I wasn’t going to post about the rainbow rice we made last week. It is one of those activities which is so popular that it didn’t need yet another post about it. Yet when I made rainbow rice for the girls it turned out to be such a wonderful sensory experience for them it reminded me that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best one and just because an idea is old to you doesn’t mean it is to someone else.
One of my girls has sensory processing issues so sensory play activities like this have become even more important. She really needs to have time to play and explore and something like rainbow rice is perfect as she is a really visual learner and colour is something which is really important to her.
We made our rice the old fashioned way, using food colouring and vinegar stirred into basmati rice. I don’t like to waste food but this was a big bag of rice that I found in the bottom of the cupboard and I had forgotten about so was really passed its best. I have seen lots of people using plastic bags to mix the rice but it seemed just as easy to me to use those tin foil trays for roasts you can by and they are perfect as you can leave the rice in them overnight to dry out. The girls loved the mixing part of the activity almost as much as making the rice.
The rice looked lovely as it was drying, although the room did smell quite strongly of vinegar. Also it was a bit annoying having pans of rice covering the dining table. The girls couldn’t wait to get started and kept sneakily touching the rice to see if it had dried. I poured it into a large box. I like the under bed storage boxes for sensory play as they are long and thin so a couple of children can play together happily.
I didn’t measure the rice so there are slightly different amounts of each. We also went for pink, even though it’s not officially in the rainbow, but I had pink food colouring. It also meant we could sing the rainbow song!
The colours were beautiful and vibrant. There was a definite difference between the gel food colours and liquid ones. The gel colours look slightly brighter but stayed a bit sticky and the rice stuck on your hands a little.
Mixing the colours is the best bit. I’m going to have to do this again so all the girls get a go at this part.
Ok, I know you don’t need two photos of this, but the colours are so amazing.
I love how the rice looks like a rainbow where it stuck. Luckily it was easy to rub off.
What could be more fun than handfuls of colourful rice. I was asked recently what children to when they play in a sensory bin like this and most of it is just moving the materials around, letting it run through your hands. Picking it up and putting it into different containers. It just seems a really joyful experience.
The idea for this bin started in the fact the girls love My Little Pony. I thought they could match the ponies with the colours of the rice.
If you haven’t tried a sensory bin and you’re not sure whether it’s worth it then just look at the expression on my daughter’s face. Pure delight!
Ok, I’ll admit, for a parent it’s a mixed blessing. I have a real love-hate relationship with sensory play. I love how they can play for hours and it is so brilliant for their mood. But I have a sensory bin at home and one at work at the moment and I am a little tired of sweeping them up. It will end up on the floor, I’m not going to lie to you. No matter what warnings you give, or whether you put newspaper down. There is a bit of mess involved.
But look at that smile. It’s worth all the nagging, the smell of vinegar, not having a kitchen table for a couple of days and the endless sweeping up. Probably.