Sensory Fun: Making a Rice Pit

Rice pit sensory play

Yesterday afternoon we headed outside to play and it started to rain on us. A sun shower to begin, it quickly clouded over and became cold and wet. So we aborted our outdoor plans and headed back inside.

Now what to do?

My eyes spied the big bag of rice that I had bought to make a rice tray for Immy, well no time like the present. I pumped up her blow up pool in an effort to contain the mess the rice would make (though I also keep the dustpan and brush close by!) and then added the tub of rice and an assortment of tubs and spoons.

Sensory play rice pit
She was immediately interested and spent the next 20 minutes absorbed in pouring, stirring, scooping and just running the rice through her fingers – developing those wonderful motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination.

This morning the rice was her first play choice and she returned to it regularly throughout the day. It is a really nice alternative to our outdoor sandpit which has spent the past few weeks completely waterlogged. And like sand, it is a wonderful sensory experience – feeling lovely as it runs between your fingers and sounding melodic as it is poured.

I have plans for extending our rice activities once the initial interest wanes by;

  • Colouring the rice
  • Adding some clear, wide plastic tubing and maybe some cardboard tubes as well
  • Collecting some more plastic bottles, preferably with a wide opening, for pouring
  • I would like to scent the rice as well but as she is still tending to put it in her mouth I am limited to cooking essenses rather than essential oils

Related Posts – More Sensory Play Ideas


  1. SquiggleMum says:

    Thanks – this is an idea we haven't tried!

  2. What a great idea! I keep meaning to do this with my son. (We used bird seed in the past instead of rice and he loved it too!)

  3. Hi Christy

    I have noticed that you leave comments on a few of the blogs I have also been commenting on, so I thought I would pop over to visit you.

    Oh what fun playing with rice. A perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.


  4. Christie Burnett says:

    We are still loving the rice, especially filling little, tiny containers with a big salad spoon!


  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Christy,

    This activity works really well with unpopped popcorn too! And it feels wonderful… we started the popcorn box when my daughter was about 3 and she still plays with it at 13!!!

    Andrea, Orange, CT, USA

  6. Pingback: Irresistible Ideas for play based learning » Blog Archive » more sensory tubs
  7. Kristy Tillman says:

    We’re using quinoa instead of rice as my son is allergic to everything. 🙂 He has SOO much fun with it! We have some traditional sand toys in the box as well. So much fun!

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