Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Rainbow rice

Rice is such a simple ingredient for a sensory bin - you're bound to have some at home, it is edible if your baby/toddler still tries to eat everything and it is a great medium for scooping/pouring/picking up etc. 

Around the same time I was thinking of making a rice sensory bin I also saw someone making rainbow coloured rice kripsy treats (see here - which I am definitely going to make at some point!) and so I was instantly sold on making a rainbow-coloured sensory bin – why settle on one or two colours when you could have 6?! Especially as I still have all the colour gel pastes from making D’s birthday cake.

I then googled rainbow rice and found a million other bloggers had (unsurprisingly) made it before. Luckily they made it sound very simple so (much to my husband’s amusement as he watched the process) off I started.

How to make rainbow rice:

White uncooked rice
Large ziploc bag
Gel food colours

I guesstimated how much rice I wanted to make to fill our sensory bin to a decent level without making a crazy large amount – and settled on 2kg, so approximately 350g per colour.

  1. Weigh out the amount of rice and pour into a ziploc bag
  2. Using a skewer, mix the gel colour pot and put a small amount inside the plastic bag but away from the rice
  3. Add 1-2 teaspoons of vinegar to the gel colour and mix up (this makes the gel much more “liquidy” and so easier to spread amongst the rice. I suspect it also helped it set the colour better too)
  4. Seal the bag and get shaking :)
  5. Shake until all the rice is covered evenly in colour (if you have a willing child they can do the shaking for you!) – but be careful as I managed to split a few bags from overly rough shaking and the last thing you want is wet coloured rice all over your floor…
  6. Once the rice is well coloured empty it out onto a tray covered by baking paper and leave to dry. It was a sunny day when I was making it so the rice dried in an hour outside but if its not sunny then I’d leave it overnight just to make sure it is properly dry
  7. Repeat for each different colour you want to make

Next time I think I will use less colouring and another teaspoon of vinegar which should make the colours not quite as dark – especially the blue and purple. You could also make this with paint rather than food colouring but I wanted to make a completely edible version in case D tried to eat any.

So what did Doof think?

He loved it :) first of all he was intrigued by all the different coloured bags

Then he enjoyed using his hands to mix all the colours together

Then he enjoyed doing some raking

Some scooping

Some pouring

 And some sprinkling

And last, but definitely not least, he got to do some sweeping (his favourite thing at the moment!)

This is the sensory bin he has asked to play with the most and as he gets older we can use to talk about colours aswell. He doesn't mind at all that the colours are all mixed up now and the more he plays with it, the more different things he discovers. At the moment he is enjoying burying animals under a pile of rice, pretending they have disappeared and then trying to get me to find them :)

I love the rainbow rice we’ve got and Doof has already played with it over 20 times, still enjoying it just as much as the first time he saw it. It is so easy to store aswell – just pour it back into a Ziploc bag after you’ve finished playing with it and it will keep for months.

If it all seems like a bit too much effort you could make something similar but with a lot less effort – just walk around your local supermarket and choose an assortment of different coloured produce (e.g. orange lentils, yellow couscous, black lentils). A much less work intensive version if you can think of colours for the whole rainbow...

Let me know if you try making this with your little one or if you think of any other ways to play with it - I love to hear your feedback :)

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