I've had a recipe for making coloured play rice pinned on my activities board on Pinterest (did you know I heart Pinterest?!) for quite a while but when I finally came round to using it I discovered that it used surgical spirit and I was not keen on using it for something I was giving to the children if it wasn't necessary. I was also wanting to make it as cheaply as possible.
So I hunted around a bit longer and found a recipe here which uses vinegar. I used clear vinegar but I am not sure it would make an different if you used malt vinegar. I used two 1kg bags of Tesco Value rice at 40p each. For 500g of rice I mixed about 2/3 tbsp vinegar with the food colouring (as much as you like depending on the colour you would like) and then poured it into the rice, in a plastic food bag. I tied a knot in the top and shook it around a bit until the rice was uniformly coloured. I poured it into trays and allowed it to dry, I left it overnight but I think it was dry within an hour.
I gave it to the girls to play with in small baking trays. I gave them toy cups and saucers, plastic cups, bowls and measuring or formula scoops. They had a whale of a time filling their pots and them emptying them again. You could play with cars in it or small model animals, whatever you like! This was another attention span winner, 45 minutes before Miss A, who usually has the shortest attention span, wanted to do something else.
I always clean the kitchen and dinning room floor on Friday lunchtime so Thursday afternoon was the perfect time for this activity although it wasn't really that messy. I swept up what they'd dropped and threw it away, since the floor, and the broom, weren't that clean. I still had a big Quality Street tin full of rice to keep for next time. I wish I had tried it sooner!