This activity is a sensory delight! We have always used dried rice (in the container of your choice) as a wonderful way for children to engage in sensory play with their hands. We found this wonderful way to increase the sensory input-color the rice! This blogger found using jello gave the rice color AND a pleasing scent. Use one color, combine different ones, and you can even match to holiday and seasonal themes!
1 bag of rice
1 packet of Jello per color to be used
Large mixing bowl
Dissolve the Jello packet in a small amount of boiling water until it dissolves. Pour over the rice in the bowl and mix until colored. Spread out on parchment lined baking sheets until dry. You may need to break up clumps of rice that are stuck together. Place in a large bin, add measuring spoons/cups, or items to find, and have fun!