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Witches Brew

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What I love about rainbow rice is the fact that it can be used for a whole range of activities! During the Autumnal months, you can turn it into a fun witches brew for little learners. Read on to find out how…

You will need:

  • Rainbow rice – you can find out about the traditional method here or read on below for this neon Halloween version
  • Googly eyes
  • Pom- poms
  • Halloween decorations
  • Fine motor scoop
  • Large tray (we used the tuff spot tray) or plastic tub
  • Hollowed out pumpkin – try keeping the innards for other activities!
  • Recyclables e.g. egg cartons
  • Kitchen utensils e.g spoons, cake tins and muffin pans

Rainbow Rice – the Halloween Edition

Most of the time, we make rainbow rice with food colouring and vinegar, however, unless you are willing to pay a lot of money for specialist dyes, then you will struggle to make more elaborate colours. To achieve the neon brights shown above we used non-toxic acrylic paints instead.

  1. Separate a 1kg bag of rice into sandwich bags (approx 200g in each),
  2. Add a teaspoon of non-toxic acrylics into the bag. We chose neon colours which also doubles well for ‘coral reef’ sensory play!
  3. Squish and shake the bags until the colour is well mixed, adding a little more paint if necessary
  4. Once fully covered, spread out on a baking tray lined with baking paper and leave to dry overnight.

The most important thing to note with this method is to add the paint slowly. If you have too much paint, then it dries in clumps which are hard to break apart! If you have overdone the paint, then you can always add more rice to the mix and fix it that way.

The beautiful thing rainbow rice is the fact it can last YEARS (when stored correctly in a sealed Tupperware box) so if you ever worry about food wastage, then this is a great option to try.

To note, the black rice featured here is simply black rice that I’d bought from a health food store and forgotten about! It came in handy for this Halloween activity.

Witches Brew Activity

The actual ‘witches brew’ activity really couldn’t be simpler. Place all of the materials, along with your dry Halloween rice for your little one to explore. The benefits of this activity include:

  • Fine motor skills: using kitchen utensils to work on pincer grip and hand strength
  • Hand-eye coordination: to scoop and pour the rice into different containers
  • Crossing the mid-line: using the tools to move the rice across the body
  • Early Math: estimating / counting how many scoops it will take to fill the pumpkin – basic understanding of capacity
  • Role play: pretending to be in the kitchen and make a potion.

Age Recommendations

Because of the paint used in rice and other small items, I would suggest this activity from 2.6 onward. The small parts included are considered ‘chokables’ so the activity also needs to be done under supervision.

If you want to try with younger children, I would suggest a simpler version. Try using traditionally dyed rainbow rice with a hollowed out pumpkin and spoons. My youngest child (18 months) enjoyed a simplified ‘Pumpkin Patch’ activity which you can read about here.

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Fancy trying this idea at a later date? I’ve created this handy Pinterest graphic for you. I upload and share ideas on Pinterest daily, so why not follow me too?

Sian Thomas

Sian Thomas

Sian is the founder of Teach Investigate Play. She helps parents navigate the early years by providing meaningful and simple activities. She also owns 'Get Set Social Media' - a social media consultancy for small businesses. From the UK, now living in Vienna (via Australia). About page has more!

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