Rice Sensory Table Ideas

Instructor: Elizabeth Diehl

Elizabeth studied to be a special education teacher at Regis University, and received her masters in 2014.

Rice tables have become staples in the special education classroom, but what are some ways we can make them more interesting? This lesson includes a few ideas for making your rice table routines more stimulating.

Rice Table Ideas

Rice provides a versatile medium for sensory activities. While rice is lightweight and its grains are larger than those found in sand, it still provides a similar experience to playing in sand. It is also a low-cost material that your students will enjoy for a long time. Once you get started thinking of ways to make the rice table new, it is hard to stop!

Here are some ideas that may provide you with some inspiration when adding to your rice table. They're organized according to some of the senses, including texture, sight and even smell, but rice tables can also incorporate imaginative play themes too.

Sensory Ideas

Touch and Textures

Rice itself provides a wonderful texture to move one's hands in. Consider adding other objects to your rice table to enhance the sensory experience of touch, such as dried beans or plastic beads.

You can stick to one kind of bean, such as small lentils, or large lima beans, or mix beans together for added variety. Look for large plastic beads that have bumpy surfaces, or shapes (such as stars) and even animals. Then provide scoops and small cups for students to use when exploring the materials; funnels and even cardboard tubes also lead to interesting tactile experiences. Some students might enjoy searching for and sorting certain kinds of objects, such as finding all the lima beans and putting them in a bowl, or scooping all the beads into the funnel.

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