Taste-Safe Chia Seed Sensory Play

Does your baby or toddler like to put everything in their mouth? This chia seed sensory play activity is fun, easy to prepare and totally edible—making it perfect for younger kids!

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Have you ever bought a bag of something at Costco thinking, “I’ll use this!” only to find that most of it is still sitting at the back of your pantry several years later?

For me, that bag was a bag of chia seeds. And considering the amount of taste-safe sensory activities we do around here, you’d think I would have tried using them for sensory play before now… but for whatever reason, I was so focused on finding food recipes that I totally missed the obvious.

Now that we’ve tried this sensory bin, we will definitely be remedying that situation. Not only do chia seeds have an incredible texture for sensory play, but they’re also very versatile.

Whether you’re adding cornstarch to make chia seed slime or freezing them to create a totally new sensory experience for your kids, there are SO many fun ways to use them for sensory play.

And if your kids are still young and like to put everything in their mouths, no need to worry. Chia seeds are totally edible, which makes chia seed sensory play perfect for infants and toddlers who still need all their sensory activities to be taste-safe!

Not that this activity is meant to be eaten as a snack… but at least you can rest assured that if ever your little one does decided to sneak a taste, no harm will come to them!

How to Make a Chia Seed Sensory Bin

Required Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this colourful taste-safe sensory activity with chia seeds and food colouring:

Note: This recipe also works with black chia seeds, but because they’re darker in colour, the final colour won’t be as vibrant. We wanted bright colours, so we chose to use white chia seeds. But if you’re trying to make a fake pond with chia seed “frog spawn” or a creepy Halloween sensory bin, black chia seeds would work perfectly!

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Measure Chia Seeds

Start by measuring out ¼ cup of chia seeds and pouring them into a small- to medium-sized container. (Make sure that particular container has a lid so you can cover the chia seeds while they’re soaking up the water.)

2. Add Water

Add 1 ¾ cups of water and stir with a spoon until combined. The chia seeds will likely float up to the top.

3. Add Food Colouring

Add a few drops of food colouring and stir with a spoon until the colour is visible throughout. We used 6 drops of liquid food colouring and ended up with pretty bright colours, but feel free to add as few or as many as you like.

4. Prepare More Colours (Optional)

If you’re planning on making several colours of taste-safe chia seed goop, now is the time! Simply repeat the previous steps as many times as you like in separate containers. (I love that our containers are stackable because they take up less room in the fridge.)

We chose to use pink and yellow, but you can make an entire chia seed rainbow if you like—especially if a lot of kids will be playing with.

5. Let Soak

Close the containers and place them in the fridge for a few hours to allow the chia seeds to fully absorb the water. This will cause them to “gel” and develop a slimy texture that is perfect for messy sensory play!

Once the chia seeds are done soaking up the liquid, it’s ready to play with. Simply place the edible chia seed mixture into a tray or bin, pouring each colour into its own section, and let your kids play with it.

Our kids had a BLAST with this activity. They did find it a bit cold to the touch, but then I did take it straight out of the fridge, so if your little ones aren’t fans of cold sensory materials, you may want to leave it out on the counter for a bit before play time so it has a chance to warm up.

Surprisingly enough, the mixture didn’t really feel sticky to the touch and it sort of glided off their fingers.

We also thought it was pretty cool how the colours didn’t immediately mix when our kids swirled around with their hands—though they did eventually mix because our kids played with this for a LONG time.

My four-year-old, in particular, couldn’t get enough of this activity. She even liked the way it tasted, though I’m not quite sure why as plain chia seeds don’t really taste like much.

It did keep her engaged for several hours though, so no complaints here!

How to Limit the Mess

Fair warning—if your kids are anything like mine, this activity will get messy.

Within a few minutes, ours had taken out a bunch of little containers and utensils that they used to scoop and pour the chia seed mixture, so it ended up all over the table. But thankfully, we keep our table covered with a plastic table cloth at all times for pretty much this exact reason.

Definitely don’t do this activity over an area that has carpeted or hardwood floors, and if you don’t have a plastic tablecloth, you can try setting up the sensory bin on a plastic tarp on the floor to make the clean-up easier.

In addition, I recommend that your kids either remove their clothing or wear a smock while they play with this. And if you have girls with long hair, make sure to tie it up into a ponytail before they start playing. (We learned this the hard way—thank goodness for bath time!)

It’s still a bit chilly up here in Canada, so we made this an indoor activity. But weather permitting, you can absolutely take it outdoors!

Since all the ingredients are edible, any leftover chia seeds that end up on your lawn will simply decompose over time. And you won’t need to worry about harming the wildlife either, because chia seeds are safe for animal consumption!

Chia Seed Sensory Bin

The Craft-at-Home Family
This easy DIY sensory activity with chia seeds is perfect for infants and toddlers who like to put everything in their mouths!
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Prep Time 5 mins

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup white chia seeds whole
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • food colouring as needed

Instructions
 

  • Pour chia seeds into a bowl or container.
  • Add water and mix with a spoon.
  • Add a few drops of food colouring and mix some more, until the colour is visible throughout.
  • Cover the bowl or container and place it in the fridge. Let the chia seeds soak for 3-4 hours, until they develop a thick, slimy texture. Then, give the mixture to your child to play with!

Notes

White chia seeds can be replaced with black chia seeds, but the colours won’t be as vibrant.
Keyword Chia seeds, sensory play, taste-safe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Related Taste-Safe Sensory Activities

Looking for more taste-safe sensory activities for your baby or toddler? Check out these articles:

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The Craft-at-Home Family