How to Make Colored Rice – Alcohol or Vinegar

We’ve had a long long winter this year so what can you do with your children indoors? We made colored rice for sensory play for my toddler. My older two boys saw how much fun baby was having so they joined in as well, so it’s been a popular activity.

I saw some other posts on Pinterest that use either rubbing alcohol or vinegar so I figured I would give it a try.

I like the idea of using alcohol so it sanitize the rice and hopefully makes it last longer. I also like the idea of using vinegar but it’s something I always have on hand and it’s super cheap. I also like that it’s not a chemical. I was also worried about the smell that either of them would leave with the rice so I decided to use both.

colored rice

Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup of rice
  • food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon of either vinegar or rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer
  • ziploc bags
  • tray for drying

I added one tablespoon of either vinegar, alcohol and I also tried hand sanitizer since it contains alcohol as well to the ziploc bag and several drops of my food coloring and mixed it up.

Add one cup of rice to each bag, I made 4 different colors and used 4 bags. Once you add the rice, close up the bag and mix it all up, moving and squeezing the rice. Once the color was mixed in thoroughly, I lined my baking sheet with aluminum foil and set it out on the counter to dry. It took over an hour to dry.

The vinegar and rubbing alcohol dried the quickest while the hand sanitizer rice took the longest to dry. After the rice dried, the alcohol smell was still strong and more prevalent than the vinegar. 


How to Make Colored Rice – Alcohol or VinegarIf I want to make more, I’d prefer to use the vinegar, it’s cheap and I always have it on hand. My rice doesn’t smell like alcohol nor does it smell like vinegar. I love how easy it was to make and my little one is having so much fun with it.

You can also check out what other things we do for toddler activities and straws.


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