I chose to try out this version here, because it did not call for rubbing alcohol, and also just recommended using a metal bowl rather than several Ziploc baggies. The less resources I have to use, the better! Basically, you mix water and gel food coloring, then let the rice soak up the color for a few minutes.
I started by initially following those directions with green, but for some reason I had to add more food coloring to the actual rice to get more color; you can see the before and after below. The colors might come out brighter with rubbing alcohol, I don't know, but for all intents and purposes, this is fine for us.
Once I mixed a color, I dumped it in a baking sheet and put it in the oven on warm for a few minutes to speed up the drying process. (I found that suggestion here.)
I started with 4 colors of food coloring that I already had, since it was a trial run after all, but I figure I can create more colors if I decide to expand our rice tray to a floor tote. When I gave it to the boys, Emory dove right in, while Elliott was a little hesitant.
Then I brought out a few plastic spoons, measuring spoons, small storage containers, and different types of medicine cups. It was definitely a hit!
About halfway through, I put the baking pan inside of a tray to contain some of the spillage, but I still felt like I cleaned up half of the rice off my floor. In reality, it was maybe only 1/2 a cup, but preschoolers don't just spill, they spill and spread. It was everywhere. I'm thinking next time it is going on a blanket directly on the floor to minimize the cleanup process. The boys had fun, though, and I think Emory in particular will appreciate adding vehicles to it next time, as he was going "vroom vroom" with my measuring spoons!