to a container with a lid for storage. It will stay fresh for several weeks if kept in a cool, dry place. When it’s time to play, you can use different containers, cups, and spoons for scooping and pouring the rice.

Transfer It to a Container

You can also add small toys or objects for your child to find and dig out of the rice. The possibilities are endless, so encourage your child to explore and have fun with their sensory rice. Make sure to supervise them at all times and clean up any spills or messes afterward.

Following these simple steps, you can create your sensory rice in just a few minutes. It’s an inexpensive and easy-to-make activity that provides endless opportunities for learning and fun. So why not give it a try and see how your child responds to this multi-sensory experience?

Get creative with different colors, scents, and add-ins to keep the activity fresh and exciting for your child. And remember, sensory rice is not just for kids – adults can enjoy it too! Happy playing!

Additional Tips and Tricks to Make Sensory Rice

1. If you want your sensory rice to have a vibrant color, you can add food coloring or liquid watercolor to the mixture before cooking. This will give your rice an extra pop of color that is visually appealing.

2. If you want to make scented sensory rice, you can add essential oils or extracts to the mixture. Some great options include lavender, peppermint, and vanilla. This will give your sensory rice a pleasant scent that can enhance the overall sensory experience.

3. To make your sensory rice more interesting and engaging, you can add small toys or objects to the mixture before cooking. This will create a fun surprise for children as they explore the rice with their hands.

4. If you want to incorporate learning into your sensory rice activity, you can add letters, numbers, or shapes cut out of foam or paper to the mixture. This will encourage children to practice their fine motor skills and learn while they play.

You Can Add Letters

5. To prevent any mess, you can place a large plastic sheet under the sensory rice tray before letting children play with it. This will make clean-up easier and also give children a defined space to explore the sensory rice.

6. If you are worried about children putting sensory rice in their mouths, you can use edible ingredients such as rice cereal or oatmeal instead of uncooked rice. This will ensure that the activity is safe for young children.

7. To add a different texture to your sensory rice, you can mix in other materials such as dry beans, lentils, or pasta. This will create a more diverse sensory experience for children as they explore the different textures.

8. If you want to make your sensory rice last longer, you can store it in an airtight container after each use. This will prevent the rice from drying out and allow you to reuse it multiple times.

9. For a fun variation, you can freeze your sensory rice in ice cube trays and use it as a cold sensory activity. This is especially great for hot summer days and can provide a refreshing sensory experience.

Following these additional tips and tricks can make your sensory rice activity even more enjoyable and engaging for children. Experiment with different colors, scents, and textures to create a unique sensory experience every time. And remember to always supervise children during sensory play to ensure their safety. Have fun!

Things You Should Consider to Make Sensory Rice

1. The first thing you should consider when making sensory rice is the type of rice you want to use. There are a variety of different types of rice, such as jasmine, basmati, and wild rice. Each type has its unique texture and scent, which can add an extra sensory element to your sensory rice.

Different Types of Rice

2. Another important factor to consider is the color of your sensory rice. You can use food coloring or natural dyes, such as turmeric or beet juice, to create vibrant and visually appealing colors for your rice. This not only adds to the sensory experience but also makes for a more aesthetically pleasing activity.

3. Experiment with different scents by adding essential oils or herbs to your sensory rice mix. Lavender, peppermint, and lemon are popular choices for their calming or invigorating properties. Just be sure to use a small amount of oil to avoid overpowering the scent.

4. Texture is also a key aspect of making sensory rice. You can achieve different textures by adding materials like sand, glitter, or small objects such as beads or buttons to your rice mix. This adds an extra dimension to the sensory experience and encourages tactile exploration.

5. Consider adding some educational elements to your sensory rice, such as letters or numbers made from foam or paper. These can be hidden within the rice for a fun and engaging learning activity.

6. Don’t forget about the container you use for your sensory rice. A shallow tray or bin works well for containing the rice and allowing for easy exploration. You can also add various tools such as scoops, spoons, and cups for even more sensory play options.

7. Also, think about the age and developmental level of your child when making sensory rice. For younger children, ensure that all materials used are non-toxic and safe for mouthing. For older children, you can increase the complexity of the activity by adding challenges or specific tasks to complete while playing with the sensory rice.

Following these considerations can help you create a fun and engaging sensory experience for your child. Remember to always supervise children while they are playing with sensory rice and have fun exploring all the different possibilities!  So, be creative, try new things, and most importantly, enjoy the process of making sensory rice with your child. The possibilities are endless and the benefits for their development and well-being are immense. Happy sensory rice making!

The Benefits of Sensory Rice

1. Physical Benefits:

Improve Fine Motor Skills

Playing with sensory rice involves using the hands to touch, feel, and manipulate the grains. This helps to improve fine motor skills such as hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and finger strength. Children can also use tools such as scoops, spoons, and funnels to enhance their motor skills further.

