Meals and Makes citrus sensory play with yellow rice.

Citrus discovery box

Citrus discovery box

Make a citrus discovery box: My girls enjoyed this sort of sensory play when they were babies and they still enjoyed it as preschoolers, it is an ideal relaxing, (not too) messy play activity to do when they are too tired for other games (for example when they come home from preschool).  Using a really good quality food die makes all the difference to the colour of the rice.  Adding a few whole citrus fruit (for example a lemon and a couple of satsumas), lets kids explore and enjoy their texture, shape and smell.

You will need:

White rice,

empty plastic bottle (cleaned and dried),

yellow food colouring (Ive tried supermarket branded dyes with limited success.  The best food colouring I have found is the Wilton brand.  I purchased mine as a box of different colours from Lakeland.  These are a bit more pricey but sometimes you get what you pay for.  A little goes a very long way, so they have lasted us for a long time (and they are just as effective at colouring icing for cakes of course!),

lemon food flavouring,

small orange and yellow toys (building bricks, cars, balls, animals)/ pom poms,

some citrus fruit, washed (for example a lemon and a couple of satsumas)

paper plates and felt tips.


  1. pour some white rice into a clean and dry (empty) orange squash bottle.
  2. Add yellow food colouring and lemon flavouring to the rice and shake with the lid on until the rice is a nice yellow colour with a lemon fragrance.
  3. Spread the rice out on a high-sided baking tray or tea tray and leave to dry over night.
  4. Add lots of small yellow toys (building bricks, cars, balls, animals, spoons etc) and let the kids explore with their senses.
  5. You can easily turn this into a sorting game by providing two paper plates (one coloured orange and one coloured yellow).

TIP:  If you really feel like ‘going to town’ you could remove the shiny wax from the citrus fruit first, so that children can really smell the fruit and dont ingest the wax.  This is really easy to do:  Put the citrus fruit in a large bowl.  Pour over a kettle of boiling water and leave the fruit bobbing in boiling water for a few minutes for the wax to melt.  Remove the fruit and rub with a clean tea towel.

Colour sorting

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8 thoughts on “Citrus discovery box

  1. I am always looking out for new and different activities for children and have never come across anything like this so will definitely give it a go #blogginggoodtime@_karendennis


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