Summer Scented Rice

June 04, 2013
Rice is such a fabulous sensory material, and one that we have in constant rotation.
It is very inexpensive and has such a fun and therapeutic texture. There are also TONS of ways you can color and scent it to create all different play experiences. Some of our favorite rice play recipes that we have shared have been glowing rainbow rice, Christmas scented peppermint rice, and eucalyptus aromatherapy rice for soothing sick kids. Today I am excited to share our latest sensory rice that we have in rotation.
Summer, glorious Summer! I wanted this Summer sensory bin to capture the essence of Summer through scent so I made four different scented rice varieties in FUN Summer colors. Making scented rice is really easy and inexpensive. It also lasts indefinitely, or until it gets soiled, making it great for repeated play. We plan to keep our Summer SCENTED Rice in rotation all Summer long!

To make these Summer scented rice recipes you will need:
  • Zip seal bags
  • Water
  • White Rice (10 pounds for under $5 at Walmart)
  • Kool-aid packets and/or Duncan Hines Frosting Creations which can be found in the baking aisle
  • Food  coloring (optional)
For each rice scent you want to make you will need a separate zip seal bag.  Add the desired amount of rice to each bag.  Then pour in the kool-aid flavor or Duncan Hines Frosting powder scent of your choice.  Depending on the amount of rice you may want to use multiple scented packets.  The Duncan Hines packets are much stronger than the kool-aid, so for those rice varieties we only needed one packet

I made four rice scents:
  • Watermelon- made using roughly 1 pound of rice & 2 watermelon kool-aid packets (I made red and green by adding food coloring)
  • Lemonade- made using roughly 1 pound of rice and 2 lemonade kool-aid packets
  • Orange Creamsicle- made using roughly 1 pound of rice and 1orange cream frosting powder pack.
  • Cotton Candy- made using roughly 1 pound of rice and 1 cotton candy frosting powder pack.
Once you add the powdered scent of your choice mix in enough water to coat the rice and make it moist. I always add a little water at first, and then add more if needed. Adding too much water will result in the rice taking a longer time to dry. You can use rubbing alocohol to speed drying, but in my experience that takes away from the wonderful scent of the rice. Seal the bag and shake it up really well. Continue to shake and mix the bag until all the rice is colored. I always add a few drops of food coloring to our rice to get really vibrant color but this step isn't necessary. Once the rice is completely saturated lay it out in a thin layer to dry.

You can make one rice variety or make all of them to gather all the best aromas of Summer into one sensory bin.
Rosie explored each rice individually before we put them together to make our Summer Scent-sory Bin.

As she explored each rice we discussed the scent and how it relates to Summer. She loved all the aromas.
Then I put them all together in a Summer bin along with buckets, shovels, and diggers.

At first the scents and colors were all separated, but I knew that wouldn't last long at all.

The girls have been loving their Summer Scented Rice.

And as they have played the rice has mixed into a beautiful rainbow of vibrant color.
As for the smell, just one wiff and you get all the best aromas of Summer! Pure bliss!
We have had our Summer Scented Rice about a week, and the girls have played with it everyday since we made it! You could add this to your sensory table or simply store it in a covered container. Rice is slightly less messy than sand with a completely different texture. It makes noise when poured, has a calming effect , doesn't track into the house like sand, and keeps indefinitely, making it a favorite for not only Jewel and Rosie but mom and dad, too!

Other Sensory Rice Play Recipes:
Summer scented rice

More About the Author

Crystal Underwood is the writer and creator of Growing A Jeweled Rose. She has worked extensively with children and strongly believes in the importance of play at the core of early learning. She is passionate about the early years and believes that childhood should be a truly magical time in life. For all the best kids activities connect with Growing a Jeweled Rose below!