Monday, September 9, 2013

Rainbow Rice

We finally took the time to dye our sensory rice and make “new” rainbow rice! We have been experimenting lately with color mixing (which has been TONS of fun) so this fell right in line. I Googled and searched for the easiest way to accomplish this and I am so glad I came across the hand sanitizer version opposed to using stinky vinegar, it was super simple! I prepped everything and experimented with the first batch (red) after the kiddos were in bed. I have to say, it was SO hard for me to practice restraint and not finish ALL of the colors! I just knew how beautiful they would all turn out and REALLY wanted to see the final result. I'm glad I didn't give in because upon waking, the kiddos were very excited to see what was in store for them! 

Here’s what we did and what you’ll need:

  • Food coloring (We used the gel food coloring. I also have the neon liquid food coloring and I was curious to find out how vibrant those colors turned out. Next time we’ll try those. I’m sure any liquid food coloring would work. I couldn't tell you exactly how much gel coloring I used, I just squirted a bit till I felt it was enough. If I had to guess I’d say it was about a teaspoon. I do think I could have used more.)
  • Hand Sanitizer (2 pumps per batch/color)
  • Jars (We used an old plastic peanut butter jar and a plastic tuberware container. Glass jars or even bowls, if you prefer stirring over shaking, would work as well. I’m glad we went with plastic because there was a bit of banging on the counters that was needed to get everything mixed together)
  • Rice (I used about 2 cups of rice for each color)
  • Foil, wax, parchment, or even just paper towels for laying out the rice to dry.

I chose to keeping the food coloring and hand sanitizer squirting to myself and let the kiddos use a measuring cup to scoop one cup of rice at a time into a funnel sitting in the jar. The rice poured right on top of the sanitizer and coloring then we popped the lid on and did lots of shaking and banging. It did take quite some work to make sure the color was dispersed but it was well worth it. Once the kids decided the color was perfect they poured it into sheets of foil to dry. That was it! It was a super easy, kid friendly project that will provide for HOURS of fun!

They were so excited about playing with the colored rice THEY made. Did we get rice everywhere?? Absolutely!! But its not any different than our normal everyday messes and to see the pride they took in their work was all worth it! :)

A few notes:
It doesn't take long at all to dry, especially if you spread it out well. Ours dried within 30 minutes.
I did find 1-2 small clumps of gooey rice and food coloring clusters that I just tossed.

I followed ROY G BIV when laying them in the large bin. 

Whether we play inside or out with our sensory rice (or any other sensory material) I always lay a large sheet down to catch the run-a-ways. I’ve learned the hard way that sensory play is much more fun when we’re (ok I'll admit…when I am) not worried about the huge mess it’s going to leave behind. :)

My favorite thing about this beautiful sensory rice is that it's a keeper! I can use it for future discover bottles, I spy bottles, Carisa's ABC Find It!, art work and what ever else our little hearts see fit for it. I promise you too, will find it well worth your time. Have fun! 

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