Monday, July 07, 2014

Rainbow Oats {How to Dye Oats for Sensory Play}

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.

Rainbow oats: how to dye oats for sensory play from And Next Comes L

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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:

Rainbow oats - how to dye oats for sensory play from And Next Comes L

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?

Rainbow oats - how to dye oats for sensory play from And Next Comes L

Rainbow oats - how to dye oats for sensory play from And Next Comes L

Rainbow oats - how to dye oats for sensory play from And Next Comes L

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.

Close up of rainbow dyed oats for sensory play from And Next Comes L

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. 

Drawing in rainbow dyed oats sensory bin from And Next Comes L

Sensory play for kids using rainbow dyed oats from And Next Comes L

Sensory play for kids using rainbow dyed oats from And Next Comes L

Sensory play for kids using rainbow dyed oats from And Next Comes L

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!

Sensory play for kids using rainbow dyed oats from And Next Comes L

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.

Sensory play for kids using rainbow dyed oats from And Next Comes L

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Rainbow oats - how to dye oats for sensory play from And Next Comes L
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32 comments:

  1. Ahhhhhhhh-mazingly beautiful! I love your ideas and your photography! Plus RAINBOW!!!!

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  2. Beautifullllll!!! And your photos rock my world!

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    Replies
    1. Coming from you that is a huge compliment! Thank you so much, Stephanie!!

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  3. Gorgeous!!! And like the others said, your photos are fantastic!

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    1. You ladies are making me blush! I have been working so hard on improving my photos so I love that my hard work is being noticed! :)

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  4. Replies
    1. I loved so many more photos than the ones I used. It was so hard to pick my favorites!

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  5. Such a great idea Dyan - one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" moments. So cool! And yes, the pictures are stunning!

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    Replies
    1. Because if you thought of it, then I wouldn't have! HA! And thanks, Sue!

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  6. Oh!! I love it! So simple and such a great idea!! :)

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    1. Thanks, Anik! Simple is always best. :)

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  7. Making them right now! :-) The kids will be so happy when they get up from their naps.

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    1. So, water and color quantities are not the same at all with food coloring. I ended up using almost 3-4 TBSP of water with at least 8-10 drops of coloring to get the same vibrancy as yours. But they are drying now, I can't wait for the kids to see! :-)

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    2. Here you are! That was fun... http://familyfaithfoodfabric.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/364-days-and-our-first-sensory-bin/

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    3. Aw yes! I will edit the post to remind others that liquid watercolors are way more intense and that food coloring will require more drops. And I love how yours turned out! It looks like the kids LOVED it! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Fantastic - absolutely love this idea and will be trying it out asap! Thanks for sharing!!

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    Replies
    1. Excellent! I hope you come back and share how yours turned out. :)

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  9. I wonder if this could be used for art purposes as well as sensory? My 4 year old loves art!

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    1. I bet it would work great! I haven't tried it, but if you do, then please let me know how it turns out.

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  10. I tried this, but my oats all just clumped together. Do you have any idea what I might have done wrong?

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    1. It could be that you need to use a different kind of oats. I used large flake whole grain oats and there was no clumping. Another possibility is that you had too much liquid for the oats. Hope that helps!

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  11. No idea what I am doing wrong. Same amount of liquid watercolours and water as mentioned above, and only about half of the cup of rolled oats end up a pale green!

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    1. It could be either that you are using a different type of oats than I did or the liquid watercolors that you are using aren't as vibrant in color. Of all the colors, my green oats are definitely not as vibrant as the other colors.

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  12. If you don't mind the colors being premixed, this instantly reminded me of fruity pebbles in color and shape. The off brand goes on sale for a buck a bag and is edible. Never would have thought to use cereal as sensory play.

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    1. People keep telling me they look like fruity pebbles. I've never seen fruity pebbles before. I don't know if you can purchase them here. But it would definitely make a great sensory bin filler!

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  13. This is just fantastic and as I've eaten the last bowl of porridge this morning I'll have to buy some more to do this!!! I will share on my Facebook Group :)

    Monica

    http://mamabeesimple.blogspot.com
    http://facebook.com/mamabeesimple

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    1. Hahaha! Well, oats are for eating after all. :)

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  14. I made the color oats with fall colors, my preschool kids loved it we added cinnamon stick for a sensory scent and went really well with scoops and small containers. Thank you for the idea!

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    1. Oh that sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

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