In fact, my four year old had so much fun that he flat out refused to go to preschool the next day, so he could stay home and “have fun with Mom.” I think I need to put more effort and creativity into my time with these younger kids just like I did with their older siblings.
The rubbing alcohol does have quite a strong smell, but once it dries, the smell is gone, so don’t be afraid!
For each rice color
- 4 C uncooked rice
- 3 T rubbing alcohol
- 2 small globs of food color gel, or 2 T liquid food coloring
- In a gallon size ziploc bag, combine all three ingredients. Remove the air and zip close. Smoosh and mash the bag until the color is evenly distributed.
- Pour onto a cookie sheet and allow to dry completely. It helps drying time to stir it occasionally.
Can you cook the rice after it is colored? I think my grandson would like doing this…
Sandra, if you think he would like eating rainbow rice you could try adding food coloring to the water you are cooking the rice in. My kids love it when I make “cool” rice for the holidays.
Is it safe to eat even with the rubbing alcohol in it?
It isn’t meant to eat. Just to play with!
Maurice H says
The idea is to let the alcohol evaporate before use.
If the colouring used is food safe, it should be edible.
However, when you cook it there is the chance the food colouring will bleach out or run..
Probably better to add that into the water when cooking.
Kool Aid is an easy to find and safe colouring agent, plus it adds some interesting flavours.
Kristine Skocpol says
Instead of using rubbing alcohol, you can use vodka which will evaporate and is food safe… We use vodka a lot when we make cookies and cakes and we’re dealing with color… it goes in to the fondant…Vodka and food coloring is used to paint cakes, etc
Sandra: The honest answer is I don’t know. I don’t think I would be comfortable eating it afterward. The food coloring is completely safe, but I would be afraid of any traces of rubbing alcohol which is definitely not safe. Plus, once my kids are done playing in it, it isnt the cleanest rice in town either 🙂
I know when I tried dyeing pasta, you can replace the rubbing alcohol with vinegar. Not sure if it would work with rice or not, and even if it did, I don’t know how the color would hold up while cooking. Now, if you added food coloring directly to the water while cooking it I would think it would color up quite nicely…
I think the vinegar, vodka, koolaid or adding the food coloring after options are the best options at retaining the color of the rice if you wanted to cook and eat it. I speak from my knowledge of dyeing natural fibers and an acid is required in the process as well as heat to sett the color. The vinegar and the vodka s mentioned by another are used when using food coloring or other natural/around the house sources for dyeing natural fibers. If koolaid is used there is no need since there is an acid in the koolaid to begin with. ♀️
Thanks so much for this! It was a great rainy day activity getting to made, and a great busy box activity for my preschool kids. I love your site… thanks for taking the time to share!
I just found your blog thru pinterest…I love pinterest! Your blog is great…My baby is 19 but you made me smile remembering what i used to to with them when they were young. Like you said the smiles are worth the little bit of mess!
I just stumbled upon this post via Pinterest in an effort to find things to do with my 2 and half year old. And I have a stupid question. When you say 3 T of rubbing alcohol is that tablespoons or teaspoons? Thanks.
Juliana- it is Tablespoons. Have fun! We’ve been playing with this original batch of rice for years
When my kiddos were little, I made colored rice and then put it into clear, dry water bottles along with lots of tiny treasures. They could spend hours looking for all the items on the list!
That sounds like a fun idea Stacey! Thanks for sharing
how long does it take this to dry? After its dry does the color “bleed” out onto small hands or flooring (carpet)?
Great questions Melanie! It dries fairly quickly since you just need the alcohol to evaporate. To speed it up, just spread it out as much as you can and stir it around a few times. At most, an hour. This does not bleed at all! It is wonderful and my kids have been using it for years now
i come through pinterest nice place with colorful activies
I was thinking of coloring rice this way, then using it to do mosaics. Has anyone used glue on this rice? Does it bleed if you do?
I haven’t ever used it with glue but I adore the mosaic idea! Come back and let me know how it works
I glued it to a canvas. The only problem I had was the rice does fall off if it’s messed with. Putting mod podge on top does help a little.
Interesting use of the rice Jacquie! Thanks for sharing -Carole
LOVE this idea and am LITERALLY making it right now! Silly question….rubbing alcohol!? Why is it needed? What does it do?
Howdy Karli! The alcohol helps the rice absorb the color and then makes it so it doesn’t run off on the kids hands. After it dries, it doesn’t smell at all. My batch is over 4 years old and my little two still play with it all the time
Thanks for this great post and idea. I will have my almost 3 yr old grandson for the weekend and I was looking for things to do that didn’t require driving a long time or costing a bundle. Thanks!!
This will be perfect for a three year old little guy Ellen! Enjoy your weekend together 🙂