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How to colour riceWe use cheap alcohol-based hand sanitiser and food colour pastes(affiliate link) for more vibrant colours (and we use less than liquid food colour). I've found with some experimentation that it's better to mix your colour with a small amount of hand sanitiser before adding the rice as it then gives you a more even colour and it coats the rice quickly. The kids can help - mine love watching the rice change colour then it lay flat on a large baking tray to dry for a while. Repeat with all the other colours you want.
Letter recognitionWe first started using our rainbow I-Spy games at home to help develop name recognition. I laminated the kids first name and then invited them to find the letters in their name and cross them off the card as they found them. Once they could do that, I made another card with both their first and last names. You notice that all the letters in the bottle are capitals meaning the child has to have a reasonable awareness of the difference in upper and lower case letter formation to play this game. I also made a whole alphabet card for them to find all the letters. This game was perfect for in the car pre-iPods!
Around the same time I made this flip book for making simple words. We've also used it with our rainbow I-Spy bottles to make new words. Once we'd flipped over each section of the page to the found letter we had to decide if the word was real...
Or not-a-word at all! It's a silly word game and kids love it!
More recently with my youngest starting school, we've been using our I-Spy bottles to practice sight words. Here she was using some of our mini magnetic blocks to mark off the letters as she found them.