Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting: Toddler Math

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Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting is a fun sensory rice early math activity for Spring. This easy and colourful craft is great for toddlers and preschoolers to practice counting as well as work on fine motor skills. Combining sensory play with rice, gluing and counting: a recipe for a fun way to do math!

Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting
Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting

Supplies for Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting

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  • Rainbow coloured rice (see recipe below)
  • Bowls
  • Paint brush
  • White Cardstock
  • Black marker
  • Green construction paper
  • Small gooey eyes (optional)
  • Glue bottle
  • Paper cup to make circles
  • Ruler
Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting

How to Set Up Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting

  1. Grab your supplies.
  2. Divide your page into 8 sections using a ruler.
  3. Cut out 8 circles for the heads of your caterpillars. Glue one down in each section and draw the faces and antenna. You can draw the eyes or glue down small googley eyes.
  4. Trace a cup or another object to create the circle bodies of the caterpillars. Giving the first caterpillar one circle, the next two all the way to eight for the last caterpillar. Write the number 1-8
  5. Place the rainbow rice and glue into separate bowls.
  6. Place your sheet of paper into a sensory bin to help keep the mess down.
Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting
Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting
Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting
Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting

How to Play Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting

Invite your child to count the number of circles and then paint glue using a brush on the circle and then sprinkle the rainbow rice on the circle!

Continue until they have counted and glued rice to all the caterpillar bodies!

Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting

My twins absolutely loved this activity! Glue and rice are definitely a win. This was a messy activity so I recommend placing the sheet into a sensory bin to help contain the mess. Happy Counting!

Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting

How to Make Rainbow Colored Rice

What You’ll Need

  • 1 Cup of White Rice
  • 1/2 tsp White Vinegar
  • Several Drops of Gel Food Coloring
  • Large Ziploc Bags
  • Parchment Paper
  • Baking Sheets or Tupperware containers

How to Make

  1. Combine the rice, white vinegar and food coloring in a Ziploc bag. 
  2. Seal it carefully and mix the contents throughly. 
  3. Repeat for each color.
  4. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet or line a Tupperware container. 
  5. Spread the colored rice out on the parchment paper and allow it to dry overnight. 


If you don’t have gel food coloring, regular food coloring will work fine. If you want your rice to be more vibrant add more than just a few drops of food coloring and a small amount of white vinegar. Although the instructions calls for 1 cup of rice I usually make between 6-7 cups of rice for a sensory bin. 

Age Suitability

This activity is good for kids 2 years and up. My kids are 3.5, 3.5, and 7 year old.

Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids

Did you know I wrote a book of sensory bins? Click here for more information Exciting Sensory Bin for Curious Kids. Or grab your copy at Amazon.

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Boring afternoons are made exciting with awesome animal-based bins, like Salty Shark Bay or Yarn Farm. Pretend play bins like Birthday Cake Sensory Play or Bubble Tea Party encourage creativity and imagination. And your kids will have so much fun they won’t even know they’re getting smarter with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities like Sink or Float Soup, Magnetic Letter Hunt or Ice Cream Scoop and Count.

STEAM Activity Book

Looking for a fun activity book for your preschooler or kindergartner? Check out my new book Super STEAM Activity Book: Launch Learning with Fun Mazes, Dot-to-Dots, Search-the-Page Puzzles, and More! ! Click here to learn more or order it now!

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