Rice is always a hit in the sensory table. Why not grab some Jell-O to make some colorful and scented rice for the kiddos! Red, green, and yellow were perfect during a preschool apple theme, but any color/scent is sure to engage the children’s senses.
use gelatin to create deliciously scented rice
Rice is definitely a staple of sensory play, and I’ve used my fair share both at home and at school. Recently, I fell in love with Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails’ “Apple Rice” and Learn Play Imagine’s “Candy Apple Rice”. Those awesome recipes inspired me to make my own version of colorful and scented rice, but with some different ingredients!
If you’re a seasoned reader of Fun-A-Day!, you know I like to use Jell-O in science and sensory play. It’s just one of those items I tend to have on-hand that adds delicious scents to a variety of materials. So it probably doesn’t surprise you that I used it to add color and scent to my sensory rice.
Since September’s preschool theme focused on apples, I knew I wanted to make red, yellow, and green rice for our Discovery Center. I also wanted the rice to smell sweet, but I wasn’t too concerned with it being apple-scented. That’s where the Jell-O/gelatin came in.
I had a box of lime Jell-O for the green, as well as a box of cherry Jell-O for the red. I dissolved the gelatin packets in a small amount of boiling water. This allowed the gelatin to dissolve completely. Then I poured the mixture over plain rice and mixed it all up. I spread the rice on cookie sheets to dry, and that was it.
I did have to go back and break up the rice, as the Jell-O had made it stick together. Engineer had fun helping me do this, as it gave him a chance to play with the rice before the preschool kids. Next time, though, I’m going to make the scented rice in plastic baggies to get around this step.
The cherry Jell-O did a great job dyeing the rice AND gave it a long-lasting sweet scent. The lime colored the rice well, but the scent was very mild. Since I didn’t have any yellow gelatin, I just dyed that batch of rice with regular food coloring. I placed the colorful and scented rice in my classroom sensory bin, along with small plastic containers, measuring spoons, and cups.
The preschool kiddos had a blast playing with the the colorful rice! Of course, they mixed all of the rice together right away. They scooped, poured, and pretended to make cakes. They even added some glass jewels to the rice play. They also LOVED the scent of the rice! All in all, I count this little experiment as a success.
Have you ever made or used colored or scented rice? If so, how did you make it?