It's been awhile since we've done a good old fashioned sensory bin, mostly because our sensory bin container was in dire need of replacement. Well, thankfully, I remembered to pick up a new sensory bin container while running errands. Then we kicked off our return to sensory bins with a colorful (new-to-us) base. I haven't used oats as a sensory bin filler before. And while I'm sure that the boys would have enjoyed playing with plain old oats on their own, I always like to add a bit of color if I can. So the boys and I spent a morning dyeing oats in all colors of the rainbow, left them in the sun to dry, and were playing with them a few hours later.
These rainbow dyed oats keep for a long time. We've been using this same batch of oats for almost two years now! Here's how to dye oats for sensory play.
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Rainbow Oats: How to Dye Oats for Sensory Play
Dyeing the oats was very straightforward. Since we are passed the mouthing stage in our house, I went the non-edible route. However, you could easily make edible rainbow oats by using food coloring. To dye the oats, you will need:
- 6 cups of large flake whole grain oats (1 cup for each color)
- Liquid watercolors or food coloring
- Paper towel
In a bowl, I mixed approximately 1.5 tablespoons of water with a few drops of liquid watercolors (if you are using food coloring, you will need likely 8-10 drops depending on how vibrant you want them). You want just enough liquid to coat the oats. You do not want them to be drenched. I then added the rolled oats. Once all the oats were evenly coated, I dumped the mixture onto paper towel and left it in the sunroom to dry. Drying time was only about an hour.
I then arranged the colored oats into a rainbow. Isn't it pretty?
Of course, all the colored oats will be thoroughly mixed in a matter of seconds, leaving a bin full of colorful confetti-like sensory fun.
The rainbow oats were irresistible to my boys! J loved to draw shapes, letters, and numbers in them. And he loved to scoop them up and let them fall gently between his fingers.
Doesn't it look just like confetti?
K, on the other hand, loved to explore the rainbow oats with his entire body. I've said it many times before, but I will say it again. No sensory bin is complete until there's a child inside the bin itself!
We will definitely be playing with these rainbow oats for the rest of the week! How can we not?! Look at all those gorgeous morsels of color.