Whitney Crosbie, contributing writer, Play in 5 Kits

Imagine you are in your favorite place. What does it look like? Feel like? Smell like? Even sound or taste like? The reason I ask you to reflect on this is because our most memorable and meaningful experiences stand out when we are using multiple senses. That’s why you can remember the delicious warm texture of grandma’s chewy, chocolate chip cookies while cuddling up next to her as she reads and turns the pages of a crisp book. Our senses help us understand our world and help us create memories. When children are involved in sensory play, they are engaging fully with the world around them. 

Sensory play provides vocabulary development as children describe their experience. While playing with slime a child may use the words sticky, gooey, or even viscous as they play. 

Sensory play also provides calming, engaging, screen-free play that increases attention span. Today our world is so fast paced. To have the time to spend a mindful minute of engaged play is priceless for a child. 

I taught Kindergarten and preschool here in Cache Valley and am currently taking a break to be home with my own children. When I began my journey as a stay-at-home mom, I still wanted to pursue my passion for helping children, others and my own. I found that screen time was such an easy way to occupy my children, but that it reaped very few benefits. I wanted to create kits for my children and for other children that would help them develop socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually. I make sensory kits and pretend-play kits for children to have fun and learn through experience. 

Check out my website playin5kits.com and follow me on Instagram @playin5kits for free play ideas and check out the tutorial on the next page for a free sensory activity you can easily create with supplies you likely have on hand.

DIY Colored Rice 

Colored rice is one of the easiest, most cost-effective, and FUN sensory bin fillers out there! You probably already have all the ingredients on hand. 


DIY rice ingredients








white vinegar 


measuring cups and spoons 

food coloring 

Ziploc bags 

baking sheet 


  1. Measure 2 cups of rice and 1 Tablespoon of vinegar in a Ziploc bag. Do this for each color you would like. 
  2. Add food coloring to each bag. You won’t need to measure; a few squirts will do the job! 
  3. Shake the bag! This is a fun job for little ones. 
  4. Once all the rice in the bag is colored, spread the rice on a baking sheet. 
  5. Bake rice for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. You can alternatively set it outside in the sun to dry. 
  6. Once completely dry, put rice into a bin or bowl, add some measuring spoons, cups, and small toys, and play! 


Put a towel or cloth under the bowl or bin of rice to catch spills. 

Keep rice in an airtight container for storage and reuse it over and over again.