How to Dye Oatmeal without Water for Sensory Play

Dyed oats are perfect for sensory bins! You won't believe how easy it is to dye them without any water!

I have made a ton of sensory bins for my kids over the years. We have explored rice, beans, sand and even straws as fillers. I knew I wanted to try something different, and inspiration was as close as my pantry. I pulled out some oatmeal and got busy experimenting.

First, I tried soaking the oats in dyed water. That was a fail. They clumped together and formed a soggy mess. I couldn't dry them out. 

Next, I thought about how we dyed rice, and decided to try that method on oats. The results were perfect. The oats didn't clump together and they are so soft!

To dye oats you will need:

  • One cup of oats 
  • Food coloring of your choice
  • Hand sanitizer
  • One Ziploc bag


  • Pour the oats into the bag.
  • Add 7 to 10 drops of food coloring.
  • Add a generous dollop of hand sanitizer to the bag.
  • Seal the bag and shake until all of the oats are coated.
  • Pour the oats on a paper towel or paper plate to dry.

Dyed oats are perfect for sensory play. Stay tuned for bins that use dyed oats.

You can find all of my sensory content here


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