Home » Activities » Rainbow Rice

Rainbow Rice

Making your own rainbow rice is really easy! You only need plain rice and paint. There are a few different ways to make colored rice and we have tried them all. This method is our favorite.

RELATED: How to Make Playdough

How to make Rainbow Rice

How to Make Rainbow Rice

To make your own sensory dyed rice you only need plain rice and paint.

You’ll also want to have on hand: 

  • 6 large ziploc bags (one for each color)
  • Acrylic paint (non-toxic)
  • Wax or parchment paper for drying
  • Baking sheet

A large storage container for placing the rice in (we used a 28 quart bin)

Measuring cups, spoons and other materials to play with the rice once done.

Watch the Video Tutorial

Sensory Rice

Why use acrylic paint over food coloring? 

We have made rainbow rice with food coloring and liquid watercolors before. If doing the food coloring method, most recipes either call for added vinegar (which can smell) or to bake the rice (an added step). Food coloring is also a lot more messy to work with. It can stain your surfaces and is harder to clean up.

Liquid watercolors are another option but we found we had to use a lot of the liquid watercolor bottle to get the same coverage and vibrancy that acrylic paint will give you. And the cost of liquid watercolors is usually much higher than acrylic paint.

Rainbow Rice DIY

Is this rice taste safe? 

While most paint is non-toxic, we do not recommend using paint for little ones that may want to taste the rice. If you have a younger toddler that still puts things in their mouth, then using food coloring is a better option. You can follow the same method with food coloring. Just be mindful that food coloring can stand surfaces when still wet so protect your surfaces while using it.

How to Dye Rice

To substitute with food coloring, instead of adding paint, add your food coloring to the recipe below. You can add a teaspoon of vinegar for every cup of rice.

How to dye rice

Ways to use colored rice:

  • Use kitchen tools like measuring cups and funnels for play
  • Add play toys like plastic dinosaurs, bugs or or mini dump trucks
  • Use recycled materials like paper towel rolls and little boxes or washed margarine containers
Rainbow Rice Recipe
No ratings yet

Rainbow Rice

How to Make Rainbow Rice
Prep Time5 minutes
1 hour
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes


  • Large Ziploc Bags
  • Baking Tray
  • Parchment Paper
  • 28 Quart Bin
  • Measuring Cups, Funnels for play


  • 3 cups long grain white rice
  • Acrylic paint A large squirt of paint, no measurement needed.


  • Add 3 cups of rice into a large ziploc bag. 
    Add 3 cups to rice to bag
  • Start with a large squirt of paint to start. Smoosh around in the bag until the rice is fully covered. It's better to add less paint and keep adding as needed. The less paint you have to coat the rice, the better as it will be less likely to stick together. Keep adding until the rice is fully covered and there is no longer any white rice.

    Add Paint to Bag for Rainbow Rice
  • Once completely mixed, lay the rice out flat onto a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray.
    Let Rainbow Rice Dry
  • Let the rice dry for 1-2 hours. If still wet, make sure the rice is lying flat to allow the paint to dry.
  • Repeat the above for each color you would like to make. We made red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
  • Rinse out your ziploc bags after use and store for making rainbow rice again. Or you can use the bags for storing craft supplies.


Repeat the above instructions for each color you would like to make. 
If you find mixing 3 cups of rice to be too much in one bag, you can do the rice in 2 batches by putting 1.5 cups of rice in the bag at a time. 
If you have a smaller sensory bin to fill, cut back on the amount of rice needed. 
Rice will keep for at least one month but we have had our sensory rice for much longer.
Keep stored in a cool, dry place. 

We love how easy this rainbow rice is to make. And this is by far the easiest way to get the most vibrant colors of rice!

More Rainbow Sensory Play Ideas

Another favorite rainbow sensory play idea is to make our own homemade playdough.

Easy Playdough Recipe

Try this easy to make cloud dough recipe!

2 Ingredient Cloud Dough

More Sensory Activities

Fluffy Slime

Fluffy Slime Recipe

Puffy Paint

Puffy Paint

Cloud Dough

Cloud Dough


Alphabet Sensory Bag

Review icon

Share a Comment!

We LOVE hearing from you! Submit your question or comment here.

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked *

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Scroll to Top