Natural Elements Sensory Play: Rice Sensory Bin Challenge | Still Playing School

Natural Elements Sensory Play: Rice Sensory Bin Challenge

What would my kids do with a bin of plain rice? What natural elements would they add to their sensory play outdoors? 

The Rice Sensory Bin Challenge created by Little Bins for Little Hands dared several bloggers to present our children with only a plain rice sensory bin to see what would naturally unfold.

The children would be permitted to add toys and tools to their sensory play if they wished. I thought about moving our bin out to our deck so that I could allow D to be a bit messier with the rice than I would permit inside but then I realized that there would be no materials for them to add if they wished.

So we took our rice sensory bin to the park! I was excited to see what natural elements the kids might add to their play.

Toddler D has been a bit resistant to sensory play. I am still investigating why but I did notice that he was more engaged on this day when I didn't protest as the materials were sprinkled out of the bin. Yet as you can see he made his mess, wiped off his hands, tried to brush the mess away, and took off.

My preschooler E enjoyed playing with the rice all by itself. She explored the tactile experience by itself more than I've seen her do in our more varied sensory bins. She got quite the fine motor work in the process.

She did eventually add a stick to her play but that was the only tool she used. D watched her and then modeled her play stirring with a smaller stick of his size!

I do have a confession to make. I did add one wild violet to the bin because I want them to find their sister everywhere.

See what happened with other children were presented with a plain bin of rice:


  1. How fun!! I love the wild violet :)

  2. I am really looking forward to setting up some sensory bins this summer with my girls outside. You have so many great ideas and I have so many to chose from thanks to you! I really love that you put a wild violet in this bin.

  3. Gorgeous post of child led play!! (and love your wild violet addition xx) Anna @ Kids Play Space

  4. So sweet to add a violet to the bin! It's a great idea to have taken this outside - they can get a little more messy with it that way!