Rice, Rice, Baby…(and other weird toys)

December 1, 2006

I thought I'd share a few things I've gotten together around here for Keely.Perhaps it will help out one of you who needs a new activity for your little one. Up first is colored rice.  I thought she could use some more hands-on, tactile, sense filling activities and this is a good one.

Lots of fun, cheap and easy (Put a little bit of alcohol or vinegar in a baggie, add a few drops of food coloring. Throw in your rice. Mix it all up and then spread it on a sheet pan. Let it air dry or put it in the oven at 200 degrees for about half an hour. You can mix the coloring with just water if you need to, but the alcohol makes the colors a little brighter. You can also add a scent if you want.). I got one of those wide shallow plastic storage boxes, so she could go crazy with the mixing, measuring, pouring, and raining and it doesn't make a giant mess that takes me hours to clean up. Hiding little figurines in a the rice and slowly excavating them has also proven to be enjoyable.
You must make several colors for added entertainment. I've also gotten the homemade playdough with a giant box of cookie cutters and other tools out and left them within her reach in the kitchen. This way she can play with it whenever she wants to. Brave, huh?

 I also got a few other little boxes and filled them with things like this.

Starting to look like I'm running a daycare isn't it? This is all for my one child. Yep.  Soooooo, first is a box of colored penne noodles and shoestrings for stringing lovely necklaces. Then, a box of giant screws, nuts, washers, hinges, & pvc pieces (the larger pieces are waiting to be cut-up still).  She loves playing with this stuff when her daddy is doing work around here, so why not give her her own box to explore at her leisure? Lastly, my buttons and a little divider box. She likes sorting them into the little spaces and putting her favorite ones here and there. The buttons have been well loved this week. The child has tons of wonderful toys (mostly thrifted), but she is not really a fan of them unless I am playing with her. I do play with her often, but sometimes…well, you know.  In step the above odd mix of manipulatives. She is quite happy to play with all of these goodies on her own and she has become quite creative in how she plays with this stuff. I'll have to come up with some more ideas to get us through the winter I'm sure, but for now-we're good.  And we can almost always count on the hour long bath for some fun.

 Happy December everyone. Have a great weekend. Go Deck some halls.

Filed under: child related activities,random chatter

24 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. laeroport  |  December 1, 2006 at 11:55 am

    How very montessori of you! Those are all great activities. We have used the same gallon ziplock of colored rice for what – four years now? And Eliot LOVES screwing and unscrewing bolts at the moment. Good work, Keely!

  • 2. Danielle  |  December 1, 2006 at 11:56 am

    One of my favorite things as a kid (maybe not quite as young as Keely, though) was a bag of recycled products that we used as art supplies. We got ours at the Boston Children’s Museum — maybe you have something like that near you? (http://www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/exhibits/recycle.html) We spent hours sorting and categorizing the stuff, and then gluing and cutting and making all sorts of creative artsy things with it!

  • 3. capello  |  December 1, 2006 at 12:55 pm

    ba humbug.

    i’m totally not looking forward to rearranging my sewing area to get to the tree. but at least that will give me an opportunity to move all those flippin’ presents my inlaws left piled in my sewing area. grrrr…

  • 4. Jenn  |  December 1, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    these are some really, really great ideas! I am going to try them all. I have made some homemade playdough and it turned “yucky” after a while. kind of slimy and it lost its color. do you have a recipe that you use for it? thanks for sharing all these wonderful things!

  • 5. manda  |  December 1, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    Fantastic ideas. Bella wants to come and live with you ;)

  • 6. estea  |  December 1, 2006 at 5:11 pm

    awesome ideas. i have stuff like this around for J to play with while we school. man it’s hard to keep him occupied. I like the rice – we used to have some in a hard-sided swimming pool (25lb bags from Costco!). talk about your sensory experience :)

    G really liked (when she was about 4) little wooden sticks with beads glued into patterns (red, blue, 2 white beads, red, etc) that she could copy. That girl notices patterns in everything now!

    anyway, you are too cool, ms. montessori
    (and all ready for homeschooling – go get yerself a denim jumper pronto!!)

    mwah and happy weekending

  • 7. lera  |  December 1, 2006 at 5:21 pm

    I hate cleaning rice. And stepping on rice on the kitchen floor. HOWEVER, colored rice might be easier to find.

