Dyed Rice

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Here’s a simple idea to take your sensory play with materials like rice or pasta up a notch. I’ve read about versions of this game using Kool-Aid powder, but since I’m leery of a few of the ingredients in Kool-Aid, I wondered if I could copy the method with natural paint powders. The result wasn’t quite as vibrant as Kool-Aid… but that’s probably a good thing!

Set-up is a little messy. If your child is under 3, you’re probably going to need to do most of the work, although I let Travis sit in on the action. Place about 1 cup rice in large zip-top freezer bags, making as many portions as you want colors. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons paint powder to each bag. Travis did enjoy this part, so I didn’t mind a little mess!

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Add 1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol to each bag, then seal the bags and let your toddler shake or knead to incorporate the color.

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Transfer the colored rice to a foil-lined baking sheet. Note: you may want to separate each color with a strip of foil as well, until they are dry. Let dry overnight.

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The next morning, it’s exploration time! I poured the rice into a bin for Travis, and he was amazed to see colors instead of plain white. First we explored the rice by hand.

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Then of course it was time to mix them all together!

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Travis would fill a smaller container and then dump it back into the larger bin, talking about the colors as they poured. Overall, the game was a nice variation, since regular rice has become old-hat around here.