Crafts for Toddlers: Rice & Noodles

By the end of last week, Bug was bored.  I was bored, too.  See, he was sick for a couple of days, so we couldn’t really do a whole lot.  Not exactly wise to take a sick baby out in 90 degree weather, right?  And then, it rained for a couple of days.  Ugh.  After a few days of being stuck inside the house, I decided I needed to get creative.  We headed to Walmart to get supplies to make some crafty stuff for Buggy.  I got stuff to make edible play dough & colored rice & pasta.  I also got a big pad of paper, finger paints, triangle crayons (the round ones are frustrating for a little guy when they keep rolling off the table!) and some glue.  Bug is getting to the age where he actually enjoys sitting down and focusing on an activity.  Free play is still super fun, but it just doesn’t cut it like it used to!

I thought I would start a category called Crafts for Toddlers and share some of the activities Bug & I are up to.  First off, rice & noodles… sounds like SO MUCH FUN, right?  What?  You aren’t sure what the heck I’m talking about?  Well, read on, folks.

Here’s what you need:

  • Uncooked white rice
  • Uncooked elbow noodles
  • Food coloring – I used McCormick Neons to get really bright colors.
  • Rubbing Alcohol

First, put a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol and several drops of food coloring into a bowl.

Add a cup of rice and mix it around.  Be prepared to get food coloring on you… don’t be me and put on an apron two minutes too late.

Spread colored rice out on waxed paper and let dry for several hours.  I used a 5 pound bag of rice, which comes out to just about 12 cups.  If you’re good at math, you have figured out that I used 2 cups per color.  Good for you.

Follow the same directions for the noodles.  Put the dried, colorful rice & noodles into airtight containers.  I’m pretty sure they’ll save forever.  This stuff is great for a few things:

  • Tactile/sensory play.  Let your little one pour in and out of containers & cups and scoop with spoons.
  • Arts & crafts.  Let your little one glue noodles to paper.
  • Counting & learning colors!

We haven’t played with the rice yet, but we have played with the noodles several times.  It’s good for like 20 minutes.  TWENTY minutes, people.  That’s what I call a hit of an activity!

Soon, I’ll share how to make your own play dough!

What fun homemade activities do you do with your kids?

Update: This post was recently featured on The Daily Buzz!  Woohoo!

34 thoughts on “Crafts for Toddlers: Rice & Noodles

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  2. I found your post on a blog linked through pinterest and have to say you did a fantastic job with the colors. They are beautiful and you’ve inspired me to get creative next time we dye rice! You have a great blog as well! 🙂 Paris

    • Rubbing alcohol is a disinfectant… used mostly for cleaning minor wounds like scrapes and cuts and for disinfecting medical instruments and the like. I use it to clean my tweezers & nail clippers at home. It is not consumable. You can find it with the first aid supplies at your grocery store or pharmacy.

      • I know this is a late response, but… we have a chain of dollar stores (everything costs $1) here called Dollar Tree. I found bottles of rubbing alcohol there when we dyed pasta. (In the pharmacy/soap aisle, on the very bottom, since hardly anyone ever buys it!)

        Also, the last time we dyed pasta, a friend pointed out that instead of rubbing alcohol to help the dye set, you can use white vinegar! That’s what goes into Easter egg dyes, after all. I think that would make your house smell much better–or at least cleaner!–than the rubbing alcohol did in my house! FYI…

    • Not anymore 🙂 We started playing with the pasta first, and I am sure he tried to put it in his mouth. I probably just kept distracting him. I think that I said “not in your mouth, Eli” 17 million times a day from months 5-17.

      • We put the rice in yogurt containers then drop in just the food colour, put the lid on tightly, then the children shake, shake, shake, then we bake in the oven on cookie sheets…10-15 min at 300F……no need for the alcohol….a little safer and the children LOVE to play with the warm rice when it first comes out! Pat

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  5. we use the rice and make “sand art” bottles. we also dye salt and use for the same thing. looks great and alot cheaper than colored sand

  6. I love the colors! I thank you for posting. My son is 4 now, and has been doing ‘rice play’ since he was about 18 months old.. I know!! Exciting, right? 🙂 He has struggled with speech and sensory delay and has been placed in the early on program in or county followed by a special preschool focusing on development delays. His teachers taught me to fill a small tote (if you are like me, you have a zillion of these in all sizes for craft supply storage on up to keeping the Christmas decorations the other 11 months of the year) up with rice and hide items inside. We like to hide pictures of animals or any other people, places, or things or actual small objects like a toy car, plastic frog, any small plastic animal in the rice. Then Jonas (my son) has to search for the item with his hands. The resistance of the rice and the way it feels to his senses makes this an awesome activity for the sensory issues! I know that this is good for all children as they grow and develop through the sensory development stage. After he started trying to talk they used the pictures and objects he would find on his rice treasure hunt for speech development. Jonas was asked to repeat the word related to the item, or at least give his best attempt before searching for the next one. I can’t wait to share your post with his amazing teachers!! I know that this will add even greater learning experiences for the children in Jonas’s class. Thanks for sharing and God bless.

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  10. I just wanted to thank you for posting this idea. I used the rice along with printed out coloring pages and the boys scouts loved gluing the rice and making their personal mosaics!

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  12. Pingback: Homemade essentials - DIY crayons, play doh, baby wipes & more | Mum's Grapevine

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