How to Colour Rice

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There is a lot to be said for sensory play.

Not only is sensory play, HEAPS of fun, it’s inviting, engaging and provides your child with so many learning opportunities!

Sensory play involves engaging your child’s senses; touch, sound, taste, smell and sight.

It involves your child actively participating in an activity that stimulates a child’s senses which is how they learn about their environment and so much more!

One of our favourite sensory mediums is rice. It’s inexpensive, may be reused over and over again, biodegradable (once it has had its day) and can be used in a limitless number of activities.

Add it to small world play, make musical instrument, discovery bags, calm down bottles, hide and seek bags, use it for pouring, scooping, stirring and so much more!

How can we make a product so versatile and amazing even better?

Colour it!

Colouring rice is so easy and can really take the play experience to a whole new level!

To colour rice, all you need is the exactly the same technique as used to colour dry pasta.

Basically you need the colouring and a carrier to spread the colouring through the rice. I have used both vinegar and hand sanitiser as carrying agents.

Personally I do prefer to use hand sanitiser as I find the colour payoff is much more intense and the rice dries much quicker than when I have used vinegar. This being said, using vinegar does make the end product more taste safe.

To colour rice using the hand sanitiser method, you need to gather:

  • Rice
  • Hand Sanitiser
  • Food colouring
  • Large bowl / ziplock bag
  • Spoon
  • Baking Tray

Then all you need to do is:

  • Pop your rice into your bowl or zip lock bag (I use a bowl in our attempt to reduce our families contribution to the use of plastic)
  • Add a couple of drops of your favourite food colouring and a squirt of hand sanitiser
  • Give it a mix or shake until the colour is evenly dispersed and you are happy with the intensity of the colour
  • Lay it out to dry on your tray

It should be dry within an hour. Our last tray was dry within thirty minutes!

Once dry, your rice may be stored just as you would store your rice in your pantry. I use old passata jars. We always have lots of them around!

Would you like to watch us colour rice? We went live on Facebook – Click here to see!

Have an amazing time playing with your own home coloured rice. It really is such an amazing sensory medium!

Dani D x

Disclosure: This Blog does contain affiliate links which I may earn a small commission from if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you.

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Add another dimension to your Small World Play with these beautiful Small World Play Tray Liners- not to mention the other activities too!


  1. Whan an awesome idea! I need to pass it to my husband he loves to do all those DIY things with our son

    • Thank you! Good old dad! I hope both him and your son love playing with coloured rice. I would love to hear how they go!

  2. As a kid, I used to color rice and then make posters and other creative works out of it. This is a great idea indeed

  3. Great ideas! My three year old daughter would absolutely love to play with some of these.

  4. Looks great to decorate in the kitchen. Seems very easy to copy. THanks for sharing this art to us

  5. What an interesting art. I love how bright these designs are. So pretty.

  6. The rice looks so vibrant I never knew You could add hand sanitizer.I always use to add colour and a teaspoon of water and then dry is a pre warmed oven.

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