A calming sensory bin for kids to unwind with before naptime or bedtime, this Lavender Rice Sensory Bin is super simple to make at home and can be played with in so many different ways.
DIY Lavender Scented Rice
Anyone else have a houseful of nap resistors?
Between my daughter and my daycare kids, I usually have at least one child who is just not interested in nap time. Usually, I rely on a couple of instrumental CDs to help wind them down and lull them to sleep, but some days even that doesn’t work!
Whenever people talk about sleep issues with kids, lavender essential oil or adding lavender into baths is brought up. Neither of those work for my daycare, but I thought using lavender essential oil to make a lavender sensory bin might be worth experimenting with on tricky days.
I used my simple rice dyeing method to make some purple rice and added some lavender essential oil to it. I kept the sensory bin really simple – no additional scoops or toys – hoping that the gentle experience of just running their hands through the silky, cool rice would provide an additional calming effect.
I think the combination of whatever effects the lavender has and the calm, transitional experience of the sensory bin does have some merits. Providing a calming activity before nap time, whether this lavender sensory bin or something else, is definitely something I want to pay more attention to going forward.
The lavender scented rice not only makes a great, calming base for a sensory bin, it can also be used to make a writing tray (as my daughter discovered using the stalks of real lavender that I included to draw designs and trace out letters in the bin) and you can also use some of the rice to make scented sachets, whether to use as a hot rice pad or impart the scent in drawers (where it also serves as a moth repellent).
Lavender Rice Materials
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Purple Food Coloring, optional <– this set of food coloring has lasted me forever and I love that it creates highly saturated colors with just a drop
- Lavender Buds or Stalks, optional
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: you can use this method of dyeing and adding scent to rice with a variety of colors and scents.
How to Make Lavender Scented Rice
I used approximately 1 Tablespoon of water per cup of rice. Add several drops of the food dye and a couple drops of lavender essential oil to the water and then stir into the rice.
Stir the dyed water well in the rice until fully coated, adding more water and dye as needed.
Pour the dyed rice out onto a cookie sheet or tray and flatten into an even layer.
Allow to dry overnight.
Place the rice in a sensory tray or bin. If you have lavender buds or lavender stalks, they make a great addition to this sensory bin.
Grab your free printable for our lavender rice recipe:
- 6 cups Rice
- 1 teaspoon Lavender Essential Oil
- 6 Tablespoons Water
- Purple Food Dye, optional
- Lavender Buds or Stalks, optional
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Mixing Bowl
- Baking Tray
- Sensory Bin
- Add several drops of the food dye and a couple drops of lavender essential oil to the water and then stir into the rice.
- Stir the dyed water well in the rice until fully coated, adding more water and dye as needed.
- Pour the dyed rice out onto a cookie sheet or tray and flatten into an even layer.
- Allow to dry overnight.
- Place the rice in a sensory tray or bin. If you have lavender buds or lavender stalks, they make a great addition to this sensory bin.
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Timoo Dried Lavender Bundles 100% Natural Dried Lavender Flowers for Home Decoration, Photo Props, Home Fragrance, 2 Bundles Pack
Wilton Icing Colors, 12-Count Gel-Based Food Color
PURA D’OR Lavender Essential Oil (4oz / 118mL) USDA Organic 100% Pure Natural Therapeutic Grade Diffuser Oil For Aromatherapy, Relaxation, Peaceful Sleep, Stress & Anxiety Relief, Meditation, Massage
I hope your kids love this easy lavender rice sensory bin and it helps make the transitions to nap time and bedtime in your house a little smoother!
For more easy sensory play ideas for kids, check out our full Sensory Play collection here: