Rainbow Rice Ocean Sensory Bin

When possible, I love to make sensory play bins for my 3.5 year old girl.
Most of the time our bins match the theme we are studying with our Preschool curriculum,
Mother Goose Time.  I haven’t made her a new bin in the last 3 months.  #momfail.
However, our next month study is OCEAN COMMOTION and my girl LOVES her some Octonauts and ocean animals.  I knew I had to make her a bin for this theme!

big container of some sort (we used this one)
rice (we bought a 20 lb bag but only used about 1/2)
liquid watercolors (we used these) or food coloring
 Gallon sized Ziploc bags 
(we only used 2 bags by going in this order: 1 bag: yellow, orange, red   2nd bag: green, blue, purple)   Trays or wax paper to dry your rice colors
Ocean animals (we found this one with 40 pieces for $10 at Walmart!)

Of course I had to have my big helper assist in making her sensory bin!
  • She measured 4 cups of rice and placed it into a gallon sized Ziploc bag. 
  • Then I did a few squirts (it does not take much) of the liquid watercolor.
  • Zip it shut, hand it to your big helper and let them shake it up!
  • If your rice is still white in areas, add another squirt or two of your water color. 
  • After doing the yellow, my girl wanted to squirt in the color, so I let her but I didn’t really show her how to do it and she squeezed a ton of orange into the rice! It was drenched!  That tray had to dry outside.  I made sure to really show her how to put in the color on the next bag. 
  • Pour out your rice onto trays, cookie sheets, or wax paper and spread out.
It takes no time at all for this to dry!
After the trays were dry (30 minutes or so), it was time to assemble our sensory bin.
Now I totally was going to make all the rice blue and green to symbolize water, but my girl has been into rainbow everything lately.  I figured the coral reef was a rainbow of colors, so it’s perfect for our ocean bin.

No filter!  The liquid watercolors give intense beautiful color with just a few drops!
I poured each tray carefully so that the colors didn’t mix.  I wanted my girl to do all the mixing during her play.  After I poured the rainbow of rice, she took out her animals one by one and named just about every single one.  And she didn’t just say shark or whale… she knew it was an Orca or Humpback Whale.  She has learned so much from Octonauts…seriously. 🙂

These were $10 at Walmart and $24 on Amazon.
Isn’t it beautiful!  We added a few scoops and bowls from her play kitchen, 
and once she had all her animals in place, it was time to play!
“Momma, will you make this walrus talk?”
She likes for me to pretend with her as we make the animals talk.
And that’s what we did for most of the entire afternoon.  I love watching her imagination grow.

Today her ocean sensory bin looks like this:

Most of every animal in our Ocean Commotion unit is in this bin!
It’s going to be an awesome month of MGT Preschool fun!

Happy Learning!

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