Lara and Williams favourite activity at the moment is playing with rice.
There are sooooo many possibilities when playing with rice especially when you have the imagination of a 3 year old!
A cheap bag of rice is about 40p for 1kg…
We play in our living room on carpet… I always vacuum first so the floor is clean. It makes clearing it up much quicker.
There are loads of ways to play with rice… I try to vary what we do each time as it comes out nearly every day at the moment coz they love it so much!
Today we have been using whatever tubs or boxes we have laying around and cups and saucers from their play kitchen… Lara will sit there for ages just pouring rice from one cup into another… she has got so good at it and her coordination always surprises me as she hardly spills a grain! She fills a cup and then pours it into a bigger pot and when thats full she tips it out and starts again.
William is a bit more of a bull in a china shop… he gets in there with his hands and throws it everywhere. He loves the feeling of it and gets his socks off and stands in it and then spends ages getting the rice out from his toes haha. He loves it when I get a hand full and drop it like raindrops over his hands.
Last time we played with rice Lara wanted to draw pictures with it… so she spread it out over the carpet and I drew her a big sun and she drew the sun a face… then I got out a load of cookie cutters – with a little wiggle of a star shaped cutter she managed to make lots of stars around the sun… looked brilliant. Without the addition of the cookie cutters she would have been bored of drawing within minutes as she only wants me to draw and doesn’t actually do it herself yet. An older child would love drawing their own pictures in the rice. Once she was bored with that we changed to making hand prints in it, and she was doing that on her own for over 10 minutes!!!
William was copying too but much preferred laying in it and doing rice angels haha… my kids really don’t have very long attention spans – about as long as a fish normally… so when they do something for any length of time its amazing!!!
Another activity they absolutely love (especially Lara) is putting some little toys (we have little coloured plastic dinosaurs and unicorns) in a box and covering them with rice and she has to dig around to find the toys and she tells me the colour when she find one (she gets it right sometimes)…
Altogether today I sat and played on the floor with them for about 20 minutes.. then I left them to it and they carried on playing for ages… we ended up with rice EVERYWHERE… but rice is so easy to clean up that even for someone like me who cant stand mess, i can cope with it with the swift run around of the Dyson… I scrape up as much as I can save then vacuum up the rest… it’s so cheap that I really don’t mind that I don’t save it all for next time, we just keep using the same batch until there isn’t much left then open another bag.
They quite enjoy helping to clear up too especially when its time to vacuum… Lara collects as many grains as her little hands will hold and puts them straight in the hose and thinks its the funniest thing ever as her hands get sucked up haha… William was actually quite scared of the vacuum until we started doing this and now its a fun game whenever it comes out…
Rice can also be coloured for an even more sensory experience (although I really don’t have time to faff about doing that) but maybe i’ll give that a go when they are bigger and I have a bit more time on my hands. And you could also add scent to it maybe using aromatherapy oils.
On days when I really don’t want to deal with all the mess and i’m having a really stressy day i’ve found that this is actually a really good activity for us even though it’s effectively a messy play activity, its a clean, messy play activity. I get out their little pop up tent or a massive cardboard box and I put the rice in that… it doesn’t all stay inside obviously but it is a little tidier and keeps them entertained on their own so I can get on with something else or simply sit and have 10 minutes to myself to calm down a bit.
The best thing about rice is its so versatile… you could theme your rice play… add some things into the box to use that represent the time of year… christmas theme, use christmas themed cookie cutters and add bits of tinsel… animal themed (maybe you are going/have been to the zoo), put some plastic animals in the box. If you embrace mess then you could even have a play with cooked rice, it would be a totally different experience.
Ways to play
- Pouring from cup to cup
- Fill pots with hands
- Bare feet and play in it with feet/walk through it
- Lucky dip for toys in a tub of rice
- Draw pictures/letters/numbers
- Cookie cutters to make shapes
- Rice Angels (laying down in it like snow angels)
- Hand/foot prints
- Pretend to cook with it
- Make coloured rice
- Make scented rice
- Hide magnetic letters and find the letters of your name
- Pour through funnels
- Make a rice run with toilet roll tubes sticky taped to a radiator
- Themed play… Add items relevant to your theme eg tinsel for Christmas
- Mix with water in a water table
- Cooked rice for a completely different experience
Enjoy your rice experience and embrace some mess xx