More Sensory Fun: Colored Rice

To me Sensory Play is just a fancy word for what kids do when we don't have them on short leashes anyway. Be it in the dirt or  toilet paper or with markers, kids just love to make a mess. I have a personal belief that children should be free range/feral/unrestricted the majority of time. I have very little concern for how they are dressed and what they put in their mouths and sometimes I find it cathartic to let them tear the house to pieces. My husband, however, has a problem with how long it takes me to get the house back together after such explosions so with the weather good (though perhaps a little too hot) I've been moving some of our play time outside.

Yesterday we did chalk paints (recipe here; unfortunately I didn't get a chance to take pictures), but we've also recently done sensory activities with pasta, beans, colored ice, and rice . . . the previous rice play probably deserves its own post because it was brought about by nasty weevils.

weevils in my rice

I don't know if you can see the little nasty monsters  in there, but when we got back from Oregon a few weeks ago they had moved into an unopened bag of rice . . . the fact that the bag was still sealed makes me wonder if there had been weevil eggs in the rice when I purchased it, but there was a pin prick sized hole they could've gotten through, so I'm not sure which it was. . . but since I am not a squeamish person, I picked as  many weevils as I could out and let Claire play with the rice. I later froze that rice to make sure I didn't miss any weevils (I found a few frozen corpses when I took the rice out of the freezer for our next play time).

a close up of a weevil; they are tiny but for some reason Matt won't eat them
The resulting chaos of the rice play time, however, was what made me determine to do  the rest of our play times out side.

rice chaos
Last night, inspired by the colored ice success, I decided to up the fun level by dying the rice. I used the recipe I found here, but it is a pretty basic process: just a few drops of vinegar and a few drops of food coloring in a bag with some rice, let it stand until dry. 

So today we brought out the colored rice and the girls went colored rice crazy.

happy girls
Emptying the rice into various containers
Claire, of course, always eats our sensory activity. It's just part of exploring her world. Uncooked rice in diapers is kind of off putting, but as far as I know not harmful.

The rice is actually really pretty and I think would be great at a wedding (people still throw rice at weddings, right? They didn't at mine, but I'm not much of a planner and probably over simplified everything) or in clear containers as a decorative element.

The containers we used were various items from our kitchen and the recycling bin. Funnels are great. Coryn asked if she could  go get more stuff and came back with a wooden spoon, my strainer, and some measuring spoons.

a rainbow on the patio
We also have a tiny broom/dustpan set that I got in the Target dollar bins which is one of the best tools for play like this. Coryn, towards the end, was pretending she was Cinderella, cleaning the floors. Claire, at this point, is too young to care that her sister kept calling her an "ugly stepsister."

I'll close with one more close up to show how pretty this stuff is. Seriously awesome.