My goal here is to share with you how easy and inexpensive it is to make 10 different rice sensory bins with just an empty container, a bag of rice, and objects/toys from around the house. These super simple sensory bins can provide hours of engaging fun, as well as learning opportunities for you and your child.


10 Rice Sensory Bins


Sensory bins are a great way to increase independent play, exploration and curiosity in young kids. Also, being a mother of a special needs little boy, these simple sensory bins have provided a great way for us to bond and engage in play together. Often, the rice bin serves as a great tool for practicing letters and numbers as well as sorting and matching!

ALSO CHECK OUT>>> 10 Best Sensory Bin Fillers

super simple rice filling


This is my little helper Liam (3.5y) preparing our bin for all these great ideas! Even setting up our sensory bin is a fun experience for my little one. Let them help and keep a broom handy! Sensory bins and practical life skills (sweeping) go hand in hand.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Getting Started with Sensory Bins

rice sensory bin set up

To make your own rice sensory bin all you need to do is pick up a bag of rice at the supermarket and some sort of container.   Then you are ready to get started!

Each of these sensory bin activities below can be used by multiple ages at the same time, helpful for those moments when you just don’t have enough hands or you need a few extra minutes to get something done!


#1: Alphabet hide, seek and match!

Let’s go alphabet hunting! I hid letter tiles and printed out a letter sheet. Super quick! If your child can do upper and lower case go for it. You could also use your scrabble game tiles or simply cut up a second printout to use for matching pieces.

This sensory bin could also be great for spelling sight words or whatever you are currently working on in your program. Your youngest child can dig and match while your oldest works on spelling!

super simple rice alphabet

We also hid magnets and hung a fun place mat on the fridge for him to match to.  A cookie tray works well too!

super simple rice alphabet pond

In the photo above, we went fishing for letters to match to ponds that were spread out on the floor! (1+1+1=1 for pond theme print out activity)

rainbow rice letter puzzle

We used tongs and a wooden puzzle for this alphabet hunt!

#2: Construction Sensory Bin

For this super simple sensory bin, I got Liam his hard hat, construction vehicles and wooden blocks. He chose to pretend the rice was cement and he needed to first mix it and then build a wall using the rice “cement” between the blocks. He put great thought into his wall. We also suggested he could build roads and houses but he stuck with the wall idea for quite a while, talking about it the whole time he was making it.

Unfortunately, he was unable to find different ideas to carry out with the blocks but I am sure your child might come up with something. Different color blocks and different sizes would make for some nice building material and the rice creates great problem solving skills!

super simple rice construction

#3: Kitchen Play

I simply went through my drawers and cupboards and pulled out items such as trays, containers, bowls and utensils for this rice sensory bin. I even had some empty spice jars that still had the spice smell! We have tons of play food and the kind with velcro as well. He was very excited to see his “kitchen” and that’s exactly what he called it.  I would have to say that Liam named this rice sensory bin.

super simple rice bin food

#4: Puzzle Jumble

super simple rice puzzles

Super quick fun to mix up puzzle pieces into the rice. Play I spy with your child or let them work independently. Multiple ages can play with different types of pieces! Work together or work separately but from the same bin! Liam enjoyed his chunk puzzles and his small peg sound puzzles, vehicles, tools, and animals!

#5: Picture Book Play

Choose a fun picture book and some items that would relate to the story.  Read the story and have fun playing! Hopefully some independent play can follow after the story too!


#6: Pinching Pennies

So easy and fun to do in just one afternoon! I originally put in 50 pennies in our rice bin. But ended up throwing in 50 more after I saw what fun he was having with the whole thing.

I had this great old fashioned bank for him to fill up. Then we took the coins over to the table and counted one for one as we put them back in the bank. Double the fine motor practice and a ton of counting. Great for multiple ages and players! Use different coins for sorting and adding!

pinching pennies

#7: Colored Rice

Dying rice is super easy and it dries overnight! In a plastic container I add a cup of white rice, 1/2 tsp of vinegar and food coloring (no exact amount). Cover it and hand to husband to shake vigorously until it looks well mixed! I spread it on a paper towel to dry afterwards.

Then make one of these fun sensory bins with your colored rice.

Rainbow Sensory Bin

rainbow sensory bin activity set up

Watermelon Rice Sensory Bin

super simple rice watermelon rice

Rainbow Rice Sensory Bin

super simple rice rainbow

Holiday Train Sensory Bin

christmas rice sensory bin free play

Halloween Sensory Bin

Halloween Sensory bin with colored rice

#8: Nature Sensory Bin

Go for a walk in the backyard or around the neighborhood for a nature scavenger hunt.  We added some shells, nuts, smooth rocks, baskets, gems and his favorite stick to our rice!

nature rice sensory bin

He naturally took to sorting the objects. This is good for counting as well! I think it looks very soothing. I love the colors too. However, I don’t think this is his favorite because of the muted colors, but he likes the textures. Also nice for the ocean too! He likes to listen to the shells and have us listen with him.


#9: Magnet Madness

A simple rice bin with magnetic items in it and a wand to go searching for the treasure. I gave him a bucket to put everything in as he dug it out until there was only rice left!


#10: I Spy Bag & Sensory Bin Search

I used a freezer ziplock bag and filled it with rice and beads and trinkets. We used an alphabet check list sheet to cross off what we spied. At the end we dumped it into a baking dish and practiced fine motor skills!

alphabet I spy rice bag


rice search alphabet

Spring Green Rice Sensory Bin

green colored rice sensory bin

 Confetti Rice Bin Search

confetti fine motor skills sensory activity



Click on the image below or on the link for more super simple sensory activities for kids!


  1. These are really fun ideas! Thanks for linking to Share It Saturday. I’ll be featuring this post tomorrow.

  2. Awesome! Thank you. I just saaw it and it was a nice surprise when I went to link up this week.

  3. Thanks for the pictures. I somehow had it in my head that I had to have bins and bins full of rice and objects. I like the idea of just ONE bin of rice and the toys have smaller boxes to be put away in in groups. This simplifies it for me quite a bit. Might have to try this.

  4. Inspired by your puzzle piece bin, I love the idea of hiding block beeswax crayons, thick Lyra colored pencils, or markers in rice and having a clipboard with some plain paper. Your toddler has to dig through the rice to find the coloring materials before drawing. What do you think?

Comments are closed.