I purchased a plastic bin that fit under my bed and filled it with a 10 pound bag of rice. Bug has loved playing in it, and unlike a sandbox, he can use it year round. However, we needed to spice things up. The rice was white, the bin was sort of white and the measuring cups he uses in there are white. The solution? color the rice!
Supplies needed: rice, food coloring, rubbing alcohol, plastic bags, and either wax paper or cookie sheets to dry the rice on.
Pour rice into bags. Add a few drops of color to each and about a tablespoon of alcohol. I just eyeballed it, so you might want a little or more or a little less. The alcohol helps set the color. The next part your kids can help with, just make sure the bag is sealed tight. Shake the bag, squish it, etc. to mix the colors all over the rice.
Next you will spread each bag full of rice out to dry. I just put down wax paper on the counter top. It will take a couple of hours to dry all the way.
Pour it in a container.
Then let you child play and mix the colors. No more boring rice!
This idea came from the Mailbox magazine series. There is a similar idea with noodles and a slightly different technique used here.