There is nothing more satisfying than the sound of kids pouring and scooping dyed chickpeas! They’re simpler than simple to make and last for years, too.
Dyed chickpeas are where it’s at
Confession: I had seen people do these for YEARS and was always baffled at how they dyed wet chickpeas. Wouldn’t they get soggy? Moldy?
162 years later, I saw dried chickpeas in the bean section and out loud went, “Ooooooh!”
HA! I had never seen chickpeas dried before, and once I did, as they say, the rest is history.
Related: Looking for a fun activity for the whole family or class to enjoy together? Our giant 10-foot banners are a true delight!
There are many methods of making dyed chickpeas
One of the best things about making dyed chickpeas is that you can use several art supplies to make them.
Some of the most popular methods include acrylic paint (shown here, I will explain more), liquid watercolors, BioColor paint (my usual method), and food dye.
Rummage through your supplies, grab your DRIED chickpeas, and let’s make a stunning sensory filler together.
Looking for more sensory table ideas? There are so many amazing ones, including these:
- How to Dye Rice Without Vinegar or Rubbing Alcohol – Friends Art Lab
- How to Color Beans for Play and Art – Fun at Home with Kids
- Rainbow Rice Noodles – And Next Comes L
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- Dried chickpeas
- Coloring – choose one:
- Gallon-size plastic zippered bag
- Shallow tray lined with parchment paper, plastic, or foil
These are just as much fun to make as they are to play with!
- Combine chickpeas and paint in a gallon-sized zippered plastic bag. Start with less paint than you think you need because you can always add more. Add in the beans and paint, zip closed, and shake! (Start with about 1 cup of beans to 1 tablespoon of coloring.)
- Let the beans dry in a shallow tray (spread into a thin layer).
- Break up the beans every few minutes while they dry if using acrylic or BioColor paints. They will dry together in a clump if you don’t break them up. I break them up twice, each just a few minutes in between.
- Mix the colorful beans together once they are completely dry.
Ta-da! Just like that, you have gorgeous beans, too.
An important note about what you use to dye your chickpeas
Usually, when I dye chickpeas, I use BioColor paint because it’s my go-to paint, and I always have it on hand.
On this day, though, I used acrylic paints, which are gorgeous, too. BUT some acrylic paints can be a little stinky. So if using acrylic paints (which is totally fine), let them air-dry for a few days until the smell goes away.
Liquid watercolors and food dye have no smell, and the colors are more transparent than paints. Experiment with whatever dyeing materials you have before buying anything else.
How to avoid ROTTEN chickpeas
Like ANY dyed food for sensory play, if you store it in a zippered bag or plastic container with a lid before it’s fully dry, you won’t be in for a treat.
When dyeing beans, rice, pasta, etc., I always, always, always leave it in an open container for a few days.
For example, if storing materials in a zippered bag, I leave the zipper open initially.
Even though I let my dyed chickpeas fully dry for days, they’re ready to play with usually within just minutes of making them (yay!).
Can you use canned chickpeas for sensory play?
Absolutely! Wet, squishy, edible canned chickpeas are an inviting sensory material.
PLUS, they’re taste-safe for our littlest explorers.
However, because they’re wet, they can’t be colored with paint. I wouldn’t let that stop you, though, from playing with canned chickpeas as is!
Any age that can enjoy the activity without trying to eat the materials.
I store mine in a zippered bag or plastic bin with a lid once they have dried for several days.
ABSOLUTELY! Learn more about that here.
How excited are you to try making dyed chickpeas?!
I use dyed chickpeas occasionally in our sensory kits, and kids + adults go crazy for them.
They are absolutely spectacular, and I can’t wait for you to try them, too.