Technique/Tool/Resource: Colored Rice Mosaic

Used For: Relaxation and/or Distraction.

Disability: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Learning Disability, Intellectual Disability, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Developmental Disabilities, Visual Disabilities, TBI, ADHD and ADD.

Where Technique was taken from: Pinterest-

Adapted from:>

Supplies Needed:

1 cup dry white rice

1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol or white vinegar

3 to 4 drops food coloring

Medium size bowl and spoon

Waxed paper or aluminum foil


Paint brush

Card Stock – child may draw own picture

Preprinted picture

Small paper cups (bathroom size)


Essential Oils – fragrance*


Detailed Description:

Prepare the colored rice ahead and have all supplies available prior to beginning the session.

Measure the dry rice into a bowl. Add the rubbing alcohol or vinegar, and stir well to coat. Drop on the food coloring, stirring between each drop. Add food coloring, and keep mixing until the rice is your desired color. Place a sheet of waxed paper or foil on a flat surface. Pour the colored rice onto the waxed paper or aluminum foil. Allow the colored rice to dry completely. This usually takes about 30-60 minutes. Repeat steps to make additional colors of rice.    

Essential Oils – fragrance*

Add essential oils for fragrance.  This will allow a child with visual disabilities to distinguish the colors/scents and create their own mosaic of fragrance.  Check for allergies prior to engaging the child with the essential oils.

To make a mosaic, have the child draw a simple a design onto a piece of cardstock or thin cardboard. Add glue to the design, one area at a time, and then sprinkle on the colored rice. Children with ASD might become over stimulated if given too much rice at once, so it is best to put the rice in small paper cups (bathroom size works well). Also, when applying the glue, give children a small amount with a paintbrush- this helps with the “over squeeze” we often see children engaging in when given the glue container

Children with visual disabilities scent the rice and have child glue rice to the card stock where glue has been placed.


Use mindfulness practices during placement of the rice on the picture.  Practice deep breathing prior to placing rice on the glue.  Examine the color of the rice, the smell of the rice, the texture of the rice and the texture of the picture once completed and dried.


Send child home with supplies to create a picture on their own.  When the child is experiencing a stressful situation, the child may create a new mosaic.  Ask the child to share the mosaic with a parent or caregiver whom they trust.