Starry night sensory bin

This is such an easy activity to create, is easy to set up and kept my two monkeys entertained for ages.

Starry night sensory bin


What you will need:

  • Rice
  • White vinegar
  • Black food colouring
  • Glitter
  • Star sequins
  • Gold pipe cleaners

This is a good time of year for this activity because the longer nights are drawing in and craft shops have started stocking their Christmas lines, which are made up of lots of gold.


To colour the rice you will need:

  • Rice
  • White vinegar
  • Black food colouring
  • Glitter


I previously wrote a post with specific measurements to colour the rice (you can read that here), but as I do more sensory activities the more I revert to ‘a splash of this and a dash of that’.


To start I lined a bread tin (you can also use a plastic mixing bowl) with grease proof paper, added a splash of white vinegar and mixed the two together. I then gradually added black food colouring, while continuing to mix the rice until I achieved the colour I was aiming for. I then added a generous amount of glitter and mixed that in too.


I then left the rice to dry for 24 hours.


Once the rice was dry, I put in in our sensory tray and added some gold sequin stars. I also found some foam stars used for card making, so I removed the mounting tape and threw those in too. I then laid a couple of gold pipe cleaners on the top and let the boys dig in.



The boys loved moving the rice around the tray and Oliver then grabbed his toy aeroplanes to fly through the night’s sky. We spent a lot of time talking about the texture of the rice and the sound it made when we picked it up and poured it back into the tray. We also talked about the colours in the tray, as well as how the stars were shiny and reflective.



Once the boys had finished playing with the sensory tray, any rice that had spilled was easyily hoovered up. I then reused the coloured rice and gold star sequins to use in a sensory bottle, which the boys loved shaking.


I decided to fill the bottle three quarters of the way up so that the noise it makes when shaked is that little bit denser. This bottle is quite visual because of the contrast in colour between the black rice, the gold star sequins and glitter. The boys love rolling it across the floor to see all the stars move around the bottle, which opened up a conversation about shooting stars.


This was such a great activity for space week and we had a great time talking about the night’s sky.


*Note: This activity isn’t edible. All sensory activities, including this one should be supervised at all times. Neither I or Our Fairytale Adventure hold any responsibility for any accident or injury caused while taking part in this sensory activity.


Would you give this sensory activity a go? Let me know how you get on in the comments, on Twitter, Instagram, or on Facebook. You can also follow me on Pinterest.

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11 thoughts on “Starry night sensory bin

  1. My little sister has sensory issues and we try and encourage her through sensory play. She has a thing about textures, she likes some and is not keen on others. I will suggest this to my foster mum and see what she thinks x

    1. I have a lot of sensory and messy play ideas under the ‘activities’ tab. Let me know if you go ahead and recreate some of them.

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