Rainbow Rice & Garden Sensory Play

 

 

 

 

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Rainbow Rice Sensory Play

Rainbow Rice Labeled

I loved this book & garden themed sensory play idea from Playful Learning. Planting a Rainbow is a new book to me and my group. I immediately bought it on Amazon. What a great color book!

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[PLANTING A RAINBOW]
Planting a Rainbow by Ehlert, Lois(Author)
paperback{Planting a Rainbow}28 02-1992

This morning we made rainbow rice. I measured out the rice (4 cups) and put it in a Ziploc bag with about 2T of food coloring or liquid water colors (works great!) and 3 T of rubbing alcohol. The kids helped me mix the rice in the bags to spread the color. We put them on pans to dry in the sun. It all dried incredibly fast.

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My $1.99 bin from Goodwill. Only thing is, it doesn’t have a lid. I usually throw them out anyway but I probably should have a lid for this box.
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I found all these gardening/sand play toys at Michaels, mostly in the dollar section. {I buy a lot of dollar store items and it sure adds it up fast!}

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The child-sized gardening gloves were especially a hit.
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Love this activity!
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Comments

  1. A feast for the eyes! and hours of fun. This is what it’s all about- great post! Thanks for linking to It’s Playtime today!

  2. Fantastic idea! That looks like brilliant fun. x

  3. My kiddos love the rainbow rice also! :-)

  4. very pretty!!!

  5. This is the best idea! I assume you have to mix all the colors separately and you used pastel colors or is it just because you used a small amount that the colors come out that pretty pastel neon? Thanks!

  6. Oh, and conceivably the rice is edible if cooked (as long as you don’t mind eating food coloring)?

  7. Sorry if this posts twice, I seem to be getting an unknown comment error.

    This is just the best idea! I’ll have to try it this summer for sure.

  8. What a fun project!! Can’t wait to try this with my boys! I loved this so much I shared your page on my blog: http://our-scott-spot.blogspot.com/2011/07/fun-find-friday-family-activities.html

  9. Your rice turned out beautiful. I just wanted to let you know that I linked to your site for a tutorial. I dyed bird seed instead of rice but it turned out great. Thanks for posting this.

  10. What means 2T and 3T ? is it for tablespoon ?

  11. Yes, it’s for tablespoon. Thanks for visiting!

  12. Hey! Just shared about this awesome sensory box on Craft Gossip…feel free to email me with any more great ideas and book crafts you might have! Keep up the great work mom!
    Here’s the link:
    http://lessonplans.craftgossip.com/?p=4428

  13. Going to do this with my kids for sure! It’s school summer holidays at the moment and I need things to keep them busy!

  14. The rubbing alcohol still makes it safe for the kids right?

  15. snjnb3 – oh yes, the rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly. Coloring rice in this method is very commonly used with preschoolers.

  16. I had heard of using vinegar instead of rubbing alcohol but I’m thinking the rubbing alcohol might dry faster. Great idea!

  17. Does the coloring rub off on their little hands?

  18. So is it 4 cups of rice and 2T coloring/3T rubbing alcohol per color that you used?

  19. Maya, yes, that is correct. You can adjust it as you like but this is what worked for me.

  20. This is so awesome! My daycare friends and I made it together today. I substituted with waterbased ink refills and it worked perfectly. So bright and vivid! Can’t wait for it to dry so they can play. Thanks for sharing!

  21. hi
    I love this idea and am keen to make, I live in NZ and we don’t have product called rubbing alcohol, can you tell me, what does it do in this and could I replace with something?

  22. Rubbing alcohol is alcohol that’s used to sanitize things and such and can’t be drunk. Here in the US they put an additive in it that makes it undrinkable so it’s sold as a topical medicine instead of people buying this really cheap stuff to drink.

  23. Thanks, so what does it do in this craft? could I make it without it? does it set the colour or something?

  24. About rubbing alcohol: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubbing_alcohol Yes, I believe it sets the color.

  25. I hate to be the negative one here, but as pretty as this is, it is not really nature friendly. Birds eat rice, they die. So, in the end, not less messy than colored sand. It’s a cute idea, but it makes me sad to think of all the birds that might die because of this blog post.

  26. Nice sentiment but the rice is mainly for indoor play. It’s not thrown as in a wedding or sitting outside in “sand” boxes. Most of the activities people are using this for are either inside or in a water/activity table that is protected from the elements and cleaned up after each activity. We use it in I-spy bottles and for crafts too.

