Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Candy Cane Scented Sensory Bin

Today we made a quick craft that will last us for the four+ weeks until Christmas.

I know that I've talked a lot about not liking rice bins, mostly because those little grains get everywhere and they are very hard to pick up with a vacuum. Still, every once in a while I'm willing to put up with a rice-related mess in the name of celebrating and learning. So, put up I did.

Here's what we used:

That's 10 lbs. of white rice, two plastic baggies, red and green food coloring, peppermint essential oil, hand sanitizer, and a bin for play. (I later switched out the bin pictured for a longer, shallower bin to allow more children to play at it.) You don't need as much rice as I used- just enough to occupy your little one. Five pounds would be plenty for single-child households, I imagine.

Last week, Growing a Jeweled Rose posted a slightly different way to do the same idea, and you can read her take on this project here. Of course, I saw her post only after I'd finished our project, but I liked her idea of using peppermint extract instead of essential oils. You can use whichever you have!

What we did:
 First, we poured some rice into a plastic baggie, then added about 4-5 squirts of hand sanitizer and half a bottle of red food coloring. The more coloring you use, the darker your rice will be, so you can add it in stages to ensure you achieve your desired hue.
 Then we sealed the bag well and shook, squeezed and tossed the rice to disperse the color evenly.

 Then we repeated the process with the green food coloring. We left some rice uncolored so that we'd be able to add white to our final product.
 We then spread out our rice onto a baking pan and shallow bin respectively, to allow them to dry. They both dried completely while we were outside playing, even though the red bin had a thicker layer of rice than the green. I imagine the drying process was quite short as a matter of fact- you know your rice is dry once you can touch it without coloring your fingertips.
 Last, we mixed the colors together and played!

 ...aaaaand here's the clean up. At least the artsy culprits are also willing to help put things right again. :)
Did I also mention that my entire house smells amazing? Yes, the mess is hard to take, but the joy on the kiddos faces is well worth the 10 times I'm going to sweep and vacuum today. And hey- peppermint is an energizing scent on the aromatherapy scale, so at least I'll have plenty of energy to tackle that cleaning job. :)

I'm linked up to Montessori Monday and Living Life Intentionally's TGIF Linky.


  1. Bless your heart! You are a brave momma! :) My kids would love this and my house smelling like peppermint wouldn't be too bad either. Maybe I'll work up the nerve to let them make a mess. Thanks for stopping by Montessori MOMents. You have a beautiful family and blog.

  2. Made this for my preschool classroom. Kids had a blast and the room smells festive. Thanks for posting it.

    1. I'm so glad it worked out! I am finding the smell to be a lovely little gift this time of year, as well. :)

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