How to Color Rice for Learning and Crafts

Colored rice is a staple in this homeschooling Mama’s manipulative arsenal.

Montessori transferring activities, craft projects, lessons on color, weight and volume are just a few ideas colored rice can be used in.

I spent an hour last week whipping up new batches to use in our homeschooling this month.


The whole process is cheap and easy. My kinda fun.

I used regular rubbing alcohol. There are other ways using just plain water and even vinegar.

I chose alcohol because the rice dries quicker using this technique.


In a quart sized mason jar (you could also use a baggie) I added 2 teaspoons of the rubbing alcohol and some food coloring. You can use gel coloring or the usual liquid coloring.


You could even go with a more natural approach and use beet puree to produce a nice pink for your rice.


Into that 2 teaspoons of alcohol and coloring, add about 1 cup of rice. Close off your container and shake. Continue shaking until all of your rice is the color you have chosen.

I lined my jelly roll pans with paper towels, and then spread out my colored rice. I left it there until it was dry enough to put into jars.


You can stick with single colors, or mix your food colorings to create specialty colors.


Wonder how I get stuff like this done with a certain Brave Hero on the loose? I bribe one of my older kids to engage Parker in various learning activities.

Or wrassle our Hero to the floor and put a newly learned wrestling move on him.

Whatever works best.


Our colored rice rainbow. Kinda pretty don’t ya think?

What kind of homemade manipulatives do YOU create?

PS:  If you are interested, I’ll share the activities we do with our colored rice!

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About Tammy and Parker

Special Needs Blogger, and homeschooling Mom, heavily involved in advocacy for all kids with special needs in Utah.


  1. Ooo.. they sure do look pretty! – and yes, please do share your projects with these colored rice; would love to check out your ideas. :)
    Ann Thomas recently posted..Shop Crush – Bikbik &amp RoroMy Profile

  2. Love the rainbow, please share the activities too!!!
    Sue Mayer recently posted..Feeling Out of Sorts or Sorta FeelingMy Profile

  3. Love this, please share your activities
    Heidi recently posted..Time For a New Theme – HelpMy Profile

  4. We would love to see what activites you do as well. We haven’t attempted rice yet, as we are still in the “fliging everything I touch” phase. :( This is on our to do list though. :)

    Steph and Christopher
    Stephanie Wyatt recently posted..December Review Long – sorryMy Profile

    • Stephanie,

      I ‘ll have to show you how I hold Parker’s left arm still while shadowing his right hand. :) Parker is a flinger too……the fastest in the West!

  5. I love this project! Claire is too young to do much with rice except eat it, but I have this bookmarked for later!
    Melissa recently posted..I felt badMy Profile

  6. You totally inspired me – I made 6 different colors of rice this evening. I will save it for something really fun later on! Thanks for the great instructions!!

  7. I have a snow day today and plan to make rice using your recipe. Thanks so much!

  8. Thanks for sharing this. I love the rainbow rice. I’ve included your post on my weekly favorites here:
    Darcey recently posted..Weekly Favorites for January 16- 2011My Profile

  9. What a great idea. I wonder if that is how they color sand for those sand sculptures. You could easily use rice too, easier to clean up.

  10. Debra says:

    Would love you hear your crafts ideas I have 4 kids thanks for your time

  11. This was so easy, I just had to share it on my site and added your link! Thanks.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  12. This was super easy! I just tried it today. Thank you sharing this easy tutorial!

  13. lindsay says:

    I stumbled across your blog when searching for ways to color rice for my classroom and dug a little deeper into about Parker. If you don’t mind me asking why did Parker need an ostomy and what kind of ostomy? My son may face a urostomy b/c of a urinary tract defect. I will put Parker on my prayer list.

    • Hi Lindsey!

      First of all, THANK YOU for putting Parker on your prayer list. I strongly believe in the power of prayer. Parker was born with an imperforate anus, which means that his lower intestine didn’t reach all the way down to his anus to allow him to have a bowel movement. He had an an osotmy that allowed him to have a bowel movement. He later had a PSARP which pulled that bowel down to his anus and allows him to have normal bowel movements. Good luck! And if you ever need to talk, you know where to find us!

  14. Brittney Kearns says:

    Thank you for the easy fun recipe!!! We are on our second snow day and colored rice it is!!! I am also going to use it to make rain shakers for the kids and letting them decorate the outside however they want!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tammy Hodson, Little Red Bus. Little Red Bus said: How to Color Rice for Learning and Crafts by @parkermama simple & pretty DIY! […]

  2. […] started off making the rice using this recipe from Praying for Parker. I added about a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and about about 30 drops of food color to a quart […]

  3. […] recipe for coloured rice is from the Praying for Parker blog, written by an awe-inspiring mom who is homeschooling her special needs […]

  4. […] when people think of sensory boxes they think of colored rice.  Colored rice, lentils, birdseed are all items that work great in sensory boxes.  Today […]

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