Toddler Rice Sensory Play

toddler rice sensory play

Sensory play with rice is one of two-year-old Lily’s favorite activities! Colored rice is a super easy to make, and I’ve found that it lasts a long time – we only have to sweep/vacuum a little bit after every play session. It’s also a little easier to clean up than my other go-to taste safe sensory play activity for kids. Of course, it’s a different story if you have a kid who up-ends their tray, but my kids just don’t have that personality. So far, at least. We’ll see if number four decides to break the mold…

This time, for example, Lily spent a LONG time just looking at the colors sitting next to each other. Then she asked for cars and marbles, and they sat arranged like this for a while:

toddler rice sensory play

Eventually, the cars drove around, thoroughly mixing the pink and green rice. Lily loved feeling both the rice and the larger, smooth marbles slip through her fingers:

toddler rice sensory play

As it happens, rice also makes an excellent sandbox for teeny tiny toys! Different day – over two weeks later – but same shirt. And same (lack of) hairdo. She loves her snail shirt. Hairdos, not so much.

toddler rice sensory play

Do your kids enjoy playing with colored rice? Do you have other fun sensory activities to recommend?

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

33 thoughts on “Toddler Rice Sensory Play”

  1. Lily is precious with or without a hairdo!

    We haven’t done colored rice here…yet, my oldest just walked up and said “Ooo what’s that? can we do that?”

      1. Just put a tarp down, and dunk them in the tub when they are done! You have to try the shaving cream. There is nothing quite like it.

  2. This is fun, and Anna always enjoys playing with colored rice when she gets an opportunity. We don’t play with rice at home for 2 reasons. One is an inevitable mess, and another is that I am philosophically against playing with food.

    1. We used rice that turned out to be both a miserable texture and a miserable taste. And in the past we’ve used rice that fell on the floor, etc. I’m against taking food for granted, but I don’t really see a difference between this and playing with small chemically-manufactured, much less eco-friendly toys, or – perhaps a better parallel – play dough.

  3. How fun! I’m missing my days with kids young enough for this… We used all sorts of things-rice, lentils, beans. All fun!

  4. We haven’t done rice sensory play yet, but I am planning to soon. I know my little boy would love to get some of his little cars into something like this. :)

    I came over from the hop and am following you on Google+ now.

  5. Adding color to the rice is a great idea. I’ll have to try that.

    We love sensory boxes. I think my favorite is our giant pasta “jacuzzi”. We have one of those under-the-bed storage bins, and we fill it with pasta, scoops, cups and funnels. We just climb right in and sit IN the pasta! So much fun.

  6. That looks so fun! It seems I always have a bag of rice that some electronic device that took a bath has to sit in for a couple of days. This would be much better than throwing it away…
    Sandy

  7. My kids have never heard of playing with colored rice.

    Because, as you know, they have “that personality.” They would play Mardi Gras with the rice, and fling it all over the kitchen!

    1. My children’s utter absence of “that personality” cracks me up. Of course, I was just like them as a kid, and so was Mike. My siblings were not – and nor are their kids!!!

  8. My youngest does have the personality to turn over the rice!! But no matter what we’re doing, he’s probably making a mess, it’s just his curious personality, so we just roll with it!

  9. Three girls and none are great fans of “hair-dos”,… more the hair-don’ts :). What they DO like are hairbands with hugs flowers on them. I’d like to make some flat flower harcips with felt sometime soon.

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