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DIY hand warmers

Make your own toasty hand warmers for those cold winter walks.

You will need

  • Clean socks
  • Rice
  • Tablespoons
  • Coloured fabric pens or permanent markers

Heating up

  1. Each person needs to take one sock and decorate it with coloured fabric pens or permanent markers. You could write your name, or you could choose to draw some pictures.
  1. Add 3 large tablespoons of uncooked rice into your decorated sock, and make sure it goes all the way to the bottom.
  2. Tie a knot in the sock, making the knot as close to the top of the rice as you can. You want to have a ball of rice in the toe end of the sock, with the knot ensuring that the rice can’t fall out.
  3. Pop the sock into the microwave for 30 seconds, and then carefully take it out as it will be hot. You will need an adult to supervise this part of the activity, and you might want to use a tea towel or oven gloves to help get the socks out of the microwave.
  4. Your hand warmer is finished! Pop it in your coat pocket to help keep your hands nice and warm.

Rice or wrong?

  1. You’ve made your hand warmers and understand the science behind them, now it’s time to do some tests.
  2. Check out Experiment development to design your own science experiments to test out your new hand warmers.
  3. You could try heating the hand warmers up for longer and see how long they stay warm for, you could try making the hand warmers bigger or smaller, or you could try out different materials, such as dried beans or lentils.
  4. Once you have finished your experiments, look at Share the science to find out about sharing what you’ve learnt.


How can rice keep your hands warm?  Theres lots of cool things we can do with science, and not just with socks. What other amazing science experiments have you seen before?


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Hot items and water

Kettles, cookers and microwave ovens produce a lot of heat by the very nature of them. Caution is needed when in contact with items that have been heated and young people should use them under adult supervision. Use on a suitable surface, protecting it if necessary.

Don’t leave hot items unattended and make sure there’s a first aid kit (with items to treat burns/scalds) nearby.