This DIY is one of my absolute favorite sensory projects for toddlers. I made one for my first daughter, Adair, when she was about 18 months old. My second daughter, Ingrid, is now 15 months old, so I decided she needed one too. Sensory activities are so much fun for little ones who are just learning to interact with the world around them. From different textures to fun colors, this activity is awesome!
What you need:
Lots of white rice—I'd say 4-10 pounds
Large plastic zipper bags
Food coloring in 3-6 colors
Bin with sturdy lid to fit your amount of rice
Treasures and play things (measuring cups, funnel, balls, coins, jewels, creatures, etc.)
What you do:
First, divide your rice into equal portions and pour into your zipper bags. I chose to have 4 different colors of rice, so I used 4 different bags.
Next, add 2 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol and 5-10 drops of food coloring to each bag of rice. Remove most of the air and seal the bag shut. Gently, shake and turn the bag until all of the rice is colored. Add more food coloring until you reach the color you like.
Pour rice into the plastic bin and place in a ventilated area without the lid for 1-2 hours. This will help the smell of the alcohol to go away. Place the rice in the sun for 4-8 hours until all rice is dry. (You may need to "stir" the rice every couple of hours to make sure it all gets dry!)
Once the rice is dry, add your treasures and play things and let your little one go to town! (This time, we added a collander, a funnel, some little balls, and som bright colored lizards!) Let your little one search for the treasures, scoop, dig, bury, transfer, let the pretty rice sift through your fingers... The options are endless with this fun toy. I find this activity is best for outside. If you spill the rice outdoors, it's easier to clean up. When you are finished playing, cover the rice with a lid and store until next time!