I love sensory bins. A LOT. They are so simple to set-up. Warm water, lentils, stale cereal, or old pasta are great mediums to drop into a container with your child’s favourite toys! Sensory play is that simple. And the benefits are extensive. Another go-to of mine is using coloured rice. We have made rainbow-coloured rice, pumpkin-spiced rice, and more!
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Peppermint Scented Christmas Sensory Bin
What you need
- 3+ cups of white rice
- Food colouring – red and green for a Christmas sensory bin or blue for a winter sensory bin
- Ziplock bags or air tight containers
- 3+ tsp peppermint extract
- 3+ tsp white vinegar
- Parchment paper
- Cookie sheet
- Christmas miniatures and/ or jingle bells
- Slotted spoons, tongs, or other kitchen items for manipulating the rice
What to do
- Preheat over to 300°F.
- Divide rice equally based on the number of colours you’d like to have. Place divided rice into as many bags or containers as you need. So for red, white, and green, I need three containers or zip lock bags.
- For every one cup of rice you use, you need 1 tsp. of white vinegar. This helps the food colouring adhere to the rice.
- Add food colouring and shake until rice is fully covered. Add more colour if desired, then repeat.
- Add one to two tsp. of peppermint oil per cup of rice.
- Spread coloured rice on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Be careful not to mix colours as the rice is still wet and colour will mix.
- Place rice in oven to dry. Approximately 10 minutes.
- Remove rice from oven and mix to ensure fully dried. If not, return to over for a few minutes.
- Once cooled, dump rice into bin and add Christmas embellishments.
- Option to add toys. Use kitchen utensils to add in the fun and enjoy!
What they’re learning
Through sensory play, children learn cause and effect. They are able to test hypothesises. By dumping rice from one container to another, they begin to understand conservation of mass. And while there are many more benefits from sensory play, one of the greatest benefits is retention. Adults and children retain information better when more than one sense is engaged!