Sensory activities · Small world play

Dyeing materials for sensory play

You can make your own brilliant bases for sensory play using simple materials around your home, including:

  • beans, chick peas, coconut, popping corn, oats, salt
  • hay, sand
  • pasta, rice, rice noodles, cooked spaghetti

There are several different ways of dyeing your materials, including:

  • food colouring/food dye – some materials may also need vinegar or rubbing alcohol to hold the colour
  • liquid watercolours or powdered paint

dying materials for sensory play

Once you have dyed your materials, you can store and use them over and over again for wonderful sensory play.   Kids can have fun feeling the different textures as they pick them up in their hands and let them fall through their fingers, squish and mould them, and mix the different colours together,

You can also use them for other activities, such as scooping and pouring, sorting, weighing and measuring, letter and number writing, hiding and finding objects, pretend play, and small world play.

Here are some of our favourite ways to dye materials for sensory play:


How to colour beans for play and art from Fun At Home With Kids


Dyed chick peas sensory play from The Imagination Tree


Coconut sensory bin from Adventures and Play


How to dye corn from Fun-A-Day


How to dye hay for sensory play from Crayon Box Chronicles


How to make rainbow oats for sensory play from Laughing Kids Learn


How to dye pasta from Buggy and Buddy


How to make color rice for sensory play from Powerful Mothering

rice noodles

Rainbow rice noodles from And Next Comes L


Easy DIY colored salt from Mommy Evolution

coloured sand

How to make coloured sand from Kids Craft Room


How to dye rainbow spaghetti for sensory play from Parenting Chaos

You can find heaps more fun sensory activities on our Pinterest board here.


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