Parenting

Easy-to-make hot packs for winter

Two days of headaches and stormy weather have reminded me why I like having hot packs lying around the house, ready for cold winter feet and sinus infections. Rice packs are especially great — you can warm them quickly in the microwave, they’re not as fussy or potentially messy as hot water bottles, and they don’t have weird ingredients the way gel packs do, so they’re perfect for everyone in the family.

Plus, they’re really easy to make.

No-sew Rice Pack

Materials:

  • a new athletic tube sock
  • uncooked rice (white, long-grained rice is best. Don’t use instant or quick-cooking rice, because then there’s the possibility of a microwave fire)
  1. Simply fill the sock about 3/4 of the way to the top with rice and then tie a knot at the top. Done!

 

If you want to go a fancier route, you can also make a Sewn Rice Pack

Materials:

  • a 12-inch square or a long rectangle of cotton or flannel fabric
  • uncooked rice (white, long-grained rice is best. Don’t use instant or quick-cooking rice, because then there’s the possibility of a microwave fire)
  • dried herbs for scenting (optional)
  • thread
  • sewing machine
  1. Fold the fabric in half, with the right sides facing together, and sew along one long and one short side, to make a bag.
  2. Turn this bag right side out and fill — but don’t overstuff! — with rice. If you’re using dried herbs, add a bit of those, too.
  3. Fold down the open edge of the rice pack twice, like you would with a paper bag.
  4. Hold this folded edge down and sew along it to close the bag. Done!

 

To Use

Put the rice pack, along with a glass of water, in the microwave for about a minute. Take the pack out carefully — it’ll be hot! — and shake it slightly to distribute the heat. Then wrap it in a towel or flannel and apply it where needed.

Rice pack SAFETY tips:

  • Heat a glass of water with the rice pack to prevent fires.
  • Don’t use anything metal in the pack to prevent fire or sparks.
  • “Avoid injury or burns by carefully heating the stuffed sock to a safe temperature. Shake the sock after heating it to evenly distribute the heat and wrap it in a towel before use if it is too hot.” (safety tips are from here)
  • Double check younger children’s skin after about five minutes to make sure the pack wasn’t too hot
For more winter tips and activities, check out our Cold Weather Crafts series and orange pancakes recipe. Happy holidays!