Rainbow Rice Sensory Bins and Reviving those much loved wooden puzzles

Raise your hand if you shelled out $$$ on Melissa & Doug wooden puzzles, claiming them to be such a great toy for your wee one even before they were teething? #Guilty

With so many puzzles (and so many lost pieces) invested in over the years I needed a way to keep Grace (who will be 3.5 next month) engaged and still interested. They are all far too easy now, and while she will help her sister out, I can see they just aren't fun anymore as she would much prefer 24+ piece floor puzzles. Then on my instagram, I saw a mom do a sensory bin with puzzle pieces and beans... 

I have been dying (pun intended!) to do some Rainbow Rice sensory bins over here but admittedly, I may be the only mom in America who had never used food coloring before. Ever. I was terrified but after 48 hours of rain and recovering from weeks of flu/pneumonia/croup we needed new indoor activities so I bit the bullet and 2 hours later, Amazon Prime Now delivered me a 5lb bag of rice for $3.79 and Neon foodcoloring for $4.09. 

Following directions on the interwebs, it took all of 10 minutes to make with the help of Grace while Emery was glued to our new favorite show: Super Monsters on Netflix (seriously, if your kids haven't tuned yet, it is a must... they learn manners!


A How-to Make Rainbow Rice:

What you need:

  • White Rice (I did 2 cups per color but that was a lot)
  • Food Coloring (add as much as you like, I did 8 drops per 2 cups of rice and mine came out dark)
  • White Vinegar (I used one capful (very scientific) per color)
  • Plastic baggies (to mix, one per color)
  • toys, puzzle pieces, plastic scoops or funnels, etc. to play with Rainbow Rice


  1. Divide white rice into plastic ziplock baggies, one per color.
  2. Add capful of vinegar + drops of food coloring.
  3. Close bag and massage rice to mix color thoroughly
  4. I laid everything out on parchment lined baking sheets to dry, probably unnecessary
  5. Once dry (about 2 hours) put in plastic bin and add those leftover pinata toys, puzzle pieces, etc.