  27. I have never claimed this activity to be less messy than sand, if people think it is (lots of comments on that on Pinterest), they haven’t done it! I took my sensory bin out on the deck for the kids to play with. Then after they are done playing, it is swept up. Like Miranda helpfully posted, it is for indoor play or covered – obviously it can not be left out even overnight or it would be ruined. No birds have been/will be killed by this post. Really, a little common sense goes a long ways.

  28. Could you make it with out the rubbing alcohol? Or can you sub in vinegar in its place?

  29. I’m not sure if vinegar would work or not. I haven’t tried it. Maybe try it with a small amount first & see?

  30. I used Hand sanitizer!! And it worked wonderfully!

  31. What a fabulous idea!!! Love it =D

  32. I love it and can’t wait to make this with my girls for our color unit. This is a silly question… but,I was wondering how you got the pastel colors. Do you buy pastel food coloring?
    Thank you again for sharing!

  33. I used liquid watercolors to color this rice. If you click on the link on the words “liquid watercolors” there’s more information on what they are and where you can find them. The colors are vibrant using a small amount of the paints.

  34. Found this idea on pinterest and loved it. I have a tub in my garage just perfect and I found the buckets etc. today at Michaels for 70% off. Thanks for sharing your creativity.

  35. Hi. I saw this blog post on Pinterist and made my son a rice box. He LOVES it! Thanks for posting.
    http://journeyleaf.typepad.com/journeyleaf/2011/10/confetti-rice-play-box.html

  36. I’ve done this with rice and pasta, but I just use a few squirts of hand sanitizer! Love the pictures and colors!

  37. I can’t wait to do this with my girls…they will L-O-V-E it!! And that book, Planting a Rainbow, is our favorite! Every spring we head to the nursery to pick out new colorful flowers and flower pots!

  38. love this idea – just made the rice and it is drying now. Both my daughter and I can’t wait to pour it into the bin.

    We used vinegar instead of rubbing alcohol and it worked great (and I feel alot better about it than using something with 70% alcohol), I also found that using a teaspoon wherever it called for a tablespoon (both for vinegar and for the food coloring) produced the lighter colors. When I tried using a tablespoon the colors where super dark – even with the neon/ pastel food colorings. Hopefully this is helpful!

  39. Rainbow Rice was a HIT!!! Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed the 2 tbsp concept, but adjusted as I went… depending on the shade I was aiming for. It was so easy to make, fast to dry. The hardest thing for me was finding cookie sheets or big enough services in the sunshine with this cold november weather we are having for all the colors to dry. The liquid water color paint is a bit pricey, but what memories were made tonight = p.r.i.c.e.l.e.s.s.
    THANK YOU for sharing!!!

  40. This is very cute, thanks for sharing. I will have to make this at home for my kiddos!

  41. Let me start out by saying – my daughter LOVED this. BUT…I used regular food dye and rubbing alcohol…and it was a huge mess. The coloring (after dry) keeps rubbing off. Her hands and anything else that touches the rice picks up a ton of dye. I used the measurements listed…any thoughts on what I did wrong? I can’t let her use it anymore – it’s just a huge mess.

  42. Suz, I’m sorry to hear that! I am wondering if that was too much food coloring. I haven’t made it with food coloring, just the liquid water coloring & I couldn’t say now, where exactly I got that measurement from – it would have been from another website. I’ve seen anywhere from 5-12 drops of food coloring recommended but I suppose it has a lot to do with how much rice you’re coloring? I guess I don’t have an answer, I haven’t heard of this happening before!

  43. I made primary colors tonight to entertain my son during my cookie baking day tomorrow. I can’t wait to watch him mixing the colors, pouring the rice, and making roads! Thank you so much for the idea. :)

  44. I love this post! We will be sharing your photo and idea on our blog at welovebeingmoms.blogspot.com

    Thanks for sharing!

    ~Heather

  45. Saw this on Pinterest… Loved it and made it! I’m hoping my daughter will love it too! here’s the link… http://csqdesigns.blogspot.com/2011/12/mario-in-plush.html Thanks for posting!

