Have you ever seen those Find-It tube games? They're cylinders filled with multi-colored pellets and tiny things. You need to shake it around to find the objects (there's a list of hidden things, I think, on one of the ends of the cylinder). They're pretty cool. And would be great, I thought, to toss in the diaper bag for waiting rooms, restaurants, car trips, etc. They're also $20. And if I'm going to spend $20 on a waiting room toy that the kids may or may not get bored with in five minutes, it's going to need to be awesome. And something I couldn't in a million nap times make myself.
This? Oh, yes I can. And I did! And you can, too:
Make Rainbow Rice. I bought a HUGE bag, divided it evenly among six Ziploc bags and dyed big batches of each color. I only used a small amount of each (3/4 cup each color?) so I have plenty left over for a rainbow rice table, or I was even thinking of making Rice Art in a clear vase (you know, like Sand Art that you made when you were a kid? But with rice.)
There are many methods to dye rice/pasta, but the easiest, in my opinion, is to add a small amount (a squirt) of rubbing alcohol to each bag, followed by a few drops of your desired color (or colors for orange and purple), then squish and squeeze the bag around until the rice is evenly colored. Leave bags open over night to dry (I needed to toss mine around a few times to get them to dry thoroughly).
Assemble your Tiny Things. You have everything you need in your house. Find maybe 20-25 things.
Lay out your Tiny Things against a white background and take a photo.
Print the photo....large enough to easily see each object, small enough that when you attach it to the container it won't block too much.
Put it all together! I used a tennis ball container (thanks for the idea, Uncle Mikey!). Put your tiny things in, followed by roughly equal amounts of each color of the rice. Using Contact Paper, attach the photo of the objects (or, for older kids who are reading, a printed list of objects). I sealed the lid shut with a hot glue gun. I put glue on the rim of the canister before putting the lid on and then hot glued around the seal once the lid was on. It feels like a pretty good seal, but I did tell the boys how boring it would be to have to clean up all that rice if the lid "accidentally" came off.
Find-It! Oops. Trademark violation. I mean: Find the Things!
Because you so cleverly attached the photo/list of objects with Contact Paper, you can have your Finder cross of what they've found with a Dry-Erase marker. It wipes right off for the next game (actually, it wipes right off DURING the game, so if your kids are real handsy with it, maybe use a regular marker and then wipe it off with Windex).
Send $20 on a Find-It Game? No thank you. Spend $4 to make it yourself, AND you get the tennis balls to throw around, too.