I was looking through the pictures on our Facebook page (link( and found photos of our very first ‘invitation to play’.
When we did this activity back in January there was absolutely no planning involved. I just remember there being thick snow outside, Gray was working 12 hour shifts, I had a 9 week old baby and 19 month old toddler to amuse! This was a spur of the moment activity before I’d ever heard of Pintrest or anything like that, and it kept Harrison amused for ages!
The set up was really easy and quick. On his little table I gave him a pot of play dough, and a tub with dried pasta tubes and dried spaghetti and left him to it. Within minutes he was making balls of dough and sticking the spaghetti strands in, and then threading the dried pasta onto the stands. It was a perfect activity for developing fine motor skills!
Now he’s a year older I’m going to do this again,and let Alex have a go. I will challenge him more this time by asking him to count the pasta tubes. I’m going to provide a bowl of cheerio-type cereal for threading as well, and see if we can thread x amount of cereal on the strands of spaghetti.
A brilliantly simple and quick activity that kids will love!
After the success of our lentil sensory box last week I was looking for a new material to try. Rice popped into my head. How could I make this more interesting? White rice is a great material for exploring texture but a bit boring visually. After doing a bit of thinking I decided I would have a go at colouring it & making ‘rainbow rice’.
Google threw up a few suggestions on how to make it but most used rubbing alcohol, which I wasn’t keen on using. Alex still tends to try eating everything and I didn’t really want him putting chemicals in his mouth. I finally came across a recipe from Learn to play at home which I had a go at.
You will need: rice (quite a bit, I used 2kg), white vinegar and food colouring.
I’ve struggled to find food colouring. Our local Tesco – which is one of the big superstores – doesn’t stock it which I found strange as they have just about everything else! Apparently there’s not much demand for it anymore as people tend to use ready made icing. I had a strange look off the woman when I said I wanted to dye rice with it! Anyway, my mum managed to get me some from Sainsburys who only had limited colours, so for now I’m limited to pink, red, yellow and any colour I can make mixing them!
Back to the rice…in two cups of rice I used a couple of capfuls of vinegar. Too much and it will stink & go a bit soggy. Mix it in and them add a few drops of colouring. How little or how much you use depends on the depth of colour you want. I wanted it quite vibrant so added quite a few drops!! Give it a good mix – you might want to do this in an old bowl or tub and don’t use a wooden spoon like I did (although I do quite like my pretty pink wooden spoon how!) as it stains!!
Then you need to leave it to dry. Spread it out in on a tray. Try and spread it out thinly as it won’t clump up and is quicker to dry. I left it a couple of days to make sure it was 100% dry. I was worried it would run off on hands and material and stain but it doesn’t – I think as well as preserving it the vinegar helps the rice to absorb the colour really well.
I put the rice in lines of pretty colours (pink, yellow, orange & red) to encourage discussion about colours in our clear box. Didn’t get time to look at the colours as they were so excited they dug straight in! I’d put in some scoops, spoons, tubs, bottle lids & ice cube trays. They scooped, shovelled, poured, mixed, stirred and ran their hands through the rice (try it – amazingly therapeutic!). It did spill out onto the mat as they were so excited but they had plenty of fun using their dustpan set to clear it up at the end.
The rice should last for quite a while if kept in a sealed container. We’re going to have a go at using it to make some lovely pictures this week!
Have a go!!