Moreover, manipulating the rice grains can provide a soothing tactile experience for children with sensory processing issues. It can help them regulate their emotions and calm down when feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

2. Cognitive Benefits:

Sensory rice can also have cognitive benefits for children. As they explore and play with the rice, they are developing their problem-solving skills, creativity, and imagination. Children can use the rice to build structures, create patterns, or even act out different scenarios.

Additionally, playing with sensory rice can help improve a child’s attention span and focus. The tactile experience requires children to concentrate on what they are doing, which can help them develop their ability to concentrate on tasks.

3. Language and Communication Benefits:

Using sensory rice in play can also have language and communication benefits for children. As they play with the rice, children can describe what they are doing or feeling, expanding their vocabulary and developing their communication skills.

They can also use the rice to role-play and interact with others, improving their social skills. Additionally, sensory rice can be used as a tool for language development in children with speech and language delays or disorders.

4. Sensory Stimulation:

Stimulating the Senses of Touch

Sensory rice can provide a variety of textures and colors, stimulating the senses of touch, sight, and even smell. Children can explore different types of rice such as long-grain, short-grain, or wild rice, expanding their sensory experiences. Adding different colors and scents to the rice can also provide a multisensory experience that can be both fun and stimulating for children.

5. Cost-Effective and Versatile:

One of the best benefits of sensory rice is its cost-effectiveness and versatility. Rice is an inexpensive and readily available material, making it accessible for families or educators on a budget. Additionally, sensory rice can be easily customized based on a child’s preferences or needs.

It can be colored with food coloring, scented with essential oils, or even enriched with other materials such as glitter or small toys. This versatility allows for endless possibilities in play and learning.

These are just some of the many benefits of using sensory rice in play with children. Whether at home or in a classroom setting, incorporating sensory rice can provide a fun, engaging, and educational experience for children. So why not try it out and see the benefits for yourself? Have fun exploring, creating, and learning with sensory rice! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sensory Rice?

Sensory rice, also known as sensory play rice or dyed rice, is a colorful and textured material used in sensory play activities for children. It is made by dyeing plain white rice with food coloring and often includes added materials such as spices, essential oils, or glitter for added visual interest.

Sensory rice can be used for a variety of sensory play experiences, such as scooping, pouring, and sifting, and is a popular tool for early childhood educators and parents alike.

Why is Sensory Rice Beneficial?

Important Aspect of Child Development

Sensory play is an important aspect of child development as it allows children to explore their senses and engage in open-ended play. Sensory rice is a versatile material that can help children develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and creativity. It also provides a calming sensory experience for children who may be overwhelmed or overstimulated by certain textures or materials.

How Do I Make Sensory Rice?

Making sensory rice is easy and can be done with just a few simple ingredients. You will need plain white rice, food coloring or liquid watercolor, and any additional materials you would like to add for texture or scent. To make sensory rice, simply place the desired amount of rice into a large zip-top bag, add a few drops of food coloring or liquid watercolor, and seal the bag.

Shake the bag vigorously until the color is evenly distributed throughout the rice. You can then add in any additional materials and mix them with the colored rice. Once the rice is ready, spread it out on a flat surface to dry for a few hours before using.

Can Sensory Rice Be Stored?

Yes, sensory rice can be stored and reused for future play. It is best to store it in an airtight container or zip-top bag to prevent moisture from getting in and causing mold. If the rice starts to lose its color or become dry, simply add a few drops of food coloring or water to revitalize it.

Are There Any Safety Concerns with Sensory Rice?

While sensory rice is generally safe for children, there are some precautions to keep in mind. As with any small material, there is a choking hazard for young children, so it is important to supervise them during play and make sure they do not put the rice in their mouths.

Additionally, some children may have allergies or sensitivities to certain materials used in sensory rice, so it is important to check for any potential allergens before use. Overall, sensory rice can be a fun and engaging material for children, as long as proper precautions are taken.


Now you know how to make sensory rice and the benefits it can bring to children’s development! Whether you are a parent or an educator, sensory rice is a great tool to incorporate into your child’s playtime. Get creative and have fun with different colors, scents, and textures – the possibilities are endless!

Just remember to always supervise children during play and use caution when introducing new materials. So go ahead and give sensory rice a try – your child will thank you for it!  So, go ahead and make some colorful and textured sensory rice for your little ones to enjoy. Happy playing!  

Photo of author

Loren Jones

Hi, my name is Loren. I live with my husband and 4 lovely kiddos in the Eastern part of San-fransisco. I have a smart beautiful,curious 6 year old daughter, a handsome 11-year-old son, an intelligent and tech geek 15 years old son and a creative, artistic 12-year-old stepson. With each of my kids being five years apart, I feel that I’m now continually phasing in and out of each stage of parenting! I’ve learned a lot about the way children learn and behave, especially in a school setting with regards to curriculum. I enjoy sharing that insight through my writing and hope that it can help others.

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