I was thrilled when I found something called "Rainbow Rice" which is supposed to encourage imaginative play without the HUGE mess that sand can create.
This was a fun project to make and I was able to get Molly involved in the process. She thought it was a hoot! First I gathered my supplies which were few and cheap! You will need rubbing alcohol, rice, food coloring and gallon sized Ziplock bags.
For each color (I made 5 different colors), I mixed 2 cups of rice in a gallon sized Ziploc bag with 2 Tablespoons of food coloring and 3 Tablespoons of rubbing alcohol.
I showed Molly how to mix up the rice with the food coloring and let her smoosh the bag around. I gave the bags a final smoosh to make sure all the rice and coloring were thoroughly mixed.
Then I smoothed the colored rice onto baking sheets. You have to be careful with this step as the food coloring can color everything! I used an old wooden spoon and wore gloves while shooing Molly away.
I baked the rice in the oven at 200F for about 20 minutes. The smell of rubbing alcohol was quite pungent at this point in the process.
Once the rice was dry, I let it cool on the baking sheets for about an hour before moving it into an old plastic bin I had in the basement.
Once everything was cool and dry, I set Molly up with the rice bin on our front steps and gave her a cup, spoon and some other fun utensils.