I haven’t had time to whip up a batch of rainbow rice for sensory play (though I’ve really been meaning to) because we have many visitors this summer and I need to whip the house into konmari minimalism.
So I cheat. This is an easy, no-prep play hack for providing a colorful sensory play without having to do any prior work of dyeing.
No Prep Colorful Beans Sensory Play for Toddlers!
To manage your expectations you probably won’t be able to form all colours of the rainbow but you can definitely achieve 4-5 colours with dry grains from your grocery store!
Source Colourful Beans
Many beans and grains have naturally vivid and strong colours to begin with. Get an array of them from the grocery store and play away!
- Green: Split peas or green beans
- Yellow: Mung beans or soy beans
- Red: Red Azuki beans
- Orange: Lentils
Personally, I like to use beans more than grains because they can be picked up more easily (when you’re cleaning up and when the little one practise the pincer grip) and they provide a stronger sensory experience because they create loud noises when rolled around the tub.
- Provide a metallic container for your little one to transfer the beans to. The sound of beans swirling in a metallic container is distinct, loud and echo-ey
- For younger children who love pretend feeding, provide some toy animals so they can let their imagination take flight
- Place a book about colours to seize any teachable moments to educate
- If you’re using the IKEA Flisat table for the sensory activity, provide a Trofast tub lid to your child to do posting of beans into the tub. Alternatively, cut a small hole in the plastic lid of a food container and your child can have lots of fun posting beans in too!
- If you’re hosting a play date, this is a perfect social activity for 2-3 young children. I recommend to lay a plastic sheet beneath the sensory table so you can easily fold up the sheet and retrieve dropped beans after play.
How to Engage Older Children
- Challenge the kiddos to picking up the beans with tools like tweezers or even chopsticks. It’s a real test of fine motor skills
- Task the children to create a small world using the beans and other toy figurines
- Do color sorting
- Do counting activities
- Line letters or numbers with the beans
- Make all sorts of musical shakers
- Provide glue to stick the beans to paper for free-style art and craft
- Once mixed, the beans can be difficult to sort back into their colors. However you might come across sieves that have holes the perfect size to separate soy beans from the rest because soy beans are generally much bigger than the rest
- The dried beans can be kept in a storage bag or container for future and repeated play. Just take care to place in a cool shaded area away from direct sunlight and moisture
To follow Gwen's play adventures, check out @miraculove_sg (Instagram) or A Toddler Activity A Day Facebook Group.
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.