We don’t have the space for a sand pit, so when I saw this rainbow rice popping up on Pinterest, I thought it was the perfect alternative. You can use the rice to teach colours and colour mixing (all though you only get one shot at the mixing), it is a great tactile learning tool too. You can also hide things in the rice for little toddlers to search for and dig up and it’s even fun to just pour in and out of cups. Oh, and it feels lovely flowing through your hands…very therapeutic.
And because this batch is for boys, I went with bright colours rather than pastels. I even chucked in a batch of black to see how it would turn out. Most sites that I’ve seen do this have used rubbing alcohol, but I didn’t have any so just used vinegar instead. It works fine for Easter Eggs, so why not rice? You can follow this method with pasta too!
Food colouring – gel or liquid
For each colour, I used about 1.5 cups rice with 2 tbsp vinegar and about 1 pea sized blob of gel food colouring.
Put 1.5 cups rice into a ziploc bag. In a bowl mix 2 tbsp white vinegar with a blob of gel colouring, or about 1 tsp of liquid colouring. You want the colour in the bowl to be pretty vibrant. I had to stir the gel colouring for a bit to make sure it was all dissolved, but the liquid colouring would only need a quick stir.
Pour the colour mix into the bag, seal the bag up and poke it and squish it around to mix the colour through. Little ones can help with this too, just make sure you’re using good quality bags so you don’t spring a leak. Leave the bags to sit for an hour or 2 to make sure the rice absorbs all the colour.
Pour the rice out onto a tray (with a rim) and spread out the rice thinly. Leave it to air dry in a nice sunny spot. If you’re in a hurry, you can also put it in a low oven for about 15 minutes.
Store the rice in a shallow plastic tub.
*I used about 4kg of rice all up and made 8 colours, making a double portion of each colour (3 cups rice, 4 tbsp vinegar, 2 blobs colour). I’m pretty sure I’ll be making more.
After flicking the rice around the room, Roman decided to tear up the play mat. Today is a day for destruction. I’d suggest using a drop sheet underneath the rice.