Scooping, pouring, sorting, shoveling: children who enter our colorful rice filled sensory box get to work doing these things with glee as soon as they enter. What we call “play” is the “work” of childhood – a learning adventure with each new encounter.
Colorful rice enables children to develop cognitive skills by observing, experimenting, and formulating solutions to problems. They use tactile, visual, and auditory cues to gather information and test theories. What happens when I hide my toes under the rice? How does it sound when I shake it in a cup? Can I empty the large cup of rice into the smaller cup? Children are developing fine and gross motor skills as they pour, sift, and sort, and as well as language, social, and pretend play skills as they share tools and interact with their peers.
You can make this at home and put it in a square tub or plastic pool for children to play with. Smaller amounts can be lots of fun too, played with on an edged tray so the rice doesn’t get everywhere. Or take it outside, put a plastic tablecloth on the ground, and let your kids play on it there with some toys. This is an open-ended play project that we love, promoting creativity and exploration.
Cut large paint or glue bottles in half and the tops make great funnels – use with the lid on or off.
Do you use colorful rice in your sensory play? We’d love to hear your experiences with it.