With the weather outside so incredibly hot at the moment (I’m not complaining, love the sunshine!), we’ve been taking refuge indoors during the warmest times of the day and so I’ve been looking for ways to keep Florence entertained and calm at the same time. Over the past couple of weeks I have put together a few different sensory bins that have really worked a treat at stimulating Florence’s imagination and honing in on those fine motor skills. Today I wanted to share with you our Lavender Rice Sensory Play. This is just the perfect play invitation to relax your little one’s and keep them busy out of the heat of the day. I love the way were able to bring a little bit of summer indoors too by using fresh lavender from our garden.
Food Colouring – I used a mix of blue & red gel food colouring
It really couldn’t be simpler.. just pour your rice into a zip lock bag and add in the food colouring. Leave to dry for two hours and then add fresh Lavender sprigs and some crushed lavender. Pour into a box and add some scoops and tools to enhance play.
Ways to Play
Pouring & Scooping
Florence spent a good 20 minutes just exploring the texture of the rice with the scoops and pouring the contents of the cups and scoops onto her other hand / feet. Pouring from one container to another is one of her latest skills and so it was really lovely to watch her really concentrate on filling one cup up with the contents of the scoop. The rice made a lovely rain like sound as it fell. Each time she did it, I would say ‘Scoop it up, pour it into the cup’ giving particular emphasis on ‘Scoop’ and ‘Cup’. By the time we were done, she was very close to mastering the word ‘cup’ herself!
She soon noticed the flower stems and spent some time feeling them with her fingers. She enjoyed picking off the petals and sprinkling them into the rice. I invited her to smell them and we stood the remaining stems up in the rice to create a garden.
Small World Play
Later on I added some Happy Land Fairies to the box and began to act out a little scene with them for Florence. She soon joined in by making it ‘rain’ by pouring the rice on them, putting them to bed under a blanket of rice and then offering the lavender sprigs to them to smell too – very cute! She really seems to have found a love for roleplay already.
This is definitely a sensory bin we will revisit over and over and luckily, the box we used has a lid so I can just store it away until we want to pull it out again. I really love the way that this play involves four of the five senses while at the same time being completely calming. At one point, Florence actually got in the box herself which makes me wonder if perhaps this would be a good mix to add to our tuff spot? It is a perfect activity to pull out between bath & bedtime to wind down or first thing in the morning when everyone is just not quite awake just yet. I would advise putting a blanket or mat down underneath the box as the rice goes EVERYWHERE and is so easily trodden around the house. Having said that though, it’s super easy to vaccuum up so it’s not that big of a deal really.
Now that I have had my first attempt at dying rice for play, I am going to give some other colours & smells a go – I’m thinking maybe citrus fruits next by adding the zest of the fruits to the rice? What do you think?
I’d love to know if you give this a go, so please do pop me a little comment below if and when you do!