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We all know that I love rainbows (you can find all of our beautiful rainbow activities here)...so of course I can't resist rainbow rice! Traditionally rainbow rice is made using food coloring and vinegar, but S and I wanted to know what it would look like using our Discount School Supply tropical colored Colorations Liquid Watercolors (What are Liquid Watercolors?) so we gave it a try.


If you have an infant or toddler who is prone to sampling, I'd stick with the plain rice for rice play myself.  Once they are not so tempted (or if you are willing to watch them vigilantly as we had to do with X - that rainbow rice looks tasty!), rainbow rice is a fun way to mix it up.  I personally can't stop staring at our newest batch!

To make colored rice of either variety, we start with a Ziploc bag (we use the freezer kind because we tend to make large quantities at once) full of whatever amount of rice we're looking to color.  Add the rice and then:

If using Colorations Liquid Watercolors add directly the amount of color you want.  If you shake the bag and some grains of rice are still white, add more color.  The more color you make, the richer the color will be.  You don't want to soak the rice, however.  For the amount seen below I used three squirts of pink.

If using food coloring, add a hearty amount and add a small bit of vinegar.  For the amount of rice pictured below, I'd add around a teaspoon of vinegar.  The vinegar helps spread and set the color.  If you still have some white grains of rice, add more food coloring (and/or vinegar).  The more food coloring you add, the darker the color of the rice will be.  You are not aiming for wet rice - but you are aiming for uniform color.

After adding the coloring, hand the bag to the nearest toddler/preschooler for shaking.  :)


I like to make one color at a time, rinsing the Ziploc in between each color to minimize the waste generated.


As each color is completed, I lay out a sheet of wax paper on the counter and spread the rice as thinly as possible.  As it dries, we mix it up with our hands to make sure all the grains have a chance to air dry.  The rice pictured below was colored with our liquid watercolors.


Ooh!  So pretty!  I couldn't resist a close up of our tropical lime green rice.  :)


Here's our color comparison.  The rice on the left was made with tropical liquid watercolors.  The rice on the right was made with food coloring and vinegar.  I felt like the Colorations Liquid Watercolors did a better job of totally coating the grains and therefore produced more vibrant colors.  Our liquid watercolor rice (probably in part to the "tropical" coloring) almost glowed!  It was so bright and cheerful and inviting.


Here's a grain by grain comparison.  Though the red and yellow food coloring did a pretty good job, I think overall the liquid watercolor rice had better coloration.  There's also the smell...the food coloring rice definitely smells of vinegar.  It's faint, but still there.  The theory is that the vinegar will keep the rice from growing mold; however, I have had vinegar colored pasta mold because we stored it before it had completely dried out.  I think the most important thing, regardless of what method you use to color your rice, is to be sure to give it ample time to completely dry.  I'd say at least a day of sitting out in open air before sealing it in a storage container would be ample to discourage mold.


Though either way produces beautiful and enticing rice, our favorite method was Colorations Liquid Watercolors   It was easier (no measuring), has no scent (no vinegar!), and produced more vibrant colors.  I also suspect that it is ultimately more cost effective because food coloring is expensive and coloring rice requires quite a bit of it!


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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.

Comments

  1. Beautiful! I love colored rice and that is gorgeous :)

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    1. Thank you! I just can't get over how bright it is!! :)

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  2. SO pretty and SO much fun! Can't wait to try this with our liquid watercolors, thanks!

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    1. Yes and yes! I find it to be MUCH easier than food coloring and vinegar, too.

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  3. We made this and made it with the watercolors from colorations too. I tried to make silver - but that just ended up looking grey and not silvery or sparkly at all. I might try some of the 'make it glitter' or 'make it shimmer' range with the next batch and see if we can make sparkly rice. It was super easy and amazing colors & hugely entertaining for the girls - both the making & playing!

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    1. We love the vibrant colors so much more with liquid watercolors - and yes, so much easier! Bummer about the silver - we've never seen the silver liquid watercolors before - I am now intrigued! Cool idea to try the glitter/shimmer. Let me know if it works! :)

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  4. I love rainbow rice! We use alcohol hand gel on our rice instead of vinegar - it stops the colour from coming off and it doesn't smell of anything. Love the colours you get from the liquid watercolours. Lovely blog :)

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    1. Rainbow rice is the best! That's a great idea! I recently read of another blogger who uses scented hand gel to make it smell great! I am too addicted to our liquid watercolors to go back to food coloring to give it a try, though, LOL.

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  5. I love the colours you got with the watercolours!!! Could you tell me wich colours you used???
    Thank you!!!

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    1. Thank you! We used Discount School Supply's Tropical set to get these colors! :)

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  6. Where do you buy all your rice? I have only seen maybe 3 lb bags at the market and it was not cheap.

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    1. Safeway generic brand in the large bags tends to be a bit cheaper. I've also gotten some from Grocery Outlet (around $15 for 20 lbs I think) and from the Dollar Tree ($1 per pound). Overall it isn't the cheapest - but it does last nearly forever! We still have a batch of rainbow rice from when S was 2 and it's in great shape. We keep it sealed in shoebox storage container. As long as you don't get it wet, it should keep for quite some time.

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  7. I use colorations and rubbing alcohol. Helps to not saturate the rice and dries quicker. I have 6 bottles of the ra that I keep one for each color. Any leftover liquid can be put back in the bottle and saved.

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    1. Interesting! We will have to try that method!

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Well, hello there!



Welcome to Fun at Home with Kids! I'm Asia, a teacher (M. Ed) turned SAHM mom to two young kids: X and S. Around here we like to do a little bit of everything - science, art, crafts, sensory play, and small world play. Click here to read more about us!

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