  46. I have also colored macaroni using this method! First, add the alcohol and food coloring to a large Ziplok bag, squish it to mix well, and then add the rice or macaroni. Next, zip the bag closed and shake the contents until well coated. Spread on newspapers. The alcohol evaporates leaving the rice or macaroni to quickly dry. The alcohol also helps to deter bugs enabling it to be used for years! We used our colored macaroni for many activities in school including patterning, sorting, adding, subtracting, and acting out story problems. Experiment with different shapes of macaroni. Some look like butterflies and caterpillars!

  47. My girls will love this. I will have to give it a shot. Thank you for sharing.

  48. Thank you for sharing this! I am going to make the rainbow rice and put it in my “I Spy” jar. I am so excited!

  49. I used this a few years ago for my daughters birthday party. I had some sand art necklaces, but didn’t want sand to get in the carpet at the rented hall. This was much easier to sweep up. :D

  50. this is such a cool idea, sadly we are not allowed to use food such as rice in our programme. can you suggest something similiar to use, such as small coloured beads?

  51. LOVE this idea! I am a Grammy who just loves doing this kind of thing with my grandbabies. As an added bonus, because our summers are so stinkin’ hot here in AZ, it makes an awesome indoor craft – so much easier to vacuum up than play dough!

  52. I made this!! Kiddos love it. Used ONLY 8-10 drops of food coloring and 5T rubbing alcohol. I let dry a couple days in the basement on cookie sheets. It does NOT rub off on their hands… just a small amt of white rice powder. Thanks for the idea!!!

  53. Awesome. Made this with orzo pasta, hand sanitizer, and food coloring. Baked it in a 250 degree oven for 10 minutes to speed up drying. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

  54. I might like to make this for my daughter for her 2nd birthday. Any experience with critters getting into the rice, though? I like this suggestion of baking it at 250–that might kill anything that could be in the food products. The lid would definitely need to be kept on when not in use!

  55. I love this idea…found it on Pinterest! I’m collecting all of the items needed (gloves, shovel, pots, etc.) to stock this sensory garden and putting them in my little guy’s Easter basket for some spring gardening.

  56. I just made the Blue and Green rice. I have a huge bag of Rice to use but ran out of coloring and Rubbing Alcohol. I used 1 T less in the Blue of both alcohol and coloring but the same quantity of rice. It still seems colorful and my kids can’t wait to dig in!

  57. Hello,

    I saw this idea on pinterest last night (5/17/12) and thought, this is amazing…way better than play sand!! So after my 2 1/2 yr old fell asleep I got to work diying rice! I used regular food coloring and vinger, instead of what you suggested…mainly because this is what I had on hand..I was kinda worried it would rub off oh her hands and clothes…well it hasnt! I used blue and it came out teal! She’s enjoying every second of this and keeps saying “oh thank you mommy i love it!” I will be making more colors after I get more rice and a bigger box today! Best of all she keeps trying to eat it and its 100% safe for her!! It does have a sligh smell of vinger to it but thats my only gripe, but its not bad!! thanks for this wonderful idea!! I think I will be hiding toys in it for her to dig out! I’m even concidering getting a covered sand box and just using the rice instead of sand! I love that it doesnt stick to her feet and hands like sand…thanks again!

  58. I found this rainbow rice sensory bin idea on Pintrest too and we did it today! My daughter had tons of fun making the rice with me, and when she wakes up from her nap she’ll find the fully loaded sensory bin ready to play with ~ I’m so excited, I could *almost* wake her up! *lol* I followed the link on Pintrest back here, to your blog! Your blog is amazing! I totally love ALL the ideas I’ve looked at so far. I’ll be referring back to it often since I’m not sending my daughter to JK this September, and I’ll be trying to follow a ‘homeschooling’ type of approach with her until next September when she starts SK. You can be sure I’ll be referring back to your blog often for some great ideas :) Thank you very very much for sharing. xoxo Nancy

  59. I had saved this recipe to a board I had for my granddaughter on Pinterest. We had made blue rice when I first pinned it, but hadn’t made anymore since. Today was her third birthday and the bubbles, water pistols, ballons, sidewalk chalk, balls,etc. we had gotten for an outdoor party were of no use because of rain. I thought of this almost at the last minute. She and I spent the early afternoon making colored rice. We rounded up all the small bottles we could find and during the party she and her friends layered colored rice into the bottles to make bottled rainbows. They left with these as party favors and I showed them how to color the rice at home and how to write their names on paper with glue and the rice. It was a huge success, saved the party and made me look like a super grandma!! Thank you so much!!

