Rainbow Beans Sensory Bin
Rainbow rice was such a hit at our house that when it came time to freshen it up we decided to try out something new. Enter: Rainbow Beans!
I found that the beans don't take color quite as well as the rice, so after experimenting with various techniques (with/without vinegar, gel vs. liquid food coloring, soaking or not, etc) this was the most effective way to dye them.
Be warned: the color will come off the beans if they get wet - so keep them dry, far away from white carpets and upholstery, and be prepared for colorful hands after play, especially if there is sweat or drool involved.
What you'll need
Dry white or light colored beans (I used great northern beans)
Sheet pan, lined
Plastic food container with lid
Soaking the beans and adding vinegar seemed to make the casings flake off, so the easiest way with these was the best - just add food coloring to the beans, shake 'em up, let them dry.
To fill our tub I used 24oz of beans per color. Best to buy these in bulk. I could only find organic in 16oz packages and it got expensive quickly! (But the play value already has made it worth it.) Pour your beans in your plastic storage container, add food coloring - I used about 30 drops per 24oz, put on the lid and shake the beegeebees out of 'em. Mixing colors is totally fine. I used regular colors as well as these neon colors to get the full, colorful rainbow.
After they are evenly coated, pour them onto your baking sheet. Lining the baking sheet with foil or parchment paper makes life easier, if you have some. Spread them out and let them dry.
It takes some time (like 2+ hours) for them to dry, so this stage takes some patience. Ours dried faster outdoors and with frequent stirring.
Once they are dry you can use your foil or parchment paper to transfer them to a bowl or bin.
Wipe out your plastic container and sheet pan between batches to keep the colors from cross contaminating.
Once your beans are all dry it's time to dig in! Spend a little time enjoying the rainbow and discussing all the colors before it gets all mixed up.
But of course, even mixed up, they are lovely!
Please keep in mind that if these beans get wet, the color WILL COME OFF. Sweaty hands count. So be prepared that hands will get food coloring on them and keep the beans away from anything including clothing you wouldn't want to get food coloring on. I found it washes off hands easily but I wouldn't want to get it on a white couch or anything!
So have fun and scoop, pour, measure, dig, bury, and play in whatever other fun creative way you and yours come up with! Let me know how you liked it in the comments below!
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