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Patriotic sensory tub for therapeutic play

Add pizzazz to your child’s sensory box with the colors and shapes of Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Great sensory integration for kids with autism or kids who just love the tactile fun, learn how to make a patriotic sensory tub.


  • Plastic container
  • 3 to 6 cups uncooked rice
  • Food coloring
  • 2 zipper-close bags
  • Cookie sheets
  • Red, white and blue star shapes
  • Flag
  • Pinwheel
  • Red, white and blue buttons
  • Red, white and blue pom-poms
  • Red, white and blue sequins
  • Red, white and blue chenille stems



Prepare materials

Patriotic sensory tub | - step one

First, pour rice into a zipper-close bag, add in drops of red food coloring, zip it closed and knead the bag until the food coloring is well distributed throughout the rice. For this one, 25 drops of food coloring tinted 2 cups of rice generously, but you can tint it until it comes out the hue you want. Repeat in a separate bag with the blue food coloring. Next, spread out your colored rice onto a cookie sheet and let dry. Laying it out overnight should do the trick.


Arrange the rice

Patriotic sensory tub | - step two

Pour your red rice and blue rice into the plastic container you’ve designated for your sensory tub and add in an equal amount of un-tinted rice for the white. Mixing it up looks cool, but let your youngster give it the first stir for added sensory play.


Add in extras

Patriotic sensory tub | - step three

Now scour your house for anything that is red, white or blue, from sequins to pom-poms to flag-shaped erasers. The idea is to layer in different textures, sounds and scents so don’t be afraid to think outside the sensory box!


Let the fun begin

Patriotic sensory tub | - step four

Finally, give your kiddo a shovel, a cup or anything that fits in the box that encourages red, white and blue sensory box play!

Alternative sensory tub items


  • Red beans
  • White satin ribbon
  • Blue dry, dyed pasta


  • Red bouncy balls
  • White cotton balls
  • Blue Rainbow Loom bands


You can add a few drops of essential oil or a spritz or two of child-safe body sprays that give a hint of red, white and blue summer fun:

  • White scents like coconut suntan oil
  • Blue scents like salty ocean air
  • Red scents like strawberries and watermelon


  • Bubble wrap, when popped, can mimic fireworks

Whether your child needs sensory integration activities or you’re looking for a way to beat summer boredom, this patriotic sensory tub for therapeutic play will keep your youngster busy for Memorial Day, Fourth of July and all summer long.

Read more about sensory issues

How to create a fall sensory box
Bad handwriting or sensory issues?
Sensory processing disorders: create a multi-sensory experience room

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