Monday, January 30, 2012

Relaxing Rice

This past weekend I was inspired to dye rice using Kool-aid.  My intentions were to make a rice tray; a colorful alternative to a sand tray.  I also thought... maybe students could make feelings jars.  Let each color represent a feeling and have students make a visual of how much of each feeling they have in a sealed jar.  It would make a beautiful piece of art out of an issue that is on the mind of the students.

The process was so simple!  Put about 1 cup of rice in a ziplock bag.  Use 2 tablespoons of hot water to liquify the Kool-aid powder.  Pour into the ziplock bag of rice.  Squish, squash, mash and the rice is covered in color.  Pour the rice out on wax paper and spread out to dry.  It only took about 15 minutes to dry, but I left it out for longer just to make sure.  I  made bags of different colors of rice - cherry red, grape purple, watermelon pink, orangy orange.  Plus I used food coloring to make some yellow, green, and blue. 

 I couldn't wait to take it to school and find a use for my dyed rice.  The first opportunity presented itself very quickly.  As I was working with a student on how to relax and manage her anger in a better way, we were trying to come up with alternatives to destroying  classroom property.  The student spotted my dyed rice that I had sitting on my counter and wanted to  know how I had made the colored rice.  As we were talking and still discussing ways to cool down, it occurred to me that instead of counting to 10, I can give her something to get her mind off of the situation long enough to calm down.  We then made a Relax Jar.  Using beads with the letters R-E-L-A-X and other small beads and sequins, we filled a baby jar with blue rice. We left a little air at the top so she can rotate the jar and the rice will slide around inside revealing the letter beads and sequins.  Now when she gets angry, she can turn the jar until she finds all the letters that spell relax.  Hopefully she will have had enough time to calm down!
I am sure I will be coming up with more ways to use my rainbow rice while counseling students.  Any thoughts?

UPDATE JULY 2014:
I still love this rice. I have been using it with students for a year and a half now. If you keep the rice in an air tight container, it lasts forever! I love to reuse my liquid coffee-mate containers.  Just peel off the wrapper and you have a clear container filled with colored rice and a convenient pouring spout!
I just made another 14 pounds for the next school year. Some things I have discovered:

  • Use 1 pack of Kool Aid per pound of rice
  • The flavors I used are mixed berry (blue), strawberry kiwi (pink), green apple (green), lemonade  with a few drops of yellow food coloring (yellow),  grape (purple), orange (orange, obviously), black cherry (red).
  • Only add a few spoonfuls of water to mix the powder
  • Put rice and Kool Aid dye in a quart size ziplock and Shake, Shake, Shake.  It only takes about 30 seconds.








14 comments:

  1. I used your idea about the letters in the jar with a small group. The only thing I changed was using those tiny water bottles (6 or 8 oz) instead of a jar, so if they drop them they're less apt to break. Great idea, and the kids really got a kick out of them!

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  2. I am a new Marriage and Family Therapist and am working with a lot of kids right now. I'm going to give this a try. Very good idea! Keep 'em coming!! Thanks!

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  3. This sounds really cool and I can't wait to try with my RTC/PHP kids!

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  4. I will be using this with my groups! So many of the kids have anger issues and low frustration tolerance. I LOVE mindfulness and relaxation! I've all but put up a sign at work asking for used bottles :)

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    1. Thank you for your comments! I thought I would also share I save my dyed rice in repurposed creamer bottles. (We drink a lot of coffee around my house) The tall coffeemate liquid creamer bottles are perfect for a small bag of rice. The pop tops with pouring spouts are the perfect size for kids to handle. Just take the plastic wrapper off the bottle, wash and dry it out, and the clear bottle looks beautiful with the colored rice in it.

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  5. Kelly
    I love this idea and am going to now try it with my anger group.

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  6. Does this work with older teens (16-17 year olds)? I'm looking for cool anger games/activities for that age range...

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    1. For teens, maybe use letters that make 3 words or more, like "calm, breathe and relax". Let them find one word, two, then three. If they need more time they could try to make other words from the letters.

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  7. Yes, I can see this working with older students as long as they are willing to try it as a strategy. The students I make these with are wanting help, so they are willing to use them.

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  8. I run social skills groups with autistic children, I CANNOT WAIT TO TRY THIS (and yes, I think I will use the plastic too).

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  9. I love this idea - however, I'm wondering how it works "in the moment" to cool down a child in a fit of anger. For children who go from 0-60 in 3 minutes or less, how can this tool be implemented to help calm?

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  10. LOVE your ideas and creativity! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  11. Thanks Kelly, it's a great activity for channelizing the aggression and buying time. Also this activity can be recreated to address many issues. Really Nice

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  12. Thanks Kelly, it's a great activity for channelizing the aggression and buying time. Also this activity can be recreated to address many issues. Really Nice

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