If you are looking for ways to entertain the kiddos this summer, here is one really simple craft project.
Our family went to a community festival last weekend and there was a booth for a daycare center. The center had a simple sandbox set up with colored rice and I could not believe how long our children wanted to sit and play with the rice!
I decided to head right on home and make the exact same thing pronto since they enjoyed playing in it so much.
So this is super simple and very inexpensive to do.
I made colored rice and just set it out to dry in the sun. The girls actually helped me with each color and then once it was dry a few hours later, they sat with buckets and played for ages.
To make the rice could not be easier:
- 4 cups of dry white rice
- 3 tablespoons of vinegar (or use rubbing alcohol)
- 3-6 drops of food coloring (we had Neon McCormick leftover from Easter)
Here are the steps I took- note my little ones are 3 and 4 1/2 years old.
Step 1: Measure 4 cups of rice into Ziploc bags. You can also put them in a bowl. My girls took turns measuring into the bags.
Step 2: Add food coloring and 3 tbl of white vinegar. I used a mason jar and the girls took turns shaking the jar to mix and adding it to the Ziplocs. (Note: Mommy learned a lesson to never, ever leave children unattended with food coloring after she stepped away for seconds to rinse the mason jar between colors.)
You can also just mix this in a small bowl. If the color is not right just add a few more drops of food color to the rice inside the Ziploc- it will mix together fine.
Step 3: Shake that bag like crazy! You want the colors to be nice and even all over the rice. You can see the purple above wasn’t very purple-y so just keep adding more color until you see what you like.
Step 4: And last but not least, let the rice dry out a bit. We left it in the sun for about 2 hours and that seemed fine. You can leave it inside too if the weather isn’t nice.
(And by the way- those little trays are only $1.99 at Target right now in the summer section! I am using them for everything- for the girls rainboots outside, playdoh trays, for snacks… craft projects… Love!)
Step 5: And now you are set! I used some storage tubs we had in the playroom and gave each girl a bunch of random items from the Dollar Spot at Target and from the kitchen. They got spatulas, an egg strainer, plastic cups, measuring spoons… just little things that seemed like it might be fun.
So this was super easy to do and the girls had a great time playing with the rice. I dumped it all back into Ziploc bags to put away for another day once they were finished.
So the price of this entire activity was about $8.00. I got a huge bag of rice from Costco for $8 (this project didn’t even make a dent in that monster bag), we had the food color leftover from Easter and the vinegar as well.
One note if you decide to try this. Rice can supposedly be very harmful to birds- some people say it can kill them and others say it won’t hurt them at all. If you want to be extra safe just lay blankets or old sheets outside to catch the spillover.
We had a picnic blanket out on our grass and then my husband did a once over with the Wet/Dry vac after just to be sure we got it all up. (Little known fact but I do not like birds… they seriously freak me out so we did not want to harm them or encourage them to come for a visit to the backyard.)
This would be a great item to put on your Summer Fun List for the little ones!