After seeing ideas for sensory bins online, I started wishing that I had access to all the resources that they did…Dollar Tree, WalMart, the Dollar Section at Target….I became quite envious of American teachers.
But what’s a girl to do? Where commercialism fails, creativity has to take over, and where creativity has to take over, Google is a girl’s best friend. Sure enough, a quick Google search on “how to dye rice” turned up a super-simple recipe on the first try. The recipe calls for 1/4 c. of vinegar, but subsequent experiments showed that 1/4 cup was waaaay too much for the amount of rice I was wanting to make to start with (about a cup of rice). I ended up using about 1/8 c. for later batches, and looking a little further on Google showed me a recipe that used only two tablespoons for a cup of rice.
To make the rice, I put the vinegar in a plastic bag (the recipe called for Ziploc bags, but there was no way I was going to use my precious expensive baggies for this; I just used a cheap transparent plastic bag, twisted the top so nothing spilled, and it worked great). I added a generous squirt of food coloring (the recipe called for just a few drops, but I think perhaps the food coloring here in Peru isn’t as strong as in the States? Anyway, I almost always have to use more than recipes call for). I mixed the vinegar and food coloring, added the rice, smooshed it around until it was all colored, and spread it out to dry.
It was dry to the touch after just a few hours (all except the first batch, where I used the full 1/4 c.; that still isn’t quite dry) but I let it dry overnight just to be sure. Once it was dry, I stored it in plastic containers (I buy bouillion cubes in the round plastic containers shown, so I always save them when I’m done with them!)
Just to see what it looks like, I took a pinch of each color and mixed them. The result was such a happy, cheery confetti-mix that I just fell in love with it! You can’t really tell from the pictures just how bright and cheerful the colors are, but they’re absolutely adorable.
The only problem is that my green (I didn’t have dark green, only lime green) ended up being so close to yellow that you can’t really tell it apart when the colors are mixed. I had wanted to play a sorting game (give each child a tablespoon of rice, and see who could sort it into colors the fastest) with four colors, but I think I’ll count the “green” and the yellow as just one.