Patriotic Sensory Tub

Make a sensory tub filled with colours related to the Union Jack flag to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee (or 4th July in America!) Adapt this for your own country or region by changing the colours, flags and added extras!

I just couldn’t resist making this sensory tub with nit one but two great British events coming up soon in 2012! On June 4th we celebrate as a nation because our Queen has been on the throne for 60 years- a Diamond Jubilee! And soon it will be the Olympics being hosted in London and we will be waving the flag for our UK contestants. What a fun year to learn all about our own country!

To make this box I dyed some cheap rice using red and blue food colouring. I kept some rice plain to represent the white and then arranged the colours in stripes in one of our sensory tub boxes.

I managed to find all of the fun Union Jack items in the supermarket, including flag bunting, paper straws, flag hair clips and gorgeous sparkly crown napkin rings!

We already had some sequins and pom poms and added each of those to the corresponding colour segment.

With a couple of Union Jack paper cups for scooping and pouring, as well as paper plates to pour onto, they were ready to go!

It was a great opportunity to talk to Cakie about our flag and what it means for countries to have them. They dug around for treasures and Pop started to fill one plate with red rice and items and the other with blue rice and matching items. Great for colour recognition and sorting!

Ta da! (with some feathers added too!)

Cakie did her usual favourite thing of making milkshakes and fruit juices! This one comes with a very regal topper.

I love how she mixed the coloured rice in this jam jar- so pretty to see it layered up!

And after an afternoon of play this is what it looked like!

This could easily be adapted to match the flag from any country. Throw in some little toys that help represent that country and to aid conversation about its traditions!

Learning Links:

  • knowledge & understanding of the world: flags, the Union Jack, our own country, Queens and Kings, crowns, Jubilee etc
  • physical development: explore materials using all the senses, pouring/scooping/tipping using cups and spoons
  • creativity: use materials in imaginative play, recognise name and match colours
Cakie: 3 years 7 months
Pop: 2 years 2 months
Bean: 13 weeks


  1. says

    That looks so fun and those the red and blue rice looks amazing. My 4 year old was making royal picnics today which consisted of everyone eating flowers!!

  2. Lou says

    This is awesome! We live in Sydney, Aus. and are having a party for the Jubilee – the kids would love this, I’m sure. I just have to try and find some bits and pieces to put inside…maybe not so easy down here than in UK right now! Thanks for the brilliant idea though, will def see what I can find

  3. says

    Loving this, great idea especially as you take advantage of all the great jubilee products in the shop right now. Will have to add some bits to next weeks shop! Thanks for the ideas!

  4. says

    Hi. Its a really nice idea. But I am wondeirng what you would do with the rice after the activity – Sorting to different colors is not possible… so any ideas? I am always reluctant to use rice in a sensory activity because of this…

    • Anonymous says

      At our Messy tots session last week we make rainbow rice shakers with plastic drinks bottles, then decorated them . My sons is now in his music box :)

  5. Anonymous says

    This may be a silly question but how do you dye rice ? Does it come off on fingers or furniture?

  6. Anonymous says

    Loving this! We having a Jubilee party at messy tots next week and getting some ideas for our box now 😉 We also making crowns, decorating cupcakes, making flags and more…. Can`t wait hehe