My kids not only love to play in different sensory boxes, they also like to help make them. (Use this as a learning opportunity.) For St. Patrick's Day, we decided to make rainbow rice for the filler. This is actually a pretty easy process.
You will need white rice--for a large tub we used 20 cups of rice. It takes more than you think.
Any flavor extract (optional)
A mason jar
Pans lined with paper towels
I colored one cup of rice at a time. Place about 2 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol in the mason jar. Add 10-12 drops of food coloring into the alcohol.
(To add the sense of smell, add a drop of any flavored extract.)
Swirl it around a little bit to mix your color.
(Here is your chance for a learning opportunity. We discussed primary colors and what colors can be mixed to make other colors. We also talked about the colors of the rainbow--ROY G BIV)
Add one cup of rice to the color. Place a lid on the jar and shake until all the rice is colored.
Dump the rice on a pan covered with paper towels. Let it dry for about an hour. (It will get crusty when it is dry. Loosen it up with your hand before you place in the tub.)
For the other objects, I just picked up random supplies at the dollar store and Joann Fabrics. (Golden coins, rainbow puff balls, cookie cutters, green top hats, frog stickers, leprechaun stickers, shamrocks, St. Patrick's Day necklaces, etc. I always put in a bowl and spoon of some sort because my daughter loves to measure and dump.) Another good thing to add to this box is a silicone baking pan of some sort. We have one that has 14 heart spaces. I challenge the kids to different sorting activities. For this box, an example would be to find all the frog stickers they can and place one in each of the heart spots in the pan. If you don't have a silicone baking pan, use a muffin tin. You could have them place one shamrock in the first spot, two in the second, and so forth.
The final product--This really is hours of fun for them.