Sensory Play for Kids: Scented Watermelon Rice

I have always been a Summer Girl.  I don’t know if it’s that fact that my birthday is at the end of May, or that I was just born to run around barefoot, but the arrival of the warmest months of the year always puts me in good spirits.  Naturally, my ideas for activities for the twins have begun to lean towards summer fun, and I thought I’d share one with you today- an invitation to play with scented watermelon rice!

Watermelon sensory rice from Twodaloo

Although I have dyed rice for sensory bins before, I had never tried adding a scent. Luckily, I found this awesome tutorial at Mama Miss all about using Kool-aid to dye rice. This method was really easy and yielded beautifully colored and fragrant rice; I’ll let you hop on over to her post for the specifics. For the red rice, I used watermelon flavored Kool-aid, rubbing alcohol, and a few drops of red food coloring to make the color pop.  For the green rice, I used just plain rubbing alcohol (two tablespoons per two cups of white rice) and green food coloring- there is a fun green Kool-aid flavor, but since I was going for a watermelon scent, I didn’t want any other scents competing with it. Some people have reported that using rubbing alcohol to dye rice gives the rice a faint alcohol odor- if you would rather not use alcohol, Deborah at Teach Preschool has a tutorial HERE. Either way, we’ve got you covered!

scented watermelon sensory rice

Isn’t that just gorgeous? To present the rice to the twins, I decided to arrange a lot of it into a watermelon slice on a vintage metal tray.  Dried black beans became the perfect “seeds.”

Next, I placed the tray outside on our art table in a shady spot on the patio.  To complete the invitation, I surrounded the tray with containers filled with the extra rice and beans as well as a few tools for dumping, filling, and stirring.  Then I added the twins!

Watermelon sensory rice from Twodaloo

It was so interesting to watch how they played with this rice! I really thought they would jump right in and start mixing the rice on the tray right away.  Instead, they began carefully adding handfuls of the extra rice to the tray, filling in all the blank spots around the watermelon. They used all the red first, and then went back and added the green.  Sydney kept saying, “It’s bootiful, Mommy!”  The process reminded me of a documentary I saw on Navajo sand painting. So cool.

Watermelon sensory rice from Twodaloo

Once all the rice was added, they finally decided to begin mixing, pouring, and dumping.

Watermelon sensory rice from Twodaloo

It was really pretty all mixed together!

Watermelon sensory rice from Twodaloo

And fragrant 😉  My little scent-lover spent lots of time simply sniffing the rice.

Watermelon sensory rice from Twodaloo

Toward the end of our play time, I added some green play dough.  The twins happily made “nice monsters” and “watermelon worms” until it was time for lunch.

Watermelon sensory rice from Twodaloo
Oh, and I got a watermelon pedicure, complete with rice and bean “bling.”  Will is quite the artiste 😉

Watermelon sensory rice from Twodaloo

It was such a fun, fragrant way to spend a morning with an activity inspired by one of my favorite summer treats!


You might also like:


  1. Oh my goodness, how fun and creative is this idea. How the heck did you get it to look so perfect and symmetrical? Love it.

  2. Love this! I’d love for you to stop by and link this up to Tot School Tuesday :)

  3. What a lovely invitation to play! And great pedicure, by the way!
    Looking forward to your series with GAJR. :)

  4. O’ it looks so super fun!..I think i totaaly love the watermelon plating! just so gorgeous and so good to teach your kids fruits :)!

  5. LOVE the colors :) And love that Pedicure ( I saw it in Instagram before)

  6. High Five! for remembering to take a picture of your watermelon before your kiddos started to play! I would have forgot!

    I just love this idea of scented rice. Kool-aid packets are on sale and there is a coupon! I will be picking some up this week! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. I echo your sentiments when it comes to summer time! I attribute it to being a summer baby. I always feel like I’m simply waiting and enduring during the fall and winter months, and when Spring rolls around, I come to life again. :) I absolutely love this activity, Stephanie! Pinning in hopes of doing something similar with the Hooligans one day.

  8. I’ve really been enjoying seeing the picture of this happy watermelon all over this week! It’s really interesting how they filled in the blank spaces first. Kids…always surprising us!


  1. […] Scented Watermelon Rice […]

  2. […] Then, I decided to make it into a small world for our dinosaurs by adding black beans, the scented watermelon rice leftover from our sensory rice activity, some cuttings from our garden, and a random deer horn from […]

  3. […] Scented Watermelon Sensory Rice from Twodaloo is right up my alley! O how I love color rice! […]

  4. […] Scented Watermelon Sensory Rice ~ add the smell of summer to your next invitation to play. […]

  5. […] are a few more beautful dry sensory play invitations we have done recently: Scented Watermelon Sensory Rice, Lemonade Pretend Play with Scented Sensory Rice,  Strawberry Picking Sensory […]