How to Dye Beans for Sensory Bin Idea: Learning Colors

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How to Dye Beans Learning Colors Sensory Bin Ideas

Last week I shared with you how we were watching Tiddlytubbies and learning about colors – we had SO much fun! This week my 3 year old and I have been having new adventures right inside my living room! We’ve been having crazy fun and discovering new educational videos which is capturing both of our interests! That’s why I wanted to dye beans and make these color sensory bins!

My daughter loves watching videos so why not use technology to our advantage! I love letting her watch educational videos because she learns her colors, numbers, letters and all sorts of fun activities with her favorite characters!

It’s a great way for her to learn while relating to places she loves to go and things she loves to play with! Just watch this episode of Cody at the playground – in 30 minutes my daughter was shouting out letters she recognized, counting, playing pretend and running around the living room looking for the colors that Cody was finding!

Learn Colors at the Playground with Cody:

We wanted to continue working on our colors in a fun way just like Cody so we designed a set of homemade colored sensory bins to play with!

How to Dye Beans:

I went to the store and picked up literally a bag of every single type of beans that I could find in the store. I wanted to try to dye a big variety of them to see what worked best. Below you’ll see what all we ended up with.

bags of beans for sensory bins

Step 1: Place one cup of your choice of dry beans into ziploc bags.

Step 2: Add one squirt of food dye into each bag.

Step 3: Add 1/2 tsp. of rubbing alcohol (or vinegar) into each bag. (Because of the waxy coating on beans I recommend using rubbing alcohol for these colored sensory bins.

Step 4: MIX WELL.

Step 5: Pour beans onto parchment paper or foil to dry.

purple dyed garbanzo beans sensory binblue dyed lentils for sensory bin
green dyed lima beans for sensory binsyellow dyed blackeye peas sensory bin

From the top left going across we dyed purple garbanzo beans, blue lentils, green lima beans, yellow blackeye peas, and not picture we also dyed red pinto beans. The lima beans deteriorated the most as you can see above – the edges started peeling.

The pinto beans took the LONGEST to dry but in the end turned out nicely. Remember there’s a waxy coating on beans so don’t fret if your batches look quite wet! Everything else pretty much dried within a few minutes and was easy to work with.

row of colored sensory bins for play

Now you can mix your colors and beans for a varied tactile activity or separate them out into separate sensory bins like I did above! We have a quick and easy storage tub for each color. Although we chose to do a blue AND green sensory bin to specifically work on telling the different between those two colors!

If you don’t have specific things to add into each color bin you can easily make some! Just grab some paint or markers and color clothespins, add these no sew felt shapes, yarn scraps, pom poms, crayons, faux flowers, buttons, etc.

Each Colored Sensory Bin:

yellow sensory binblue and green sensory bin
purple color sensory binred color sensory bin

You’ll notice that each bin has different materials added inside. At first it seemed a little daunting to find so many smaller items in specific colors but once I started looking around our craft and toy room it was easy to come up with enough items to fill in the sensory bins!

Cody even has a video on learning vegetables with colors¬†and color learning fun at a birthday party!! All of the videos we’ve watched have a variety of educational content so you might be learning about colors but Cody also counts, learns letters and more!

Colored Sensory Bin Ideas Close Up:

yellow color sensory binblue green sensory bin
purple color sensory binred color sensory bin

For my colored beans I specifically used a water based food dye but you could try a food coloring gel to see how you like it! You’ll just need to make sure you mix REALLY well! Store your colored beans in an airtight storage container or ziploc bag for later! These will store pretty indefinitely as well as you keep them away from moisture!

If you’ve got a preschooler like I do then they will LOVE playing with these sensory bins! You can make them themed (farm animals, dinosaurs, puppies and kitties, birds, pirates, mermaids, etc.!) or just a mix of colors!

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4 Comments

  1. this is a great and fun way to learn colors and that many things can be the same color. Thanks for sharing
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  2. Oh I love this! My daughter is one of those that shoves everything in her mouth, so we always need to choose edible activities and this is a brilliant way to work on colors and have a little sensory experience at the same time! Thank you for sharing with #NiftyThriftySunday

  3. Thanks for sharing your tutorial at the Inspiration Spotlight party @DearCreatives Pinned & sharing. I’m going to try this with my grandkids. Such a fun sensory activity.

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