  60. This would be awesome as a base for fake flowers!!! Just to add some zing to a sand art bottle!! AWESOME!!!!! Thank you.

  61. Hi there! I found this post via Pinterest and just featured it on my brand new blog, here: http://missautumnk.blogspot.com/2012/06/83-sensory-bin-ideas.html

    Thanks!
    autumn

  62. This turned out great. Can’t wait for the kids to try it. One thing though. Long Grain White rice it the best, I did one batch with that and one with a 10 min rice and tthe long grain holds the color much better than the minute rice.

  63. Wow, that looks so nice! I´m definitely gonna try that with my daugther some day! Thank you for that great idea! =)

  64. Did anyone have a problem with the smell of the alcohol staying on the rice? I made it last night and it still smells today. I even added almond extract to try to mask the alcohol smell, but it’s still strong. Ideas?

  65. I have a Question.. how much of each color did you make?

  66. I love this idea and would love for you to share on our Virtual Book Club for Lois Ehlert Books. http://theeducatorsspinonit.blogspot.com/2012/09/lois-ehlert-author-study-virtual-book.html

  67. Any idea if the color will bleed off if the rice gets wet? I was thinking about dyeing rice to use in place of sand in a sand & water table, but since they might mix, I didn’t want anyone coming away with rainbow hands. :)

    • I had the same questions/concern… I was wondering if it would bleed onto carpet if by some chance and moisture got into it while the kids were playing with it??

  68. No, the color won’t bleed but I wouldn’t put it with water on purpose. It isn’t meant to be mixed with water. You’d have to throw it away if it gets wet and it was be terrible to clean up.

  69. Such a great idea! Your blog is full of fun ideas to use with the kiddos. Thanks for sharing!

  70. What a fantastic and fun idea!
    I can’t wait to make some.
    Thanks for posting!
    If you get a minute, I’d love it if you’d pop over to my site.
    Everything’s FREE. http://www.teachwithme.com/
    Lots of printables, crafts and just plain fun!

  71. I saw this on pinterest, and ran into your blog. I loved this idea so much that I actually went out and bought stuff to do this. I posted it on my blog, if you wanted to take a look, didn’t quite come out as good as yours, I used food coloring. I don’t know what you used, yours came out a lot lighter. Also, I don’t have the gardening tools and the larger bucket yet. I just was too anxious to wait until i went out and got everything lol

    I also gave you the credit you most defiantly deserve! Great Job!! :)

    http://www.alovelylittleaddiction.com/2013/04/rainbow-garden.html

  72. Hi! It seems your post is continuing on for a couple of years now- still creating smiles of children everywhere. :) I just ran across your rainbow rice on Pinterest because I’m just starting a school in Tanzania and would love to have the locals create their own toys rather than buy imported plastic stuff. This fits in nicely with that idea as rice is available there. I’ve created a Pinterest board of these types of projects and yours is one of the first. THANK YOU!!!! The orphans in Africa will LOVE the colors as they are just used to playing in the dirt. http://www.kilimanjarochildren.org. I’m going back in September and will take pictures of them playing in the rice. SO fun. Thanks again for sharing this with us.

  73. I dont want to be negative ..but…when I looked at the rice…it came to my mind that how many people, specially kids of poor countries are starving…and begging for a bowl of rice everyday. Specially I was reading the last comment and was thinking those kids in lot of African countries would love to eat some rice rather than playing with it.

    • In some places & cultures it would not be appropriate to play with rice. Always consider the families you are working with. However, we do not live in Africa. We are not starving. We can buy a bag of rice for $7 and play with it. That is our culture here.

      I understand it isn’t the same elsewhere. Everyone must do what is appropriate for them. I’m sure Christine is well aware of what she is doing and if it’s appropriate for those people are not. Read this article about use of food in the classroom: http://www.teachpreschool.org/discussion-on-food-use-in-the-early-childhood-classroom/

  74. In some places & cultures it would not be appropriate to play with rice. Always consider the families you are working with. However, we do not live in Africa. We are not starving. We can buy a bag of rice for $7 and play with it. That is our culture here.

