“There’s only so much rolling a ball I can take, what other activities are there for toddlers these days?” My friend Marylyn asked me early one morning while we were prepping for a news segment. Gosh…it’s been a LONG time since my kids were ‘littles’. My youngest since six. SIX! But I still remember the days of pans banging, bottom cupboards and draws spilled out on the floor and blocks every where. 

Even those activities get a little boring so I made a list of my favorite activities that kept my kids busy. The best part is most of these are learning and sensory activities designed to keep their attention. The rainbow rice is one my kids loved best. It’s easy to make and can be created into other activities besides a treasure bin!  

Marylyn this post is just for you! 

Rainbow Rice 

An easy DIY sensory bin your toddler will go crazy for! 

Rainbow Rice Heather Riggleman

Sensory activities are so much fun for little ones who are just learning to interact with the world around them. From different textures to fun colors, this activity is awesome! 

You’ll Need:

Bin with lid (large enough to fit your rice)

Lots of white rice—4-10 pounds

Large plastic zipper bags

White Distilled Vinegar

Food coloring in 3-6 colors

Treasures and play things (measuring cups, funnel, balls, jewels, creatures, etc.

What to do:


First, divide your rice into equal portions and pour into your zipper bags. I chose to have 4 different colors of rice, so I used 4 different bags.

Next, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 5-10 drops of food coloring to each bag of rice. Remove most of the air and seal the bag shut. Gently, shake and turn the bag until all of the rice is colored. Add more food coloring until you reach the color you like.


Pour rice onto wax paper and allow to air dry, usually about an hour.

Once the rice is dry, add your treasures and play things and let your little one go to town! Let her play with it on the floor; this is will make clean up a cinch. Just sweep it up. 


Other Activities 

1. Cardboard Tubes and Pom Poms 


2. Soapy Jars


3. Cloud Dough


 Cloud dough is a simple activity! To make a batch, combine 8 cups of flour with 1 cup of oil. Then mix with your hands for 3-5 minutes. When dough starts to sticks better, you’ll know it’s ready. Next, let your toddler go to town with a toy or just her hands. 

4. Water Play with a Whisk





Hand your toddler a bowl filled with just a little water and a wisk and let her go to town.

5. Flashlight Fun


  • Scissors
  • Uninflated balloons (one red, one yellow, and one blue)
  • Flashlight
  • Rubber bands


  1. Cut the rounded ends from the balloons.
  2. Stretch one balloon end over a flashlight and hold it in place with a rubber band.
  3. In a darkened room, have your child shine the flashlight on the ceiling or a wall to see the colorful light.
  4. Change colors.
  5. Layer balloons to see how mixing the colors creates new ones: yellow over blue to make green, red over yellow to make orange, and so on.
  6. If you have three flashlights, place a different color on each.
  7. Shine two or more colors on the same spot to create a new color.

6. Ice Trains


7. Spaghetti Potion.

 Cook up some spaghetti (or even better, use leftovers), add some color to it to make spaghetti potion.

8. Slim Gel

slimy gel bag is a squishy sensory delight for toddlers!

9. Flour

 Just flour. Let your toddler explore flour freely.

10. Water and Flour Piping.

Add water to the flour and put in a baggy for some flour & water piping.

11. Play with Pasta



12. Googly Eyes

Add hair gel and some googly eyes to a large bag and let your toddler have all the fun! 


13. Shaken Ball Art 

14. DIY Finger Paint

Finger paint for toddlers can be as simple as giving her a pudding cup and letting her finger paint on paper. Other ideas include DIY Finger Paint with corn starch. Visit At The Butterfly Ball for the recipe. 

15. Flarp 



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