I started out with our natural food coloring, and noticed that the colors were rich, but not vibrant, as you can see from this first batch of earth tones. Then, I ran out of yellow. So I added powdered turmeric to the yellow and orange, hoping to affect the color. Which it did—but the turmeric also instantly turned my hands yellow. Sensory overload.
And, since I used apple-scented hand gel to set the color, the whole thing smells horrible. Fake-apple-foreign-spice-factory bad. Sensory fail.
Somehow, since the last time I Googled, the techniques on rice-dying have improved. I wish I'd checked this out before I started. It turns out you can set the color (and shorten drying time) with either a tablespoon of plain rubbing alcohol, or white vinegar. So I bagged up the sad, sorry, smelly all-natural rice and started over. (I'm hoping our preschool can use it for something. I think the powdered turmeric precludes it from successful I-spy jars.)
Starboy was champing at the bit to play. I'm not so excited that the colors look like Easter confetti, but whatever. I guess not everything can be brown and green. I like to keep his environment more simple, with solid colors, so he can concentrate, so this is bold new territory. Ha.
* Then shortly after I originally posted this, he informed me that his plastic hamster and plastic mouse did not like the new rice. That he asked for. That I stayed up late making last night.
Too many colors.
"They want plain blue, so they can be in water."
* He happily dug right in, initially, but it didn't engage him like the original rice box did.
It's Muriel Mouse's own little Disneyland. But I guess she gets overstimulated there, like everyone else!
Recipe for colored rice
as gleaned from many mommy sites on the Internet
1-2 cups rice (per color)
1 Tbsp rubbing alcohol / white vinegar
2 good squirts of liquid water color
Mix all ingredients together in a sealed zipper bag or a cheap plastic container that can be stained (you never know). Repeat as needed if you want more than one color.
Spread wet, colored rice onto a tray that is covered with a paper towel, until dry (I like the $2 Smula tray from Ikea for art projects; we have a stack of them). This may happen quickly, but I let ours dry overnight.