What to Do – Pour Rice

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Categories Activities, Preschoolers, Singletons, Toddlers

I  first read about dyeing rice on The Crafty Crow, who got it from Colorfool. I’ve been meaning to do it for quite some time but when I realized that yesterday was Monday (my usual post day) and that I was late (again) with posting my activity o’ the week, I figured now (yesterday) was the time.

Of course, once I bothered to read the setup directions, I realized that it wasn’t going to happen in one day – you gotta let the rice dry out first. Bummer. But on the good side, once you create your dyed rice then you will be the proud owner of a nice container of dyed rice that can be used/enjoyed for years to come.

Core Activity: Pour or scoop lovely dyed rice from one container to another.

  • Age appropriateness: 15 months & up (whenever you think that your kids won’t just cram the rice into their mouths)
  • Materials needed: a bag of rice (I used regular long grain white rice that I found in the pantry, which happened to be 6 years old – yuck!), food coloring, rubbing alcohol or white distilled vinegar, and a big plastic baggie.
  • Setup: put desired number of drops in the baggie (I ended up using about 10 drops of red and 10 of blue) plus about 2 teaspoons of alcohol or vinegar (brightens up the color) into the baggie and mix together. Then add the rice (I had about 36 ounces ’cause that’s what came in the package I had on hand), MAKE SURE THE BAGGIE IS WELL SEALED, and then shake, shake, shake your booty, ahem, I mean, baggie. Spread it out on a cookie sheet (a jelly roll pan is best ’cause it’s got a rim) and let the rice dry overnight.

Activity: Set a cookie sheet out in front of your kids. Add various random containers, spoons, scoops, cups, whatever you’ve got around. Add the rice. Let the kids pour, scoop, spoon, draw lines with their fingers or pick up individual grains.

I was inspired to do this after reading (too many) blogs written by homeschooling moms and Montessori teachers. The concept of pouring and scooping as activities is not only fun for kids but it teaches some of the Practical Life skills that the Montessori method advocates. (I’m currently half considering homeschooling my kids. Primarily because the public schools in my town aren’t good. At all. And private schools for three kids is waaaaay too e.x.p.e.n.s.i.v.e. But I digress.)

Anyway, Katie seemed to enjoy this quite a bit and I’m glad I have something on hand that I can quickly stick in front of her and get an extra 5-10 minutes of distraction.


Eat. Well, uh, duh. How about some rice? Some nice sushi anyone? Although I don’t recommend eating the dyed rice. I suppose if you made it with the vinegar it’s probably safe enough. Still, you won’t catch me eating anything my 3-year-old has been playing with for 25 minutes!

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2 thoughts on “What to Do – Pour Rice”

  1. I made a rice box (inspired from same sites, I think, as well as the Artful Parent). One hint on the coloring the rice is that if you let it sit in the alcohol/food dye mixture overnight or even longer, the colors come out more vibrant. I did with a bunch of different colors and it is fun that way.

    Also, have to say, this is a great thing to have on hand for twins – great shared toy. I put the rice in a very large rubbermaid container (like the kind you use for storing sweaters under the bed) and bought a bunch of cheap measuring cups/spoon/funnels from Ikea. Also, since I have boys, they love bringing out their dump trucks and things along those lines when we bring out the rice box.

    Lastly, we’ve learned over time that the best place to “play rice box” is outside on a picnic blanket. Mess is easier to clean up. You can scoop up some of the stray rice from the picnic blanket and the rest just stays outside :) (versus finding rice stuck to your feet days/weeks after playing rice box inside).

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