Sensory Play is one of my absolute favorites. As an elementary classroom teacher of grades K-5, I always found ways to incorporate learning with sensory play even for the upper elementary grades. It was always a no fail zone (expect in the sometimes messy department) for enjoyment and learning. So, it is no surprise that when it comes to my own children, I’ve always loved to experiment in this department. When we engage our senses, we engage learning!
Think about the last training you had to attend. Where you squirming in your seat counting down to the next short break so you can stand, stretch, and even talk or was the training so engaging that the time flew by? If time flew by, I would dare guess, that the training probably included some hands on activities and break out sessions to talk with the other attendees! If most of us are still like this as adults, imagine how important the senses are for children as they learn and explore the world around them! So don’t be afraid to let them explore even if it gets a bit messy.
Today’s activity is our Sensory Rice Farm! I will post the directions on how to dye the rice in a quick separate post for those that need it. It’s pretty simple and remarkably fast.
Sensory Rice Farm
Activity: Sensory Rice Farm Activity For Toddlers
Skill(s): Fine motor skills as they manipulate materials (scooping and pouring), imaginative play, and vocabulary building
Materials: colored dry rice (see my next blog post for directions), plastic miniature farm animals, farmers, farm tools
Directions: Color Dry Rice Green (or other desired color) to mimic the outdoors. I chose green because its bright and gives the overall look of grass. Place the rice in a small shallow bin with a lock lid for easy storage. If you have lots of space, you may want to use a bigger deeper bin but I like the small ones because I can make a few at a time (different colors and activities) and easily stack them when I put them away.
Place the animals, farmers and tools in the rice to give them a general idea and create excitement. The first time I let toddlers play with this, I play along and model for them. They often don’t need us at all, but it’s important to me that they don’t try to “eat” the rice and I also show them how to gather it up and throw back in the bin when they spill over. For easy clean up, I place a tablecloth or blanket on the floor and easily gather it at the end.
I live in Florida which is still very hot in September but this makes a great outdoor activity on an outdoor table when it gets cooler, especially when they’ve learned to keep it in the bin (for the most part). Here are a few pictures of the first one I used with JM this past week and as you can see his sisters ages 6 and 4 were eager to join during recess. After JM was done, the girls went back to play after school and had some great suggestions! Since we didn’t have any farmers, they asked if I could print one of for them. Great idea! I found a few, sent them to print on card stock I had on hand, and they took care of the coloring and playing!
I can’t wait to share more of the rice sensory tubs with you and to hear from you as well! What ideas did you come up with? Please share pictures and ideas on my Diapursity Facebook page or right here on the blog in the comments below. Also feel free as always to reach out through email at email@example.com.
Happy Teaching, Learning, and Playing!