Rice, Food Coloring and a Plastic Bottle = Instant Kid Craft for under $5

If you are anything like me, you're always looking for easy ways to entertain the kids without spending much money.  This easy activity completely fits the bill.  You can easily turn rice, food coloring, and an empty plastic bottle into a colorful, hands-on, kids' craft.  When it's warm outside, this is something that bigger kids could do almost entire by themselves if you set everything up outside.  But, since we did it inside, you just need to carefully supervise to make sure that you keep the rice all in one place.

You only need 3 things:

White rice, Food coloring and Empty water bottles (that have been rinsed and dryed)

First, put a couple cups of rice into a gallon size Ziploc Bag.  Then, add about 5 drops of food coloring Seal the bag well (and double-check, unless you want rice all over your floor like I did), and let your kids shake the bags until all of the rice changes color.  We used a different Ziploc bag for each color which helped keep them separate and clean.   If the color isn't bright enough, just keep adding more food coloring, until you have your desired color.  The kids loved helping me add the color and shake up the bags.  My 5 year old thought it was so magical watching the rice turn different colors.

If you have a real plastic funnel, that would be ideal.  But, if you don't you can either make a paper funnel or cut off the end of a small Ziploc bag to help funnel your colored rice into the empty plastic bottles.  Let the kids pick the colors they want to use and determine how much of each color they want.  If you have a real plastic funnel, they can probably be pretty independent with this.  But, if you're using an improvised funnel, like we did, you will need to help the kids in order to prevent spills.

 Make sure you pack down the rice so that your rice design doesn't get messed up.  Tightly close the lid on your bottle, and pound the bottle on a hard surface.  Then, keep filling up the bottle with more rice until it's filled completely to the top.

These were so fun and easy to make.  You could get fancy and do color themes or add glitter. We kept ours simple, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.  For less than $5, we experimented with colors, felt the grains of rice run through our fingers, and watched the rice magically change into a colorful craft.