Rice, rainbows, summers, and some sensory play

What does rice have to do with rainbows and summers? You may ask. Its like this, as working parents, school holidays were our biggest dread. The nanny had to come on time, the kiddo had to be pacified, distracted or conned depending on his mood that particular day and we had to find parks, playgrounds or television to keep him occupied. I remember days when he just didn’t want us to leave and I have literally cried my way to work.

From what I have heard, stay at home parents don’t have it any easier. Holding the attention of your kids on a good day for longer than 15 minutes is nothing short of a miracle, imagine having them home all day for over 40 days. In short, its going to be a trying few days for us and them, I can foresee – a short fuse, anxiety, tempers flaring and some tears will be shed on both sides J (yes, like most parents or maybe mothers more than dads I shed a few tears when the fights get intense).

So this year I started thinking ahead to plan for the summer vacations and am setting up a few things that I plan to use in different ways to create new play experiences for the kids. If I can hold the 4 year old’s attention for a couple of hours (imagine 2 full hours) in a day I would be thrilled.

I have been seeing a lot of what is called ‘rainbow rice’ for sensory play and have been quite intrigued by it. My children just love anything to do with digging, dumping, running their fingers through and sitting in to dip their toes into. If your kids are anything like mine they are going to love this.

So I ordered a bunch of extra rice this month and got to looking at how to make this easily. I love working with colours but with 2 kids under 5, I don’t have much time to go creating things. When I stumbled on this blog by Jackie on a simple method to make this rainbow rice, I jumped at it!

It was simple and all the ingredients were already in my kitchen. Here it is-

What I used –

  • 2 kg – of the lowest cost rice from my store
  • colours – food colour / finger paint colour (I used these because I have a 16 mo who is likely to get some in his mouth while playing)
  • A stick – chopstick or back of a paintbrush
  • Vinegar – to make sure the colour doesn’t run
  • And last, a container to shake the rice in

I made these in 2 batches and my 4 year old ‘helped’ a lot. We had so much fun just making this that I plan to finish the full box of rice. As expected the kiddo wanted to play with it even as we made it, it looked so inviting! But I managed to divert his curiosity with easter coming up and talking about a dig pool.

Today being easter, my elder son had already been home for 2 days and was getting bored. So we pulled out an inflatable pool, dumped in the coloured rice, put some scoops inside, some animals and little toys were buried and both kids had full reign on this.

Not only was the older one thrilled and wanted it all for himself, but the younger one couldn’t believe his eyes either and was all for it. In fact it was such a hit that in no time both kids were fighting for it. So we had to ration, plot and manage it until it was naptime for the baby.

Here is the plus side, we spent almost the whole day playing with the rice in various ways. The kids even helped clean up.

A word of caution, however, the rice is a little poky for tiny feet so if you have smaller children please choose your method of play carefully. Now that I have a whole batch of rainbow rice I am going to explore new ways of setting up play ideas with it. I will share these with you as we go along. If you have ideas of how we can use them feel free to share in comments.

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