How To Make Colored Rice

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How to make colored rice the easy way using one simple ingredient. Read more to find out the mess-free way of coloring long grain rice.

colored rice on baking sheet in rainbow order

Do you have a list of fun activities to do with your kids using colorful rice, but just don’t know where to start? I have tested a few different ways of coloring rice and I finally found my favorite. This simple technique dries the quickest and leaves the least amount of residue on your fingers while working. I’ve tried food coloring and vinegar but the colors never get bright enough for my liking and I don’t prefer the vinegar smell that sticks around for a bit. This beautiful rainbow rice can be created using paint. That’s it! Learn how to make colored rice the easy way by continuing to read below.

What You Will Need to Make Colored Rice

The amount of rice and paint will vary based on how much rice you plan to make. If you want a smaller batch to start, try using just one cup of rice instead of two for each color. You can always add more later if you decide you want a larger batch.

  • 2 cups of rice per color so 18 cups total – I prefer long-grain white rice
  • Paint in Varying Colors
  • Touch of Water
  • Ziploc Containers
  • Wax Paper

I used red, pink, orange, yellow, grass green, lime green, primary blue, turquoise blue, and purple to create a rainbow of colors.

How To Color Rice the Easy Way

Gather your materials and find a space that’s safe from a mess. If you can shake the bag outside that may be preferable. I haven’t had the bag break but I’ve heard of people who have. Instead of bags, you can use disposable containers with lids, too.

  1. To start, add rice to 9 different Ziploc bags (or however many colors you plan to make). Do not fill them because you need room to add paint and shake the bag.
  2. Add some paint to each bag and shake until the rice is fully covered. If your paint is thick, add a touch of water to help it spread.
  3. Once the rice is covered, lay the rice out on a sheet of wax paper or paper towel to dry. It usually takes about 30 minutes to dry unless the rice soaks up all of the paint immediately.
  4. Then you’re ready to use it for sensory play, crafts, and so much more.
process image colllage to make colored rice

Now that the rice is dry, it’s time for the fun part. I like to lay the rice out in rainbow order when making a rainbow sensory bin. This lets the kids see the colors by themselves before mixing them up. The vibrant colors give me so much satisfaction. The dyed rice provides endless hours of creative play for kids. They get so creative with how they play with the rice, it’s fun to watch.

wooden shovel in bowl of pink colored rice

What Can You Do With Rainbow Rice?

The possibilities are honestly endless with colored rice. We have used them to fill our sensory table or bins. The kids like using measuring cups, spoons, bowls and small toys to play in the rice. The rice feels really cool running through your fingers so it’s great for playtimes. We set aside a designated area where they can play with the rice to reduce mess because some will inevitably spill to the floor.

Sensory play with rice is great for developing fine motor skills. The small grains are tiny so little fingers have to work to pick up individual pieces. I supply the kids with plastic tweezers and tools that invite that type of play and fine motor movement. Playing with rice is a fun experience for kids of all ages. There are so many themed sensory bins you can make using rice. Use orange for Halloween, yellow, pink, and purple for spring and Easter, red and green rice for Christmas and so much more.

Rainbow rice can also be used for plenty of crafts. Glue some blue rice down to make rivers in a drawing or painting. Use green to create grass and yellow to make a sun. Let the kids use tweezers or their fingers to place each piece.

How To Store the Colored Rice

If you plan to use the rice for sensory play, store it in plastic containers. I found my air-tight container at the Dollar Tree. The dry rice will keep for a long time. As long as you don’t have wet rice, you should be able to keep the rice in a large bin for years to come.

More Sensory Activity Ideas for Kids

Use this fun activity and so many more to keep kids engaged and entertained throughout the year. Check out these other sensory activities I have on my blog.

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