DIY Rainbow Rice for Toddlers

While everyone in the states is experiencing winter weather and the Midwest is experiencing a polar vortex, we have been house bound with much milder conditions. We’ve had a ton of rain off and on for a few weeks , which is typical for a tropical climate, but combined with a cold and a lingering runny nose, we’ve been a little stir crazy. Just when you think the sun is coming out, rain clouds follow almost immediately.


In my zoo keeping days, I spent a lot of time thinking of new ways to create enrichment for the animals I worked with. Now I spend my time looking for new ways to keep my 1.5 year old daughter busy when we have to spend a little more time than usual inside. Earlier this week, I decided to organize her toys into 7 bins, one for each day of the week. I pull a new bin out each day in hopes that it’ll help with toy boredom. It’s also appealing to my inner Marie Kondo (we will see how long it lasts)! Today on the other hand, we decided to do the opposite- make a mess, and create rainbow rice! I followed the Happy Hooligans recipe found here. All you need is a few bowls, rice, vinegar and food coloring! I would have used bowls to mix the rice which is much more environmentally friendly, but that would have lasted about 2 seconds around my daughter, so we opted for plastic bags.


It’s too humid, too windy and too rainy to leave the rice outside to dry (nothing ever dries outside here even in the sun!) so I opted for baking the rice in the oven at 250 degrees instead. I wasn’t exactly paying attention to how long it was baking for, but I want to say it was close to 30 minutes. Once it was done cooling I put the rice in a wide, shallow container and let her play! Surprisingly, she played for about 10 minutes before tossing the rice everywhere and trying to carry it around the house vertically. It was worth it though! I gave her some pens, a small shovel from her beach toy bag, and some smaller toys to play with and bury. She “dug” it!


If you’re looking for an interactive way to create with your kiddo, I recommend giving rainbow rice a go!