Easy sensory activity for toddlers and preschoolers
Sensory games and activities can be great for children of all ages. They help your little one focus on a singular task, calm down, and learn while doing it. The best part about sensory activities is that most of them are free or very cheap to do and this easy sensory activity for toddlers is no exception! I also love that this activity is not a “toy” although my little one does use toys with it.
I first heard about colored rice from a mother of Little Mister’s classmate. She had purchased a sensory table and I was curious what all she was going to put into it. Colored rice was one of the activities that she listed (along with sand, water, and just toys). She convinced me that it was easy and a great distraction for a preschool aged little one so we decided to jump in! *Don’t forget to pin this post for later!*
Sensory play activities and kids
We all know that play is a vital part of childhood, anything from running around to pretend play. I feel like the one type of play that could be used more frequently in daycare centers and in homes alike is sensory play activities. Sensory play is really any type of play that involves the child’s senses such as touch, smell, sight, and hearing, but it really goes deeper and encourages curiosity and discovery. Kids of all ages need to really dig into something to figure out how it works or how it can be manipulated.
In the home setting, kids need to still have the ability to be curious and explore things and that is where sensory play activities come in! Creating a safe activity or place to explore is so beneficial to kids and to you too (just think, quiet play!!!).
Colored rice sensory table activity DIY:
For this project, you will need:
A lot of rice depending on how much you want to do. We bought a 10 lb bag and didn’t even use it all.
Baking sheets, newspaper, plastic wrap, or anything else to dry it upon
Plastic zip bags
Tape (only if you are placing it into bags for on the go fun)
Plastic critters for hiding in the rice once it is colored and mixed, trucks, cups, bowls, spoons, or whatever else your kiddo wants to use!
So are you ready to make this easy sensory activity for toddlers?
- Color your rice
Pour 1/5th of the rice into a mixing bowl or a plastic zip bag. Add about 2 tablespoons vinegar to the rice. If you add too little, just add more as you notice the color is not spreading well. If you add too much, it will just require more drying time.
Add food color to your bowl or bag. The more color, the deeper the color will be. You get to decide on this! Little Mister loved squeezing the color into the rice. We did red, yellow, red/yellow, blue, blue/red, and green. It was so pretty! Mix the rice up with a spoon or ,if in a bag, just shift it around. Do this until the color is evenly spread.
2. Dry out the rice
Lay out your sheets or plastic wrap. Spread your rice evenly out on the surface. Try to not have it be a thick layer as it will take a much longer time to dry out.
Now leave it alone for about 1 hour. Make sure it is dry to touch before you proceed with the next step.
3. Close it up (for traveling fun)
Mix the different colored rice, if desired, into bags or a large plastic bin like a sensory table. Add your critters to the bag or bin. Tape up your bag and then double bag it and tape it again. This will deter any pickers and pokers.
4. Let your toddler have fun!
Give them a toy or two to use with the rice and let them explore! Some kids may just want to feel it in their hands, others may want to use their motor skills and do a lot of pouring, and some may be very creative with their toy animals in the rice. It is totally up to them and the absolute beauty of it.
Playing with rice is a great, easy sensory play activity for toddlers and preschoolers alike and provides children with plenty of imaginative play. Little mister enjoys pouring the rice from one container to the next, leveling off the rice in the measuring cup, and “feeding” the rice to his alligator. The possibilities are pretty limitless!
Now seriously, this sensory activity for toddlers will keep him distracted, content, and quiet for 10 minutes or more (maybe even long enough for you to do a mama activity)! What’s more is that the activity takes just a few minutes to put together initially, but then there is virtually no setting up to be done (but maybe just a bit of clean up depending on how well your little one does with keeping it in the container). Older babies may also enjoy this, but they just need lots of supervision.
I would love to know if you try this and what your toddler or preschooler liked to do with it.