In honour of the new Sensory Collection from the eco friendly baby toys here at Too Many Pjs, I wanted to start a new series of blog posts about sensory play ideas and activities. The first one I am going to start with is making Rainbow Rice! This is a super easy thing to make, and trust me I am not a fan of doing anything in the kitchen. I have also always wanted to try it with my own kids.
The 5 main senses are Sight, Hearing, Touch, Taste and Smell. Sensory Play usually involves the first 3 as they are most easily accessible. These are the ones we will be focusing on (besides the Sensory Collection doesn't smell, I hope). Sensory play is an important part of early childhood development as sensory stimulation is essential for young brains to develop and strengthen sensory related synapses and functions. Synapses in the brain are built up based on life experiences. When multiple senses are used at once to complete a task a child is able to learn and retain more from the experience. Sensory play is not only important for babies and toddlers, but also for preschoolers and elementary children. And even adults retain more information when multiple senses are engaged while performing a task. So during this time of Lockdown at home I thought what better way to get the whole family involved in a fun sensory activity. So let's get started!
These are the things you will need to make your rice:
10 cups of rice
5 gel food colours
zip lock bags or tupperware (if you don't mind it getting stained)
parchment paper, paper towel or newspaper
a sensory tray (or a roasting tin)
*Prep time takes about 5 min and then the rice needs to be left to dry for an hour before its played with so it doesn't stain tiny hands, clothes, or furniture!
First you scoop 2 cups of rice into each zip lock bag. Add 1 teaspoon tap water and a healthy dollop of food colouring into each bag as well. I used this box of rainbow cake colours as all 5 colours come in one box and it was cheaper than buying separately. But you can use whatever you have in the baking cupboard as well. The more you add the stronger the colour will be. And if you have less rice to work with then use just 1 cup rice and 1/2 teaspoon per colour. Give each bag a good shake until all of the rice is well coated. The kids like this part! Just make sure the bags or tupperware are sealed tightly before they shake.
The next part is the boring bit. Spread the different rice colours out on parchment paper, newspaper or paper towel to dry. I used paper towel inside various casserole dishes so the rice didn't go everywhere. Leave the rice to dry for an hour before playing with it so the food colouring doesn't stain your little ones skin, clothes, or your furniture!
Its now time to spread the rice out in your sensory tray or roasting tin. We used the Trofast tray from Ikea in the Flisat table. We gathered together some play kitchen bits and the kids could NOT WAIT to get their hands in the rice! The perfectly arranged lines lasted less than 10 seconds but the kids LOVED this activity and they kept quiet for approximately 30 minutes so if you want to buy yourself a little peace and quiet then this is the way to go! I also threw the new Outdoor Puzzle Blocks in the mix for some added stimuli. We did this outside but you could do it indoors just keep the vacuum cleaner close by. And even indoors I would recommend the Outdoor Puzzle Blocks in a sensory tray because they are made from a recycled polyester and are less likely to stain than the organic ones and are water resistant. I hope you enjoyed the first instalment of my Sensory Play Series. Now go have some fun!