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Posted by Casey

There are so many different tutorials out there for dying your sensory materials, but today I’m sharing my favourite way to dye beans for sensory play!

How to dye beans for sensory play | Sensory play ideas for babies, toddlers, preschool and kindergarten students | Easy ideas for play | Playful learning for the early years |

What You’ll Need

  • Packet of beans from the Supermarket
  • Liquid food dyes
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Ziplock bags
  • Baking paper
  • Baking tray

How to Dye your Beans

Step 1 – Separate your beans into ziplock bags. I often like to do a bag for each of my food dye colours but this time I decided just to do three.

Step 2 – Add a few drops of food dye to the bag. Add more for brighter colours!

How to dye beans for sensory play | Sensory play ideas for babies, toddlers, preschool and kindergarten students | Easy ideas for play | Playful learning for the early years |

Step 3 – Add a squirt of hand sanitiser. This seems to help create brighter colours and also helps to spread the colour across the beans without wetting them and making them soggy.

Step 4 – Zip up the bags and SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE! Your Little Learners will especially love helping with this step! If you don’t have ziplock bags, you can also use plastic containers or jars.

Step 5 – I like to spread the beans out on some baking paper to let them air dry. I’ve heard of some people popping them in a low oven but I haven’t tried this.

How to dye beans for sensory play | Sensory play ideas for babies, toddlers, preschool and kindergarten students | Easy ideas for play | Playful learning for the early years |

Step 6 – You’re ready to play!

I set up a simple invitation to play for my 3 year old and 1 year old using an old egg carton, some bowls and some spoons. They loved pouring the beans from one container to the next.

It was also a great exercise for working on those fine motor skills and developing the very important pincer grip!

How to dye beans for sensory play | Sensory play ideas for babies, toddlers, preschool and kindergarten students | Easy ideas for play | Playful learning for the early years |

If you’re wanting to start sensory play but you’re not sure where to start, you’ll love my brand new TOTALLY FREE sensory play shopping list! It also includes three bonus activities for getting started with sensory play today!

About the author

Casey is an early years teacher turned stay at home mum to three little learners aged 6 and under. She is passionate about supporting parents that want to use play as a vehicle to bond with their little learners and create magical memories of childhood! You can follow Casey on Instagram right here.


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  1. Just made the beans but maybe I used the wrong type as they smell very funky!? Does the smell go away from eventually? Thanks!

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