I’ve always had a soft spot for sensory bins, but a RAINBOW sensory bin really takes it up a notch!
Most recently, I dyed lima beans and made rainbow beans for a sensory bin, and it came out so pretty! I think it’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!
Depending on where you buy them (I got ours from Target), I love that lima beans can be very affordable.
And much like the rainbow rice, you can reuse them many times! I just store them in a large ziploc bag and then hide them away for a couple weeks so our boys forget about them. And then bring them out again and it’s almost like a brand new activity for the kiddos!
Keep reading to find out how to dye beans for sensory bins! It’s much easier than you think!
**This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.
- lima beans (I made 1 cup for each color. I used 3 pounds total.)
- white vinegar
- food coloring (this one is super pigmented!)
- baking tray
- parchment paper
How to Dye Lima Beans
While dying lima beans is super easy, it can take a while for the beans to fully dry, so just keep that in mind! I would definitely recommend making them a few hours to a day before you want to use them in a sensory bin.
Place 1 cup of lima beans into a ziploc bag.
Put 1 teaspoon of white vinegar into the bag of lima beans.
Drop a couple drops of food coloring of choice into the bag.
Seal the bag tightly and then shake until the food coloring is distributed evenly across all the beans.
Pour the beans onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Make sure to spread them out as thinly as possible. It’s best to have just one layer of beans, so that they all dry evenly.
Put baking tray into oven at 250 degrees F for about 15 minutes. Use a spoon to stir them around and check if they are completely dry.
I loooooove how they turned out! They are so vibrant and pretty!
Once the lima beans are completely dry, let them cool down completely before letting your kiddos play!
How to Use Rainbow Beans
There are so many ways you can use these dyed lima beans! One of the many reasons I love sensory bins! It can be just open-ended play, but you can also usually add an educational twist to hit certain developmental milestones if needed.
Below are some ideas to get you started.
Activity Idea: Color Sorting
Once the beans are all mixed together, place 7 cups in the shape of a rainbow and get your littles to sort the colors. I think it’ll be great color practice for my 2 year old, and I’m sure he would enjoy it too!
Activity Idea: Make a Rainbow!
Draw a simple rainbow using crayons or markers and get your kids to go place the corresponding color beans on each line. This would be a great St. Patrick’s Day activity!
Activity Idea: Patterns
My 4 year old struggled to understand patterns when we first talked about them. But we recently had a unit on patterns and now he sees patterns everywhere!
I plan on asking him to create some different color patterns with these rainbow lima beans. I’m sure he’s going to get quite creative with this!
Activity Idea: Alphabet Practice
Instead of using dot marker alphabet sheets using just dot markers, it could be fun to use these rainbow lima beans to “trace” the letters on the sheets.
Activity Idea: Number Practice
A friend of mine recently sent a photo of an activity she put together for her son. She wrote numbers on the lima beans and she got him to order them on a number board. Such a great idea!
Hope You Try it Out!
I hope I convinced you to try making rainbow lima beans for sensory activities. It’s super easy to make and there are countless activities you can do with them!
If you do make them, I would love it if you tag me on Instagram @discoveringmommyhood!