Rainbow Rice

10 Sep

I wanted to make a new activity for the toddler.  He has piles and piles of toys, yet all he wants to do is color at his craft table and tear my house apart.  Pulling things out of cabinets and drawers is utter fascination.  Then there’s the action of putting stuff into other stuff.

Toys?  Pshaw.  What does he care?  He turns 2 next week, and we really didn’t even look much at toys for his birthday gifts.  Or even books.  I find myself having to read the same Veggie Tales book over and over and over that I have fantasies of throwing it in the garbage can.  So he’s getting a stuffed animal, a matching game, and a tricycle.  And of course, crayons.  My word, the boy loves crayons.

So, that leads back to my desire to come up with a new activity for him.  Perusing Pinterest a few weeks ago brought up the idea of rainbow rice.  That’s nothing more than rice colored with food coloring, then given to a child to play with.  Cheap and easy.

I started with a inexpensive bag of white rice.  I measured 2 cups of rice into 4 loaf pans.  (That’s 2 cups per pan for 8 cups total.)  I added several drops of food coloring to each pan, plus 1 tsp. of vinegar.  Stirred it all up to get the color nicely mixed in and all the rice coated.  Then I stuck the pans in a 200-degree (F) oven for about 30 minutes to dry it all out.

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Next, I went on a search in the house for a large container with a lid.  I discovered a plastic bin full of bank statements from 1999 and figured those could be shredded and tossed, so I dumped them out on the guest bed and commandeered the bin for another, more interesting purpose.


I added some tubs from Alex’s Box of Trash (a bin full of old containers, mayo jars full of rice or beads or water or some other thing to shake and make noise, milk jugs, etc.) and some dollar-store measuring scoops.  Then I let the little man go at it.

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Alex got busy scooping and sifting and having a great time with the rice.  (And if you’re wondering why my kid is shirtless, it’s because he has started to freak out if he gets any food on his shirt, which means it must come off right now or there will be a meltdown, people!  Nevermind that this wouldn’t be an issue if he’d stop ripping off his bibs during meals.  So, the shirt gets removed, and Mommy is too tired to go upstairs and get another one from his drawer.)

This activity was a big win with the toddler.  It was a losing proposition for the floor, though.  Thank God, we have a whole lot of tile, rather than carpet.  And I have a stick vac.  I nearly lost my mind trying to clean my tile before I bought that thing!


The bad thing is, rainbow rice cannot compete with a bag of flour while I’m cooking.  I set Alex up in the kitchen yesterday with his bin, hoping that he’d happily play with that while I cooked.  He was good until I turned on my electric mixer (too exciting!), and then I got out a bag of flour, which looked like the Most Exciting Thing Ever.  That turned into a full-on tantrum when I became Mean Mommy and wouldn’t let him play in flour.  I have my mess limit, after all.


One Response to “Rainbow Rice”

  1. carrie September 10, 2013 at 5:32 PM #

    I made some a few months ago. My children didn’t play with it for too long, though. Perhaps I should pull it out again tomorrow for another try . . .

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