Category Archives: R

Colored Rice

Colored Rice Science with Kids In The Kitchen.

In The Kitchen

You can make an edible colored rice by using mashed cooked peas to color the rice green, carrots to color it orange, and red cabbage or red beets to color the rice pink.  

Just cook the rice in the pureed vegetable to create the color of your choice.   Add in the amount of pureed vegetable to the water, or chicken broth, and reduce the amount of liquid required to cook the rice by the amount of puree you add.  The rice will absorb the cooking water with the coloring of the pureed vegetable you added.  There will also be small pieces of the vegetable left and this really enhances the overall color you will see.  You can also use cooled cooked rice as a thickener in hot soups, or in cold smoothies such as with strawberries for pink, blueberries for purple, or with peaches for orange.


However, we are not eating today’s creation, so we made it with food coloring and rubbing alcohol.  Each of the five kids participated on their skill level.  The older children measured the alcohol, coloring, and rice.  The younger children helped prepare the table with needed items, helped shake, and spread.  

We made this colored rice for a science-art project, comparing colors, and to use in upcoming letter boxes, sensory bins, and arts and crafts.    We learned that if you add more or less drops of colors together, you get a new color.  For example, if you mix six drops of red with two drops of blue, you get a dusty rose color.

I encourage everyone to give this simple experiment a try.


This is so simple and frugal to do.  It costs approximately $0.50 a pound, but I am sure it could be done cheaper if you can get larger quantities of rice at a good price.  I bought a two pound bag of rice for $1 at the local dollar type store.  We used so little food coloring and rubbing alcohol that I didn’t even factor the cost in.  But a container of mixed colors cost us under $4 and a large bottle of rubbing alcohol was $1.  But we barely used both of these so the actual cost of using them was negligible.  If you want to, you could add on a few pennies and say you can make this project for under $0.55 a pound, but again I did not calculate actual values of the coloring and alcohol.

Two pounds of rice can be used to make a 2 lb batch of one color, or divided into either 2-1 lb batches or 4-1/2 pound batches, or 8-1/4 lb batches, or mix and match to equal the 2lbs (this is a great math lesson extension) depending on the colors and projects you want to use it for.  We made used the mix and match idea and made 1 lb of green, and 1/4 pound each of pink (dusty rose), blue, and yellow.

How To Make Colored Rice

Start with measuring the amount of rice you want to color into a plastic bag.  I did not have a lot of nice new bags on hand.  And in the spirit of keeping this project frugal, I just improvised.  So we re-used several plastic bags including one large and one small ziploc, a reused bread bag, and the original package the rice came in. 

Add a spoon of rubbing alcohol.

Add a few drops of food coloring.

Observe.  We noticed the color spread to several rice grains very quickly.

Now shake.  Make sure your bag is closed!

Shake some more.

Observe again.

Leave the bag closed for about an hour, and shake a few more times when you think about it.  Then after about an hour, pour the contents onto a paper towel lined cookie sheet, and allow to dry for a few hours.  Then place in an airtight container until you are ready to use it.

We repeated the above process three more times to make other colors.  Then let them sit in the bags for an hour.

Then came the fun unveiling of our colored rice. 

Remember we started with plain white rice.  This is what rice looks like after the outer bran has been removed.  Set out some plain rice for the children to observe again.  Then have them compare it to the colored rice they made. 



Children really enjoy the sensory experience of playing in the colored rice.  It is beautiful to look at, and feels cool, stimulating, and relaxing to the hands. 

Tots, Preschoolers, and lower Elementary age kids really like playing “I Spy” and “Hide and Seek” games with object hidden in the colored rice. 

There are so many fun possibilities with using this as a prop and learning tool in their play.

Get the broom ready!

We had so much fun making this today.  Just look at what we made for about $1.

Now we will add some funnels, scoops, spoons, hide some objects, put in some cars or construction equipment, some little animals, make some crafts, and have so much fun!!!

I will post some links here to related stories playing and learning we did with this colored rice as I get them published.  I have a lot of toddler and  preschool learning and sensory activities in mind, and art projects with all age groups too.


To continue the learning of rice, show the children pictures of rice plants growing in a rice paddie and show them what rice looks like when it is harvested. 

You could also cook some rice in water for 20 minutes and let them compare it in the learning process and eat it too. 

You can also look up where rice is grown in the USA and where it is grown in the world and mark the locations on a map.

Older children can write down their observations from coloring the rice, or make a graph of the amount of drops used for colors, or mixing different color combinations and the new colors it created. 

They could also write out a recipe for making colored rice.

Make an I spy activity using the rice.

Make a letter box or spelling box using the rice to hide words or items that start with a letter.

Make crafts using rice as the medium.

Use the rice as a background for other play similar to using a sandbox.


The children will not want you to put this away.  It is way too much fun!!!

How do you use colored rice?  Leave us a comment and let us know.  Thank you.

This post will be linked up with

The Play Academy
We Play
Kids Get Crafty
ABC and 123
Tot Tuesdays
Sunday Science
No Time For Flash Cards

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