How to Make Rainbow Rice

Find out how to make rainbow rice for engaging sensory play. This is the sensory tub filler every preschool mom and teacher needs on hand!

This colorful rainbow rice is the perfect sensory bin filler for many themes. Add it to your spring and summer sensory bins, and your kids will love pouring, scooping, and playing with this rice.

Making your own rainbow rice is really easy! You only need plain white rice, alcohol, and liquid food coloring.

How to Make Rainbow Rice

Toddlers and preschoolers learn through their senses. Sensory play provides an opportunity for children to explore a variety of textures while strengthening motor skills.

What You’ll Need

  • White rice
  • Mason jars – one for each color
  • Food coloring in variety of rainbow colors
  • 1 tbs of rubbing alcohol for each color
  • Sensory bin

What You’ll Do

To start, pour white rice into your mason jars. We split ours between 5 different jars, one for each color.

We used about a cup and a half of rice in each jar.

Add a different color food coloring to each of your jars. How much you use is up to you. The more you use the darker your rice will be.

Then, add one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol to each jar. The alcohol will help it spread better and more quickly.

Cap your jars and shake like crazy to evenly color all of your rice. A lot of shaking is necessary!

You may even have to stir the jars a bit to break up any large clumps of food coloring.

Place each color of rice on a different surface to dry. We used paper plates, but baking sheets would work great too!

If it’s a sunny day, the heat from the sun will help it dry very quickly.

Once it’s dry, you can add it to your bin for a fun sensory play activity.

We added fun objects from the kitchen to play with plus a few toys to make it extra fun.

Using the Rainbow Rice

Kids can use kitchen tools to scoop, pour, and measure the rice.

Add toys like dinosaurs, flowers, little trucks, or mini erasers for a little added exploration.

Use recycled household items like cardboard tubes, small storage containers, and old paint brushes.


Fill your book basket with a great collection of books about rainbows. Most of these books can be found at your local library or used bookstore.

If you have a hard time finding them, you can order them through my Amazon affiliate links by clicking the images below.

A Rainbow of My OwnHow the Crayons Saved the RainbowWhen You See a Rainbow


A Rainbow of My Own – A small boy imagines what it would be like to have his own rainbow to play with.

How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow – The Sun and the Clouds are best friends. Together they keep the world warm, the gardens growing, and the sky full of beautiful rainbows. But one day they get into a fight and refuse to be in the sky together. And that means there are no longer any rainbows.

When You See a Rainbow – With beautiful illustrations and an engaging rhyme, this little book explains the true history of the rainbow as a symbol of God’s promise to Noah and the world after the Great Flood.

Teaching Resources

This wooden rainbow sewing kit is a great way to to have older preschoolers work on their fine motor skills.

Toddlers and younger preschoolers will strengthen hand-eye coordination with this wooden rainbow stacking toy.

Related Posts

This pack of Rainbow Fish book printables will help you extend the learning after reading Marcus Pfister's classic story of sharing and friendship.  Be sure to add these fun rainy day count and graph worksheets to your preschool activities! They're perfect for spring and summer days.

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