    And colored noodles — did you read what my children have done with that?!?!?

  • 8. Amy  |  December 1, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    I’m shamed to admit that I am quite a lame mom in comparison. All those activities look super duper fun.

    If you trust her with buttons, then you’ll probably trust her with marbles too. I don’t fully trust Bea yet, but supervised she loves to make designs with marbles on a chinese checkers board.

    Thanks for sharing those ideas.

  • 9. Alicia A.  |  December 1, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    You’re a good mommy. : )

  • 10. Jennifer  |  December 1, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    What a great mom. My retired kindergarten teacher mother-in-law would be proud of you. She frowns on programs that don’t offer easels and sand tables and science centers. I agree, they are great, now if I could get over being anal about messes!

  • 11. kirsty  |  December 1, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    My poor kids had such boring childhoods…
    I feel so guilty…

  • 12. Anne  |  December 2, 2006 at 12:12 am

    What great ideas! I agree… very Montessori!! I may have to try the rice activity.. both of my girls would love this!

  • 13. Luckybeans  |  December 2, 2006 at 2:36 am

    Rhino toes!

  • 14. Kristy  |  December 2, 2006 at 4:36 am

    We have rainy day boxes with very similar activities.You must see if you can find Keely pegboard if you haven’t already got one?My girls love making deisgns with the coloured pegs and we also have a set of plastic straws with different adapters so you can connect them in various shapes.(always a hit!)I think it’s so good for kids to have open access to all things creative like playdough.We have a bag full of junk modelling bits that are always being used.The mess is well worth what they get from it.

  • 15. nihal  |  December 2, 2006 at 4:37 am

    wow.. all those things you prepared for her to enjoy is amazing!

  • 16. LLA  |  December 2, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    Brilliant work, Angela!

    (and the rice activity is much less painful to clean up if you open up the dishwasher and use the opened door as a table… Let her spill as much as she needs – and then what you can’t scoop up, just close the door and let the dishwasher handle! Also – it’s actually a good table height for little people…)

  • 17. PoppaDon  |  December 3, 2006 at 5:14 am

    It is time for you to publish these creative ideas into an e-book for all the young mothers and new grandmothers out there. These are just too good not to share more widely.

  • 18. kat  |  December 3, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    What great ideas! I have a four + two year old and I’m always looking for new projects to do with them. This sounds fun! Thanks for sharing.

  • 19. bee  |  December 3, 2006 at 7:36 pm

    Great ideas! It is so hard to keep those little active brains busy, isn’t it?

  • 20. Sarah  |  December 4, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    My little boy LOVES the buttons also. I was thinking of trying a bag of feed corn instead of sand since winter is here, but the rice would work and is awfully pretty!

  • 21. stacy  |  February 1, 2007 at 11:33 am

    I think being cooped up in a wintry house is getting to me. We have little boxes of goodies almost identical to these. I, however, had never thought of the screw and plumbing do-dads, nor of the rice!! Can’t wait to collect those supplies and play with them.

    If you’re looking for more fun ideas – we crush up graham crackers and drive cars in it (like sand). I cut up an awful lot of colorful drinking straws that are strung with beads and added to the noodles to make sophisticated necklaces. I also got a GIANT box and put it in our unfinished basement – where painting vigorously can be contained, yet unrestricted. We have also collected a large container of junk items (found on nature walks) that she imbeds in the homemade playdough, sorts etc. (buttons, pop tabs, sticks, rocks, washers, etc.)

    Most of these things buy me an hour of time as well. :) Please continue sharing your bright ideas….

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  • 23. kristin  |  April 1, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    found you through the Crafty Crow and am so glad i did!! this project was a big hit on our snowed in first day of spring break yesterday…thanks for the great idea. my son had a ball dyeing, then playing with the rice. xx

  • 24. official toys  |  June 1, 2014 at 10:22 pm

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