While rainbows are fun at any time of the year, St. Patrick's Day is coming up which makes them extra fun and festive! Here are two easy activities that we have been working on over here to bring a little of color into our days!
Rainbow Tactile Sensory Bins
Sensory bins are a fav in this house, for parents and kids alike. I appreciate how creative we can get on a budget with such simple items and love how much my kids enjoy playing in them, getting their hands dirty without really getting them dirty. To learn more about the importance and benefits of tactile sensory play, check out this article by a local mama and Pediatric Occupational Therapist. For this colorful bin, I enlisted help from my son from the beginning to end, letting him chose what colors he wanted to make and walking him through each step. While we made a rainbow theme, you can use whatever colors you like, and we'll teach you everything you need to know on how to dye rice for sensory play.
Supplies needed (all from Dollar Tree)
- 1 bags of white rice
- food coloring
- white vinegar
- plastic ziplock bags
- bin (we use a dish bin)
- cookie sheet
- wax paper
How to Dye Rice for a Rainbow Rice Bin or any tactile sensory play
- Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper, set aside. ***When I am doing rainbow or multiple colors, I use separate pieces of wax paper to keep the colors separate and just fold the paper in a "V" to separate the colors. Or, you can use separate sheets for each color.***
- Divide your rice evenly in the plastic bags, depending on how many colors you will have. We use approximately 1 cup of rice per bag. You can also do this in separate glass or metal mixing bowls, but I like the bags for easy clean up.
- Add a 10-15 drops of food coloring to achieve your desired color to 1 tablespoons of vinegar (I use the color chart on the side). Pour this mixture into a bag of rice and seal completely.
- Combine the colored vinegar mixture with the rice by shaking and kneading the bag (a great job for little hands) until all the rice is one color and the vinegar has been absorbed. If you want to add more color, repeat steps 3 & 4.
- Spread colored rice in an even layer on the paper you laid out on the cookie sheet. Repeat steps 2-4 for each color you are making.
- Let rice dry, turning if needed (usually about an hour).
- Picking up the rice by the wax paper, pour it into your bin in whatever arrangement suits you. When I'm doing the rainbow, I actually lift each piece of wax paper up, holding it in that "V" shape I created and place them all side by side in the bin. I pull each one out one by one, allowing the wax paper of the neighboring color to be a barrier, so the colors go in evenly and don't mix together.
- Add an educational component - this one was done through the entire process: talking about rainbows, identifying colors, using the measuring spoons, counting food coloring drops.
- It's time to enjoy and watch the smiles!
Magic with Skittles
Our second activity is so easy it feels kind of like cheating, but I promise your kids will think it is so cool! For this you will need a bag of Skittles, small saucer that has an elevated rim, and warm water.
- Place your Skittles around the outside rim of your plate. This is great for little fingers, identifying colors and patterns and talking about the colors of the rainbow.
- Once your Skittles have made a complete circle, slowly pour water until it touches all the Skittles. Be careful not to overflow your plate!
- Wait for the magic 🌈
- I let my kids use a fork to swirl the colors in the end and talk about what happens when you mix primary colors.
- See how it all turns out on our Instagram reel!
If you liked these you might also like creating a Rainbow Flower Bouquet and Rainbow Painting. Follow us on Instagram and Pinterest for more easy crafting ideas!