Pondering Playtime // Rainbow Rice Tuff Spot

March 1, 2019

Welcome back to Pondering Playtime, my fortnightly series where I share a favourite picture book and a craft or play activity to go with it. This week, I’ve chosen Sometimes I Feel Sunny by Gillian Shields, but the real star of the show is the rainbow rice tuff spot activity that I created for the girls to play with.

Rainbow rice sensory tuff spot.

Sometimes I Feel Sunny – What’s the Story?

Sometimes I Feel Sunny isn’t really a story at all; it’s more an exploration of feelings. I really like this book as it’s a lovely way to teach children that we can have all different emotions on different days and in different situations – and that’s okay.

Sometimes I feel Sunny

Rainbow Rice Sensory Tuff Spot

Rainbow rice tuff spot activity.

For this activity, I dyed rice different colours of the rainbow the night before. I used gel food colouring for this, to create the vibrant colours that you can see here. The last time that I dyed rice for an activity, I used alcohol gel to help stop the colour from coming off the rice. I decided not to use alcohol gel this time, as I knew that B would be getting involved with this activity and at 11 months, I was certain she’d be putting the rice in her mouth!

So I simply mixed a little food colouring into dry rice, then popped it in a barely-heated oven to dry out. I probably could have just left it out on the worktop overnight to dry, but I wanted to get it all cleared away and tidy before bedtime.

Then I simply arranged the colours into the shape of a rainbow in the tuff spot, added some pots, pans, and utensils, and left M and B to play!

Rainbow rice sensory tuff spot.

You will need:

Rainbow Rice Sensory Tuff Spot – What M thought

Both girls really enjoyed this activity. It took all of M’s willpower not to dive into the tuff spot before I’d even finished setting it up! This is exactly the kind of sensory tuff tray activity that M enjoys. She loves anything that she can scoop and pour.

In addition to role playing lots of cooking and crafting with the rice, M spontaneously starting using the tongs to pick up grains of rice and transfer them into the pots and pans. This is great for the development of fine motor skills, and getting her little fingers ready for writing.

Development of fine motor skills using rainbow rice.

We also did some mark making in the rice. M has recently discovered Thomas the Tank Engine, and we have been focusing on the number one on Thomas’ side. M demonstrated writing the number one in the rice, and was thrilled with the results!

How to make rainbow rice. Mark making using rainbow rice.

As predicted, B mostly tried to eat the rice! She crawled straight into the middle of the tuff spot and started grabbing and sprinkling the rice. She also enjoyed trying to join in with M’s play, which M wasn’t such a fan of!

Rainbow rice activity


If you enjoyed this, you can find more Pondering Playtime activities here, and you might like to join my Early Years craft and activity Facebook group; Play Craft, Explore. We’d love to have you! And lastly, don’t forget to Pin it!


Wondering how to make rainbow rice for sensory play? Here's my brilliantly engaging rainbow rice tuff spot activity. Lots of fun and easy to do! #EYFS #sensoryplay

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