How to dye pasta for a rainbow sensory tub

A rainbow sensory tub is such a delight for the eyes and hands! Here’s how to dye pasta to make a lovely rainbow base for your play, along with some ideas you can use to explore the tub.

rainbow sensory tub toddlers preschool

How to dye pasta for a rainbow sensory tub

We’re using pasta for the base of this sensory tub, but the colouring method works equally well if you want to use rice, salt or sand – and it’s really easy to do.

Place some uncooked pasta in a plastic bag, add a dash of colour and shake it all up until all the pasta is covered. I used a water-based poster/tempera paint, with a dash of white glue for added ‘stick’.

(You can also use food colouring, but depending on which brand and how much you use you might find the pasta still has an oily coating which comes off on your hands.)

how to dye pasta for a sensory tub

Then lay your pasta out on a baking sheet or some baking paper until it is dry. On a sunny day this might only take a few hours, but I usually leave mine overnight.

how to dye pasta

And that’s it – gorgeous. colourful pasta ready for play or art. I have a few suggestions for different ways to use your pasta coming on the blog in the next few days, but first up, here are some ideas for how to use your pasta in a rainbow sensory tub.

how to dye pasta for sensory play

The idea behind a sensory tub is to offer you children some interesting shapes, colours, and textures to explore. They can be used in a variety of ways, for play and learning, and with children of a range of different ages. All you need to set one up is a container, and some interesting fillings.

how to use a sensory tub

How to play with a sensory tub

Children at different ages and stages are likely to explore a sensory tub in different ways – but it’s such an open-ended resource, you can easily adapt it to suit your child.

Younger children often delight in simply exploring the senory elements of the contents of the tub: touching, feeling, passing, shaking, moving the goodies inside their tub.

With children a little older, you might like to introduce some pots, bowl or cups, along with some spoons or tongs, so they can scoop, fill, empty and play.

You might like to hide some extra treasures inside the tub, for them to hunt out. Leprechaun’s gold coins are a fun match to go with a rainbow sensory tub! Counting the number of coins you find is a nice way to include some numbers in your play.

rainbow color sensory tub

A rainbow sensory tub is also perfect for some colour sorting play: line up a set of colourful cups and see if you can match up the contents of your tub.

rainbowcolor sorting activities toddler preschool

super sensory footerSuper Sensory Invitations to Play

Ready for a whole year of exploring through the senses? Super Sensory Invitations to Play is a delightful resource that encourages your children to explore the five senses through the year, using a wide variety of sensory materials. It includes 52 invitations to play, linked to the festivals and seasons of the year, and including water, ice, dough, rice, paints, sand, sensory tubs, and more.

They are easy, simple, and fun ideas that you can use right now to give a multi-sensory boost to your play and learning. It comes with a printable recipe book featuring all our favourite recipes for play. Come and see more here.


  1. Malisa Thomas says

    Where can I get the colored cups for sorting the colored pasta? Id like to do this with my daughter as soon as possible, it’s such an awesome idea. Thank you!!

  2. lisa howell says

    I would like to know where you got those nicely colored rings in your rainbow pasta sensory bin, they look cool?

  3. Marcela says

    Hi i was thinking about doing the pasta do I dyeloote the food coloring with water before placing it into the bag?

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