    I understand it isn’t the same elsewhere. Everyone must do what is appropriate for them. I’m sure Christine is well aware of what she is doing and if it’s appropriate for those people are not. Read this article about use of food in the classroom: http://www.teachpreschool.org/discussion-on-food-use-in-the-early-childhood-classroom/

  75. In some places & cultures it would not be appropriate to play with rice. Always consider the families you are working with. However, we do not live in Africa. We are not starving. We can buy a bag of rice for $7 and play with it. That is our culture here.

    I understand it isn’t the same elsewhere. Everyone must do what is appropriate for them. I’m sure Christine is well aware of what she is doing and if it’s appropriate for those people are not. Read this article about use of food in the classroom: http://www.teachpreschool.org/discussion-on-food-use-in-the-early-childhood-classroom/

  76. In some places & cultures it would not be appropriate to play with rice. Always consider the families you are working with. However, we do not live in Africa. We are not starving. We can buy a bag of rice for $7 and play with it. That is our culture here.

    I understand it isn’t the same elsewhere. Everyone must do what is appropriate for them. I’m sure Christine is well aware of what she is doing and if it’s appropriate for those people are not. Read this article about use of food in the classroom: http://www.teachpreschool.org/discussion-on-food-use-in-the-early-childhood-classroom/

  77. In some places & cultures it would not be appropriate to play with rice. Always consider the families you are working with. However, we do not live in Africa. We are not starving. We can buy a bag of rice for $7 and play with it. That is our culture here.

    I understand it isn’t the same elsewhere. Everyone must do what is appropriate for them. I’m sure Christine is well aware of what she is doing and if it’s appropriate for those people are not. Read this article about use of food in the classroom: http://www.teachpreschool.org/discussion-on-food-use-in-the-early-childhood-classroom/

  78. In some places & cultures it would not be appropriate to play with rice. Always consider the families you are working with. However, we do not live in Africa. We are not starving. We can buy a bag of rice for $7 and play with it. That is our culture here.

    I understand it isn’t the same elsewhere. Everyone must do what is appropriate for them. I’m sure Christine is well aware of what she is doing and if it’s appropriate for those people are not. Read this article about use of food in the classroom: http://www.teachpreschool.org/discussion-on-food-use-in-the-early-childhood-classroom/

  79. I have been hearing the “food argument” for years now and have come to realize that it is up to us as individuals to be accountable for if/how/when we use food materials. There are many other items people can use if they are opposed to using food. I have found, however, that some of our best activities have been food based. Rice, dry beans, dry pasta, cooked spaghetti noodles, or even food “mistakes”. I spilled cornmeal once and it led to 4 weeks of children’s activities!

    http://tondradenise.blogspot.com/2012/08/i-see-more-first-3-days.html

    Oops, but that’s not why I stopped by. I came in to say thanks for your rainbow rice inspiration. My daughter’s 9th birthday was a hit!!

    http://tondradenise.blogspot.com/2013/07/nine-candles.html

  80. Thanks so much to you and your readers for their ideas! I did this yesterday and per color used 1 1/2 cups rice, anywhere from 5-12 drops food coloring depending on the color, and 1 Tbsp vinegar. I spread them on foil (which is great because it turns into little disposable bowls later when fully dried) and baked each color at 250 degrees for 10 minutes and set them aside to fully dry. I’m doing this over a week in advance and can’t wait to see the kids play with it at my son’s 2nd birthday!!! Thanks again!!! :)

  81. Can you use food coloring?

    • I used food coloring just fine. You can see the ratios I used in the comment above. To obtain darker colors, just use more drops. Hope this helps!

  82. My one concern/caution is that kids be supervised the entire time when using this rice. Unlike sand, the pretty colors make it resemble “edible rainbow sprinkles” and I could see a small child being tempted to eat it.

  83. Hi, just wondering what type of rice to use. We have minute rice and regular rice here and I’m wondering which is best for this. Thank you in advance

  84. Alicia J. Ortiz garcia says:

    Thanks for sharing, it’s a nice idea it gives many other different ways to use it.

  85. This is a wonderful idea! I just wanted to let you know that I am linking to this post at Simply-Creative-Kids on 4/25 if you don’t mind.

  86. So fun! I have dyed pasta noodles the same way to make necklaces (patterning)….we use fall colors to make necklaces to wear to our Thanksgiving feast and other colors during the year to string the noodles on yarn for necklaces and great small muscle work! The rubbing alcohol has never been a problem!

  87. Last summer I used koolaid packets and rubbing alcohol. It made it smell wonderful!!

Trackbacks

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