Rainbow Activity with Colorful Corn Sensory Play

Back in November, I experimented with dying corn kernels.  I found a way that worked well for me and provided beautiful, deep colors.  Even then, I knew I wanted to use the corn for a rainbow activity or two around St. Patrick’s Day.

colorful corn makes a great sensory rainbow activity

Dyed corn makes for a fun rainbow activity!

I whipped up a batch of dyed corn kernels and made a corn sensory bin for the preschool kids to explore.  Every color turned out well, although purple was difficult to make this time around!  Next time, I might use Coffee Cups and Crayons corn coloring method for the purple kernels.

Instead of placing the corn in our sensory table, I placed it in a plastic bin in our math area.  The table we have there is wide, with a raised edge.  The raised edge helped keep the corn corralled if the kiddos wanted to take it out of the container.

a rainbow activity ready for the children to explore

I decided to set up the rainbow sensory bin while the students were in the classroom.  This allowed me to talk to them about colors and rainbow ordered.  We sang a silly rainbow song, and they helped me make the corn look like a rainbow.  I knew they’d mix the colors together in no time flat, but it was a good teachable moment.

Once the corn kernels were in rainbow order, we decided to add some “jewels” (aka glass gems) to the bin.  My class is completely enamored with the gems, so the jewels get added to tons of activities.  A few of the kiddos sat and helped me place the gems in rainbow order on top of the corn.  More teachable moments ensued!  We discussed rainbow order again, matched up the colors, and observed how the corn looked different when we peeked through the glass gems.

color matching during a rainbow activity

After the rainbow activity was all set up, we added measuring spoons, measuring cups, little scoops, and bowls.  The children immediately pounced on the sensory bin!  Many of them ran their hands through the corn, just feeling it at first.  There was a lot of scooping and transferring between bowls, too.

pouring and measuring colorful corn with a rainbow activity

Then the pretend play came on the scene.  A group of children decided to make a “rainbow cupcake shop”.  Lots of cakes and cupcakes were made with the rainbow corn.  The glass gems were the toppings for the cupcakes.  This went on for close to 40 minutes, with different children taking turns running the store.  :)

rainbow activity that provides sensory play, pretend play and language experience opportunities

This rainbow activity was definitely a hit in my classroom!  The rainbow corn has been requested multiple times already, so I know it will be out during centers for the next few school days (if not more).  On top of all this fun, there was quite a bit of learning going on:

  • Color identification and rainbow order
  • Counting the corn kernels (as they decorated the “cupcakes”)
  • Fine motor skills
  • Sorting by color
  • Measurement
  • Language skills
  • Sensory input (touch, sight, and sound)

Have you tried any rainbow activities for St. Patrick’s Day (or just because)?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

children love the feel of colorful corn in this sensory rainbow activity

Even younger children visiting the classroom loved the corn!

If you’re looking for more St. Patrick’s Day ideas, please have a look at my St. Patrick’s Pinterest board.

Follow Mary Catherine @ Fun-A-Day!’s board {Holiday} St. Patrick’s Day on Pinterest.

For more sensory play ideas, please go see my Science and Sensory Pinterest board.

Follow Mary Catherine @ Fun-A-Day!’s board * Sensory/Science Activities for Young Children on Pinterest.



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