Monday, 30 July 2012

Homemade Toys: Rice Sensory Bin

Felix turned two on 11 July and as part of his birthday present I made him a rice flavoured sensory bin. A sensory bin is a whole lot of fun. This rice version is our first foray into sensory bins and I'm definitely planning more.
I started with a 10kg bag of rice. I divided it evenly between
5 snaplock bags.
Next I added a bunch of food colouring. I used most of a bottle
of cheap colouring as I wanted strong colours.

Add enough white vinegar to spread the food colouring
without making the rice too wet. I used about 1/3 cup.

Expel most of the air from the bag, seal and mix it all up.

Leave it sit for about an hour so the colour can soak in.
I forgot to photograph the next bit but once the colour is soaked
in you should spread the rice out on trays to dry.

Once it's dry you can empty it into your chosen tub.  I picked
this one up at The Warehouse. It's an under bed storage tub.

So pretty and enticing. I recommend putting a mat down.
Even with the most careful child, rice will spill and it's easy
to empty the rice back in off the mat and hoover the rest up.

I organised some accessories for scooping and pouring.

Felix was quite tentative to begin. He didn't want to mix the colours.

He warmed up quickly and started to really enjoy it.

Dexter got in on the action. He was fascinated.

Lots and lots of pouring.

Felix really started to enjoy the texture of the rice.

He decided Dexter had the right idea and wanted to feel the
rice on his toes too.

He wasn't sure about it getting stuck between his toes.

But he loved sticking his feet in anyway.

Scooping the rice up with his feet.

He had a friend over later that day to join in the fun.

More friends and Grandparents joined in the fun on the weekend.

The Rice Sensory Bin was a huge hit with everyone. Felix played with it non-stop for over three hours on the first day which is phenomenal for a just turned two year old. Dexter at 6 months loved it, I love it and his Grandparents loved it too. There's just something so soothing about the sound of the rice being poured, the feel of it in your hands and the bright colours. It does what it says on the tin and just appeals to all the senses. Well, except smell maybe, the vinegar smell does linger somewhat!

We have had the sensory bin out regularly since then. Felix will bring the big mat to me when he wants to play with it. Since the initial novelty wore off we probably get a good hour of playtime before he wants to put it away. This is definitely the most expensive of our homemade toys since neither the rice nor the bin can be bought cheaply anywhere round here but it has been worth every penny.


  1. This is awesome! I definitely want to make one for Gavin (btw, this is epigirl from MSP). Did the colors come off on their hands at all?

  2. Hi Alison!! Thanks for visiting :-) I have had no issues with the colours coming off. Dexter even ate a few grains and there was no colour round his mouth. The vinegar helps the colour get drawn inside the rice, rather than it coating the outside.

    Just make sure you let it dry fully before use and don't use too much vinegar to start, just enough to help spread the food colouring. Even if some does get on hands, it'll wash off easily in the bath.