Rainy days are tough with little ones cooped up inside. There are only so many movies to watch before we all go a little stir crazy. Recently Finding Dory has been a favorite in our household so for this activity we mixed our movie downtime with a little sensory play.
Cue the rainbow rice!
Rainbow rice became a favorite of mine about a year ago. There are so many ways to use it, colors to make it, and toys to mix it with. Rainbow rice is super simple to make and only requires a few ingredients that, chances are you already have in your kitchen. My favorite part about rainbow rice is that the measurements can be approximate. I mean who has time for measuring spoons with all these kids?
I’ve made large batches of one color or smaller batches with multiple colors. There is only one rule to Rainbow rice. DO NOT add water. If you add water instead of or in addition to the lemon or vinegar the color WILL run onto your kids, their clothes and pretty much everything it touches. That being said, let’s get to it!
What You’ll Need to Make Rainbow Rice
-Blue food coloring
-Sealable plastic bag
-Coral Reef TOOB
-Incredible Creatures Blue Tang
-Incredible Creatures Clownfish
- large Tupperware bin
- plastic bowl
- Scoop 4 cups of rice into a sealable plastic bag.
- (You may use lemon or white vinegar for this step) Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half onto the rice OR add 1 tablespoons of vinegar for every cup of rice.
- Add desired amount of food coloring. The limit does not exist!
- Seal bag and shake until rice is colored.
- Lay rice flat on Baking tray to dry.
- Let dry for 20 minutes.
Rainy Day Activity
You can preface or follow up this activity with your movie. Since it was raining and we usually have lazy mornings, I opted to watch the movie first. This kept them entertained as I made the rice and set up the sensory bin. I set up one activity bin that we used two ways: a search and find activity and open ended play.
Search & Find
Fill the large Tupperware with the blue rainbow rice. Hide the contents of the Coral Reef Toob under the rice. Let your toddler use their hands to dig through the rice and find the pieces. Depending on your child’s age you can make this more difficult by giving them a large spoon or tongs to use (Blake is almost 3 so we opted for the tongs). This activity helps with fine and gross motor skills as they learn to use the utensils’ in the most efficient way.
Open ended play
For this I threw in our Incredible Creatures Blue Tang and Clownfish. She also had some play kitchen accessories to scoop and pour the rice with. Open ended play is so important for toddlers. It helps foster creativity and imagination. From beginning to end, this sensory bin kept her busy for almost an hour. Which in mom time is just about enough time to load the dishwasher and fold a load of laundry.
DeAna Dunn is a former educator turned stay-at-home mom to 3 kids under 3 years old. Living life in survival mode.