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  • Gina

Using Corn Kernels for Sensory Play

Corn kernels are an amazing sensory base. They're soft, they make a unique sound & they can be used in so many different ways!

Did you know that you can dye corn kernels? It is a bit of a labor of love BUT once you do it, they will last years!

Here are the steps:


  • Glass jars or bowls (I use one for each color I want)

  • Corn Kernels

  • Food coloring

  • White vinegar

  • Strainer

  • Baking dish, lined with paper towels

  • Sensory tray or bowl

  • Scoops, trinkets, etc

Step 1:

  • Start by filling your jars or bowls with dry corn kernels. I didn't measure this, I just split up what I had equally across the jars! I wanted to do red, orange, yellow, green, blue & purple so I used six jars.

Step 2:

Add in 5-10 drops of food coloring to each jar. The more you add, the more vibrant your colors will be! I used a 3-pack of food coloring & mixed the colors.


Red + yellow = orange.


Yellow + Blue = Green.


Blue + Red = Purple.

Step 3:

  • Fill the jars or bowls with white vinegar. I added enough to completely cover the kernels.

  • Next, add a lid & shake well OR use a spoon & stir very well. You want to make sure the food coloring is mixed into the vinegar & that all of the kernels are covered.

  • Let them soak for a few hours; I actually left them in the mixture overnight!

Step 4:

  • Once your kernels have sat in their vinegar & food coloring bath, its time to rinse & dry.

  • Place a strainer in the sink & dump the jar in. Rinse well.

  • Pour onto a paper-towel lined baking sheet.

  • REPEAT with all of the jars.

Step 5:

  • Once they have completely dried, they are ready to play!

  • Put them in a sensory bin or tray with your favorite scoops, bowls & trinkets.

How to play with them:

  • Dump them, pour them & scoop them!

  • Sort them by color.

  • Count them.

  • Stomp pretend animals through them.

  • Drive your mini cars through them.

  • Add plastic letters or numbers & practice your phonics skills.


  • Store them in an airtight container when you are done & they will last for years!


  • Small items can be a choking hazard. Always monitor young children during sensory play. You get to decide what is safe & manageable in your home.


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