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Rainbow rice

Lots of twin mothers I know locally have been what the youth of today would refer to as “all up in my grill” about making rainbow rice for Hattie and Joe. Rainbow rice is not colourful rice to eat (although that’s a great idea too): it’s uncooked rice that is coloured, and then gives little kids lots of fun as they measure it out, pour it from one container to another, rub it through their hair, and generally have a good time.

I hadn’t got round to this before because life’s been fairly busy, but the kids played with rainbow rice for the first time at yesterday’s playgroup, and I was stuck at home this morning, waiting for an electrician to arrive (only 55 minutes late – possibly a new world record?), and it’s crappy, rainy weather, so I decided to give it a whirl.

Most rainbow rice recipes involve mixing rice, food colouring, and rubbing alcohol of some variety – the mums in my ‘hood use hand sanitiser. However, at the eleventh hour one of the mums told me that white vinegar can be used instead of alcohol, to help to ensure that the colour sets and isn’t transferable. Given that Hattie and Joe seem to want to taste EVERYTHING, this seemed like a safer option, so I googled and found this ‘recipe’. It worked really well (although I used plastic bags and spread the rice out to dry on grease proof paper, on top of baking trays:

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You can just use standard liquid food colouring that you buy from the supermarket, but I’ve got fancy gel colours from a cake shop, from when I baked and decorated the kids’ first birthday cakes, so I was able to produce an actual rainbow:

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We don’t have an activity table at the moment (although I just bought one on sale and will give it to Hattie and Joe for Christmas, so they can use it for sand and water play on the balcony this summer), but I improvised with one of those long plastic under-the-bed storage containers. The rice looked so pretty when it was first decanted:

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Of course, it didn’t look like that for long. OCD readers, look away now:

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I’m very glad that we thought to put down the drop cloth before we got started, because the favourite game of the morning seemed to involve taking the rice out of the big container:

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Hattie and Joe loved playing with their new rainbow rice, and they could have happily done so for a long time, I think, but Julie’s and my tolerance of mess reached breaking point eventually, and we put the rice away for the day. It will be good when the weather improves and they can play with this kind of thing on the balcony once again.

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I’ve suggested to Julie that she could get busy with the tweezers and sort the rice back into segregated colour bags during the children’s nap, but she’s strangely reluctant…

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