Perfect for Olfactory Sensory Processing Input! Lemon-scented rice is perfect for summer sensory play! The fresh smell of lemons is so invigorating that you might need to make some lemonade too! Lemon-scented rice is quick and easy to make. You can easily whip up a batch in the morning and play with your sensory bin after lunch! Enjoy great sensory play with all of our very best kids’ sensory play activities.


Enjoy Summer Sensory Play

Our simple how to dye rice recipe makes beautiful colors for whatever theme you choose including this yellow lemon scented rice.

Then use it to set up a fun and easy summer sensory bin. Kids will have a blast digging their hands into this sensory bin!

For this lemon scented rice sensory bin, I made four batches of rice all of the varying shades by adding more or less food coloring. Cover and shake until evenly coated. I lay the rice as flat as possible on a paper towel and in about 30 minutes I have lovely lemon-scented rice for summer olfactory sensory play!

What Is Olfactory Sensory Processing?

Why the nose knows! Olfactory sensory play is all about smells, smelling, and scents. We are all unique and have our own preferences including children.

Some smell calms us like lavender at night and some alert us like fresh mint in the morning. Some smells are too strong, some too weak, some just plain awful.

Likewise, some children will smell anything and some children will avoid smelling even the prettiest of flowers (my son included).

Be mindful of activities using different materials and what they smell like. It might not be that your child doesn’t enjoy painting, it might be the smell of the paints!

Want more lemon-scented and olfactory and tactile fun? Make lemon-scented slime!

Lemon Scented Rice Sensory bin Olfactory sensory playPin

There were tons of smelling with lemon scented rice sensory bin! More than usual on his part but it definitely had a strong lemon smell. I couldn’t help but to get in on it too!

We took turns lifting handfuls of lemon scented rice to our noses. We talked about the smells, the color, and what lemons taste like. I let him dip his finger in some lemon juice to try it too! Try a fresh lemon too. Simply use what you have on hand and it will be grand!

Also try: Homemade Fizzy Lemonade Science

Lemon Scented Rice Sensory Play Smelling ActivityPin

How To Make Lemon Scented Rice

Note: The lemon juice replaces the vinegar or rubbing alcohol that you may use in other methods of dying rice. Of course, the lemon juice gives the rice the special scent you want! Read more tips at the bottom of the page.


Try lime juice too with green food coloring!

  • White Rice
  • Lemon Juice
  • Yellow Food Coloring (for different shades)
  • A Bin To Play In With Fun Scoops/Bowl


What else can you do with lemons? Make a lemon volcano.

Step 1: Measure one cup of rice into a container with lid.

Step 2: Add one teaspoon of lemon juice. (It has a pretty strong scent with this amount, adjust to preference).

Step 3: Add the desired amount of food coloring.

Step 4: Spread on a paper towel and let dry (30 mins for ours).

Step 5: Play!

lemon scented rice sensory bin set upPin

Tips For Easy Colored Rice Every Time

  1.  The rice should be dry in an hour if you stick to one cup per paper towel. I find the color is distributed the best this way too.
  2. For some sensory bins, I have made graded shades of colors for a fun twist. This has also allowed me to experiment with how much food coloring to use per cup of rice to achieve desired shades!
  3. Store your rice in gallon zip lock bags when finished and reuse often!

More Helpful Ideas For Sensory Bins

Sensory play is an amazing tool for young children. It’s the perfect hands-on play for early learning. Sensory bins are so versatile and easy to use and create. Make sure to check out the resources below for more on sensory bin and sensory play!

More Easy Sensory Play Recipes To Try

Click on the image below or on the link for more fun sensory play recipes for kids.


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