Rainbow Rice Sensory Tray


Practice pre-writing skills in our Rainbow Rice Sensory Tray. Stimulate your pre-schoolers sense of touch, sight and sound, as they work they work on strengthening their fine motor skills in this sensory based learning activity.

rainbow rice sensory tray


  • Rainbow Rice (see below)
  • Gold Coins
  • Shamrock Confetti
  • Selection of Mark Making Tools – popsicle sticks, paintbrushes, play dough tools or pencils.
  • Deep Tray

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How to Make Rainbow Rice

You will need:

  • Rice
  • Food coloring
  • Zip-loc bags
  • White vinegar
  • Trays

Add a cup of rice to a zip-loc bag along with a few drops of food coloring and ¼ teaspoon of vinegar.

Give the bag a vigorous shake until all of the rice is coated in the coloring.

Spread the rice out over a tray and leave to dry for a couple of hours.

Repeat for each of the colors you wish to use in your Rainbow Rice Tray.

We also used this rice in our Rainbow I-Spy Bottle.

Ahead of the Activity

Fill a deep tray with the rainbow rice, add in the gold coins and mix in the shamrock confetti.

Playing with a Rainbow Rice Sensory Tray

rainbow rice sensory tray

Bella was feeling a bit out of sorts with a bad cold, so I set up this sensory play activity to calm and distract her from her woes.

She began the activity exploring the contents of the tray with her hands. She is very tactile and loves to get hands on with our activities together.  She spent a good few minutes swirling her fingers and hands around in the rice and picking it up to examine the different colours (great for developing her pincer grip). She was very interested in picking up the shamrocks as well and trying to count them all. She was only very young over St Patricks Day last year, so she probably doesn’t really remember what they are.

Find out how to make Bubble Wrap Shamrock Decorations.

The first tool she reached for was the paintbrush. This made lovely sweeping motions through the rice. I encouraged her to draw pictures, make shapes and have a go at writing a few numbers in the rice.

rainbow rice sensory tray

Allowing your child to practice making marks in rice is great preparation for when they start to use a pencil to form letters and numbers. When my son started school a lot of his homework involved practicing letters and numbers in flour or rice and it really helped his confidence when writing with a pencil.

For more activity ideas follow us on Pinterest.

She worked her way through the different tools at her own pace and I enjoyed watching her (and my cup of tea!).

rainbow rice sensory tray

It certainly helped to take her mind off her cold for a while at least and left her exhausted and ready for a nap (yay!). She is on much better form now and is back causing mayhem in nursery.

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