We had actually started to prepare this activity on day 12 but had to wait for Adam to feel better before we attempted it. It was easy to make the rainbow rice. In 5 individual zip-loc bags I added a few cups of rice (just cheap supermarket own rice) and a couple of teaspoons of vinegar to each. I then added a few drops of food colouring to each of the 5 bags.
Once the bags were zipped up Adam was able to help. By scrunching up the bags the food colouring and vinegar coated all the rice. I just added more food colouring if there was any white rice left. Adam had great fun using all of his body to squash the rice and attempting to separate the individual rice grains through the bag.
Many websites suggested spreading the rice across a baking tray in order for the rice to dry. I just opened up the bags and put them into the garage with the idea of using it the next day. I checked on them in the morning and it was ready to use. Leaving them for a few days didn’t disperse the vinegar smell but then I have a sensitive nose!
I layered the rice a colour at a time into a transparent box.
In order to minimise the mess I placed the rice box into a larger box and added a variety of spoons, scoops and bowls to see what Adam would use.
Adam’s immediate reaction was to take a small scoop and flick the rice over the floor!
When I couldn’t distract him from covering the floor I thought it was easier to put Adam into the larger box and he could flick the rice over himself.
This definitely has to be Adams favourite activity so far. He spent a long time experimenting with pouring, tipping, flicking and digging in the rice.
We also tried the funnel and colander. For a little boy that doesn’t like getting messy he certainly didn’t mind burying himself in the rice and stomping on it.
After a very long time playing (and me cooking tea) Adam appeared to loose interest so I tidied up the activity. The rice was fairly easy to sweep up so a great non-messy-ish activity. I placed the rice back in the box, put away the scoops, turned around and Adam had positioned himself back inside the large box and had continued playing!
DIY TIP: To make a child size scoop simply clean out a plastic milk bottle and cut off the bottom. Make sure the edges are cut smoothly and are not sharp. The handle is perfect for little hands to grip and the rice stays inside the top of the bottle whilst you scoop up more.
UPDATE: I have since turned this activity into a Busy Box. Inside the box is a zip-loc bag of coloured rice inside another zip-lox bag. I did a double bag because I don’t want any accidental rice spillages. Adam either uses the bag to scrunch around or we pour the rice into the box and add scoops and small bowls.
EXTENSIONS: Google has lots of different recipes for making coloured rice. The different options are:
- Use liquid water colours instead of food colouring as it is cheaper and makes more vibrant coloured rice – Fun At Home With Kids
- rubbing alcohol instead of vinegar to avoid vinegar smell – Four Plus An Angel
- Use a microwave to avoid the drying time –Blog Me Mom
- Add an extra sensory dimension by making scented rainbow rice – Growing A Jeweled Rose
- or even glowing rice! Growing a Jeweled Rose
* Uncooked rice
* Ziploc Heavy Duty Freezer Bags (affiliate link)
* Food colouring – in the future we would use Wilton Food Colouring (affiliate link)
* Box to put the rainbow rice in during the activity – we used Really Useful Box 33 Litre (affiliate link)