I Spy… Colored Rice!

I am absolutely loving library centers in kindergarten and first grade, the kids are so engaged! I have been scouring Pinterest for new center ideas and I recently came across MaryLea’s Rainbow Rice Eye Spy Bottles on Pink and Green Mama. Not only are they so much fun, they’re also crazy easy to make. I’ve been meaning to make colored rice for a long time, but I have always put it off because I thought it was super labor-intensive… Not with MaryLea’s recipe! It was so easy that I almost couldn’t believe it!

I started with cheap white rice, a bottle of clear hand sanitizer with a pump, basic food coloring and plastic Ziploc bags.
I made the six colors of the rainbow, but you could make any color that is possible to create using food coloring. I poured one cup of rice into each bag.
I added four pumps of hand sanitizer to each bag of rice.
I then added four drops of color to each bag. For combination colors like orange and purple, I used two drops of each necessary color. You can adjust this to your liking.
Time to seal the bags and mix. It didn’t take much, I just gave them a gentle massage and the color was nicely dispersed.
I opened all the bags and let them air dry overnight. It worked great. The alcohol in the hand sanitizer makes it so the rice dries very quickly.
Now, let your imagination run wild! I made I Spy bottles using beads, sequins, stickers, pom-poms and other trinkets from around the school.
The sky is truly the limit for this stuff! As soon as Art Teacher Extraordinaire saw the rice, she immediately decided to make some and incorporate it into a Navajo sand painting lesson. We also thought it would be great to do a collaborative project using the rice to create Starry Night-like pieces of art. Just imagine the possibilities!
Rainbow Rice Recipe
1 cup of white rice
4 pumps of clear hand sanitizer
4 drops of food coloring
Mix in a closed plastic baggie until all color is evenly incorporated. Open bag until rice is thoroughly dried.

The Semi-Centered School Library

I was so inspired by the rockstars of The Centered School Library (Cari at Library Learners, Caroline at Risking Failure and Jessica at Mrs. Lodge’s Library) that I have been working hard to put a library center program into place with my first graders. My hope is to expand the program to multiple grades, but for now, this is a good starting point.

Tonight I used my new laminating machine (which I’m in love with!!) to make rotation charts. I am obsessed with Velcro and this was just another excuse to pull out my endless roll (if you’re like me, check out iTapeStore for your Velcro needs. They sell it for a reasonable price and you can buy the hook and loop sides separately, good for all those felt board projects).

I’m thinking the actual centers are a little too specific for the charts to work permanently, but for the time-being, I think this will work well. The acting center and word center are both driven by what is happening in the classroom (this week the kiddos will be acting out nouns and verbs and doing solid, liquid and gas crossword puzzles).