Magnetic Shapes in Rainbow Rice
Kade and I have been working on identifying, matching, and naming 2-D shapes lately. We've been doing so a few different ways, including using the shape play doh mats I created and shared recently. Another fun way we've been practicing these skills is through sensory play! Kade absolutely LOVES playing in rice, and I recently bought some fun neon colored food coloring so I'd been meaning to dye some rainbow rice to use for different activities. We had these shape magnets from the Target dollar section awhile back that are such bright, fun colors and a great size for a sensory bin.
Since I can't link the exact magnetic shapes I used here, I am going to link some really great Melissa & Doug shape magnets that would also work perfectly for this activity. Here are those magnets, along with the other materials needed for this activity:
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- large, plastic, storage tub/some sort of sensory bin
- white rice
- large ziploc baggies
- neon food coloring (pink, purple, blue, & green)
- regular food coloring (I used the yellow from this box)
- magnetic shapes
- easel paper (or any kind of large paper)
- markers (these are my all-time fave)
Dying the rice:
- 1 cup of rice
- 2 tbs of vinegar
- generous amount of food coloring
Combine everything in a sealed Ziploc bag and mix it all up until the rice is the color you want. I did this 5 times in 5 separate baggies with yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink food coloring. Lay each color out to dry on a cookie sheet with tin foil and then pour all the rice into a tub and mix it all up!
Tracing the shapes:
That's literally all I did. I traced the magnets onto a large piece of white paper, using corresponding colors to help with the matching/identifying. I also labeled them just in case he happened to notice any similarities in the letters/words.
I hid the shapes in the bin with the rice and encouraged Kade to find one shape at a time and then match it onto our giant puzzle. We treated this kind of like "hide and seek" with shapes and he loved that since he's super into that game right now. He wanted to hide the shapes and find them over and over and continues to request to play with the "colored rice."
I shared this activity on Instagram, and had some people ask for a printable version since they didn't have any magnetic shapes. I linked to the Melissa & Doug shape magnets earlier in this post in case you did want to purchase some, however, I also created a printable version so you could create your own!
You can print in either black and white OR color, and I included a version that labels a "diamond" as a "rhombus" instead. I had someone say they've had trouble finding shapes labeled this way and that's how her school's kindergarten readiness assessment labels it- thought I would just give that option in case someone else is facing that issue.
The printable can be used in a few different ways. You can simply print, cut out the shapes, and match them, OR you can print, laminate, cut out the shapes, and use Velcro dots for the matching piece (you could tape the mats into a file folder for easy storage, too). Lastly, if you want to re-create a game similar to what we did with the magnets, you can print, laminate, cut out the shapes, and then attach the mats to a cookie sheet (or the fridge), and use magnetic tape to turn the shapes into your own shape magnets!
You can download the printable version of this game by clicking the image below. :) Have fun!