Please note that beans present a choking hazard for young children. Raw uncooked beans, if ingested, can cause discomfort. This activity is not intended for children who are still putting things in their mouths. Please provide constant supervision during this activity.
Dried Beans are one of our favorite sensory materials around here, so when I saw this post on Coloring Lima Beans from Praying for Parker I was super excited - I'd never thought to color them before! One of the things we really adore around here is super bright vibrant colors - and I wanted to see if I could find a way that would color the beans more fully than the method used by Praying for Parker.
Though the ultimate answer was pretty simple, it took a LOT of tries to get it just right.
But once I'd finally figured out the method, we had such gorgeous and brightly colored beans that it was all worth it. :)
I couldn't resist a few shots of the full rainbow before the kids dug in.
Post children. Still beautiful, though! I think they look a bit like jellybeans, hahaha!
The kids had fun just playing and running their fingers and toes through the beans. Then they decided they'd like some cooking supplies and set to work cooking each other a variety of things.
S enjoyed sorting out the beans by color to make separate meals of blueberries (blue beans), spinach (green beans), and eggs (yellow beans). As always, they needed to be IN the bin. :)
I'd remembered Fun A Day's post on coloring corn kernels and that she had the same problem initially - she couldn't get the kernels fully saturated with color. I used the method she outlined, and though it did brightly color the beans, the skins sloughed off. Well, shoot. I tested both liquid watercolors and food coloring and with and without vinegar and with a variety of soaking times and only one method yielded beautiful beans every time. So here's how to do it. Buy a lot of beans - any lightly colored bean will do. Lima beans, white navy beans (what we used here), even pinto beans (you can usually score big bags of pintos at the Dollar Tree!). Measure a cup of beans into a container. We used a tupperware (Gladware) container, but a bag would probably also work. Add one cup of beans and 15 drops of whatever food coloring (food dye) color you wish. To get the rainbow of colors you see here I used a combination of regular food coloring and neon food coloring. Unfortunately, for once, liquid watercolors did not work as well as food coloring! Once you add the 15 drops, close the lid or seal the bag (add some air if you're using a bag) and shake them like crazy for about 10-20 seconds - until you see that they are completely coated. Immediately dump them out onto a paper towel or paper towel lined tray and spread them out evenly so they are not clumped together (see below). Allow them to air dry for several hours.
The beans will last for several months, if not longer, so long as they are kept dry. We've had ours for about 3 months now and they are just as bright and vibrant as ever. We keep them in a plastic shoe storage box when we're not playing with them.
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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.