How to Color Rice

I’m pretty sure that learning how to color rice is a preschool necessity.  There are so many ways you can use colored rice: sensory bins, sensory bottles, homemade musical instruments, pretend cooking, art projects, and more.  It’s seriously fun stuff!  So when I realized this week that we had never made ANY colored rice at all, I knew I had to remedy the situation!  My two preschoolers and I had a blast making COLORED AND SCENTED rice this week, and because we hesitated so long to do it ourselves, we wanted to share just how truly simple it is to make so that YOU will not be afraid to try it yourself.

how to color rice

Materials Needed:

  • White Rice
  • Kool-Aid Packet
  • Rubbing Alcohol

For directions, see this tutorial from Mama Miss.  We used it as our guide.  As a first time rice dyer, I enjoyed reading her post for an explanation as to why she thinks Kool-Aid is better than food coloring for dying rice.  We weren’t let down!  It’s a superb tutorial and super simple to follow!  She goes into a lot more detail than I do here, so be sure to pop over to see all her great tips and tricks!  

We chose to make green rice for our first project.  Using Melissa’s measurements, we filled two plastic zippered baggies each with 2 cups of rice, 1 packet of Wild Watermelon Kiwi Kool-Aid drink mix, and 1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol.  

how to color rice

The kids enjoyed holding the bags while I filled them and especially loved shaking and squeezing the ingredients to mix them well.  They commented several times about how good it smelled.  (They didn’t seem to mind the alcohol smell at all as it was mostly masked by the scented drink mix.)  

how to color rice

After waiting the recommended amount of time, we emptied our bags of now bright green rice onto a big baking sheet.  The kids spread the rice out with spoons to allow it to dry.  

how to color rice

It was already mostly dry to the touch, but we allowed it to air dry for a few hours before using it.

Learning how to color rice was such a fun activity for the kids and for me.  I’m really glad I involved the kids in the activity because making the colored rice was a sensory experience in itself!  We will definitely be making LOTS more in LOTS of different colors for LOTS of different activities.  

how to color rice

Be sure to check out In Lieu of Preschool‘s sister site, Parent Teach Play, where I share a soccer sensory bin using our Wild Watermelon Kiwi scented green rice to act as grass!  It’s been a huge hit at our house!!

Have you made colored rice before?  What method did you use to color your rice?


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