Easy literacy-building sensory bins like this Rainbow Egg Letter Matching Easter Sensory Bin are perfect for practicing upper and lowercase letters.
A focus for my kids right now is becoming more familiar with upper- and lowercase letters. I’m sure your kids are the same – they prefer one over the other and can more easily identify either upper or lower case letters.
Rainbow-themed sensory bins always go down well with my crew. We started with edible sensory bins when they were toddlers and have upgraded to a rainbow barley sensory bin and rainbow cloud dough in recent years.
This rainbow rice can first be presented in a striped rainbow pattern if you’d like. I personally love this gorgeous confetti look more than I liked the striped rainbow, so this is how I presented this bin. (And then you also don’t have any children upset when their friends inevitably “ruin” the rainbow.)
How to Make a Rainbow Rice Easter Sensory Bin
First, gather your materials:
- 18 cups of rice (approximately 9lbs)
- Food dye (all rainbow colors or just primary colors)
- 6 teaspoons of flavor extract OR water
- 6 baking sheets
- 26 plastic Easter Eggs
- Sharpie permanent marker
Just a quick note, I always make my recipe with 3 cups of rice per color because 3 cups of rice fits and dries nicely on my (regular sized) baking sheets. You could definitely make this recipe with only 1 cup of rice per color, just adjust the liquid accordingly.
You can make each color of rice with a different scented extract or just use the same scent for each color – it’s really up to you. I just used a few different scents that I already had on hand in my DIY play dough making kit.
You can also use water or rubbing alcohol, but I really prefer using flavor extracts for an added sensory benefit (and it definitely is more enjoyable for me to make than when I attempted using rubbing alcohol – bleh!)
Start by placing 3 cups of rice in a large metal or glass bowl.
Add 15-20 drops of food coloring to a Tablespoon and then fill it halfway with your flavor extract. Swirl them together a bit (or us a toothpick to mix) and then pour over the rice.
Stir the color in well, adding more as needed to achieve your desired color.
Once you achieve the color saturation that you like, pour the rice out of the bowl and onto a baking tray. Smooth it down to a flat, even layer and let dry for at least 2 hours.
While the rice is air drying, take your Sharpie marker and write upper and lower case letters on each half of your Easter eggs and break them in two.
When you’re ready, mix all of the rice together in a giant sensory bin – I used a rolling bin from Ikea – and then bury and scatter all of your plastic Easter eggs in the rice. I took care to bury the letters that come later in the alphabet further down and put the beginning letters at the top (for the most part) because I know my crew would want to find the letters in the order of the alphabet. This isn’t as big of a deal if you’re dealing with a longer/wider sensory bin instead of a deep one like I used.
My kids loved scooping the rice and running it through their fingers in between trying to find matching eggs throughout this Easter sensory bin.
As an added bonus, a bit of rice in a sealed egg served as a fun “shaker egg” like we use in our circle time songs.
As an added challenge, you can provide small baskets for each child and have them gather as many matches as they can. Maybe they can “cash” their matches in for a prize if you have that type of system in your classroom.
As a bonus, the Sharpie wipes off easily with a wet paper towel or rag, so this activity does not ruin your Easter eggs – allowing you to find new uses for them. This activity would also be great for putting numbers and then a corresponding number of dots or tallies on the other half of the egg.
The rice also stores easily and can be used for a very long time. I often use my sensory bin fillers at least 5-6 times before I consider throwing it out. (That’s really going to depend on the age of your crew and whether or not you require them to wash their hands well before playing or if it’s openly available at all times.)
My kids loved this easy rainbow egg sensory bin and it’s definitely an easy sensory bin to set up and keep organized. You can grab the eggs year-round from online party supply stores, or grab them at various dollar stores during the Spring.