Back in November, I experimented with dyeing 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 as part of our St. Patrick’s Day activities for preschool.
Dyed corn makes for a fun rainbow activity!
I whipped up a batch of dyed corn kernels (this is how we dyed them) 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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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
- 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!
Where to Buy Corn for Your Sensory Table
While I am all about making my own colorful corn for this rainbow activity, I know it’s not for everyone.
If you’re looking for places to buy corn for sensory tables, I’ve got you covered. Below are a few places you can check to find corn your preschoolers will love in the sensory center.
First, check your local grocery store. Yes, I’m serious! I just used plain old popcorn kernels for this colorful corn sensory bin. I’d suggest grabbing some bags of corn when they’re on sale.
Another place to look for corn to put in your sensory bin is a local farm or a farm supply store. You can find often find feed corn there!
Finally, take to the internet! In this day and age, you can find so many helpful teacher resources online. Here are some possibilities I found on Amazon:
- 10-pound bag of cracked corn (as the name implies, this won’t be whole corn kernels)
- 10-pound bag of whole corn (this is often what people put out to feed birds and deer)
- 6.5-pound bag of dried corn cobs (some people use this to feed squirrels and birds in their backyards)
- 8 pounds of regular popcorn kernels (like what you’d pop for a movie night)
Preschool Lesson Plans You Should Check Out
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes book suggestions, printable plans, over 30 learning activities (whole group, small group, and centers) related to the theme, and corresponding printables.
You can also find us on Teachers Pay Teachers
For more sensory play ideas, please go see my Science and Sensory Pinterest board.