First and foremost, I have to give credit to my brilliant sister-in-law for posting about this idea on her website: Fun Finds for Moms.
Natalie has been "playing" and learning with rice since about the age of one. I became very interested in the idea of developmental play after watching an episode of Every Baby's Adventures. You can read more about the learning behind Pouring and Scooping here.
Anyway, I had read about dye-ing pasta and rice online somewhere else. I saw rainbow rice/pasta-filled tactile learning tables when I toured preschools back in January. But we didn't have any food coloring in the house - for months - so I continued to forget about this fabulous idea. It is very easy, relatively inexpensive, somewhat messy, and toddler-pleasing!
You'll need uncooked rice, white vinegar, food coloring, a tablespoon, measuring cup, cookie sheet, foil, and at least one jar. The majority of which I am guessing you already have in your kitchen. I had to raid CPV's woodworking shop and dump out an old peanut butter jar filled with screws!
- Measure 2 tablespoons of vinegar and pour it in the jar. My toddler quickly noticed the unusual odor. She also pointed out that it looked like water. I took the opportunity to remind her that we do not drink unknown liquids. Just because something looks like water (or milk or juice) doesn't mean that it is safe to drink.
- Next add about 2 cups of rice. We used a 1/2 measuring cup and counted to four.
- Squirt in the food coloring, secure the jar's lid, and shake, shake, shake! Clearly this was her favorite part ... we made up songs and had a great time. NHV was amazed to see how the white rice took on a new color.
- Pour the contents onto the foil-lined cookie sheet. Must warn you, it was stinky!
- Rinse the jar. If you have the time and don't mind the increased mess-factor, I highly recommend toddler help with this step ... the sink is always a big hit!
- Repeat the process with another color. We did the four colors included in our set: red, blue, green, and yellow. And then mixed red and blue to make purple and red and yellow to make orange.
- Put the pan in the oven on 175 degrees for about 10 minutes.
- Pour your Rainbow Rice into an air-tight container for storing ... after you PLAY with it, of course!