Here's what you will need:
- One Plastic Bin - we chose the 12 qt size, but you can always do smaller!
- Rice - you will need 7 cups of rice total, if you purchase the same size bin. Of course you can always use more or less, depending on the size of your bin.
- Food Coloring - we chose to do pink and purple rice, so those were the colors we needed for the dye as well. You can always just use what you have, or leave the rice white if you'd like.
- Distilled White Vinegar - this helps the dye stick to the rice, we've also read you can use contact solution in place of vinegar, but used vinegar for this bin.
- Plastic Baggie - use a gallon size bag to dye the rice. You will need a bag per color rice you plan to make these colors (2 bags total)
- Measuring Cups and Spoons - you can use what you have in the house, but we chose to get some from Dollar Tree, because they were red. We chose the 1/2 cup and 1/2 tsp to include in this bin, and will save the rest for another day!
- Colander - again we went to Dollar Tree for this, because they have red! This is so fun for the child to scoop the rice into the colander and watch it fall through!
- Fun items inside the bin - we found all of these items at Hobby Lobby on 40% off!
Before we make the bin...we need to dye the rice!
How to Make the Rice:
- Pour One Cup at a time into the baggies. We did 2 cups of rice per color.
- Pour 1 teaspoon of vinegar per cup of rice. So we did 2 teaspoons of vinegar per bag, since we had 2 cups of rice in each bag.
- Put approximately 10 drops of color into each cup of rice. We did about 20 drops of color because we doubled the rice. The more drops of dye, the darker the color will be.
- Close the baggie and mix the rice up so the color is evenly distributed.
- Pour the colored rice onto a paper towel, or pan, and let it dry. This might take up to an hour to dry. Make sure the rice is laying in a single layer, not in a clump.
How to Make the Sensory Bin:
- Put the Rice in the Bin
- Put 3 cups of white rice into the bin, followed by each bag of the colored (pink and purple) rice. Put the lid on the bin and SHAKE. SHAKE. SHAKE. This will mix up the rice, then you are ready to add in the fun items!
- Add the Jewels, foam hearts, pipe cleaners, colander, measuring spoons, and anything else fun you have!
- Now Enjoy!!!
Benefits of Sensory Bins:
- Improves fine motor skills because the child is practicing pinching, pouring, and scooping.
- Expands language skills as they describe the different elements in the bin.
- Works on social skills by encouraging sharing and communicating if multiple children are playing together.
- Encourages sensory exploration by encouraging various senses such as touching, smelling, hearing, and seeing.
- Sensory bins can have a calming effect on overstimulated children.
- Encourages imaginative play and play based learning.
- IT'S FUN!!