Friday, November 29, 2019

Rainbow Oats {How to Dye Oats for Sensory Play}

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Find out how to dye oats for sensory play and make a rainbow oats sensory bin for your kids.

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 (i.e., it had some cracks in it).

Well, thankfully, I remembered to pick up a new sensory bin container while running errands. And we kicked off our return to sensory bins with a colorful (new-to-us) base (it's almost as awesome as these rainbow dyed chickpeas).

We haven't used oats as a sensory bin filler before. Now, I'm sure that the boys would have enjoyed playing with some plain old oats all on their own, but 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.

Ready to try some making some rainbow oats yourself?

Well, let's take a look at how to dye oats and put together a colorful sensory bin that your kids are sure to love!

Rainbow oats sensory bin: how to dye oats for sensory play

Rainbow Oats Sensory Bin: What You'll Need

Dyeing the oats for this sensory bin is very straightforward. Since we are passed the mouthing stage in our house, I went the non-edible route (i.e., I used liquid watercolors). However, if you need the oats to be taste safe/edible, then you'll want to use food coloring instead.

To dye the oats, you will need:

  • Water - This will be used to disperse the coloring among the oats.

Please note that you will need to prep these oats ahead of time, but, once they're made, you can reuse them as they last for a long time. So let's get dyeing!

Playing with rainbow dyed oats

How to Dye Oats for Sensory Play

Okay, now let's take about how to color oats...

In a bowl (or zipper seal bags, if that's the method you chose), 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 for a few reasons. One, the oats will get mushy. Two, they might get moldy if you're hoping to store them for long time use.

Once the water and coloring was mixed, I added a cup of rolled oats. Then I mixed everything up until the oats were evenly coated.

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.

Repeat for all the other colors. As you can see, I made six different colors so I had to mix six batches of colored oats and wait for them to dry.

After everything was nice and dry (again, it took about one hour), I arranged the colored oats into a rainbow. Isn't it pretty? The answer is yes, obviously.

Colored oatmeal sensory bin for kids

Colored oatmeal sensory bin for kids

Rainbow oats

Of course, all the colored oats will be thoroughly mixed in a matter of seconds once the kids start playing with them, leaving a bin full of colorful confetti-like sensory fun. But it was nice to enjoy the nicely lined up rainbow colors for a few seconds though.

Here's how the rainbow colored oats look once they're all mixed up.

Rainbow porridge sensory bin

Rainbow Oats: A Fun Twist on the Classic Oatmeal Sensory Bin for Kids!

The rainbow oats were irresistible to my boys! My oldest, J, loved to draw shapes, letters, and numbers in them (as one does when you're hyperlexic). And he loved to scoop them up and let them fall gently between his fingers.

How to dye oats

How to dye oats for sensory play

How to dye oats for sensory play

Rainbow oats sensory bin

Don't the rainbow colored oats look just like confetti? I mean, they're so pretty!

As for my youngest K, he 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!

Toddler playing with rainbow sensory bin

All in all, this sensory bin was a major hit. I know that we will definitely be playing with these rainbow oats for the rest of the week! How can we not?! Just look at all those gorgeous morsels of color. They're so inviting and practically begging to be played with.

Sensory play with rainbow oats

How Long Do Rainbow Oats Keep For?

A common question I get is about how long these colored oats last.

Well, I still have this same set of rainbow oats even 5+ years later. I just keep them sealed in an airtight container or zipper seal bag. Some of the oats have broken down a bit from being played with, but that's about it. They haven't gone moldy or anything.

So the answer is they last a long time!

What do you think? Will you be making some rainbow oats to play with?

Rainbow oats sensory bin: how to dye oats for sensory play

Rainbow oats sensory bin: how to dye oats for sensory play