Some time ago young B enjoyed some sensory play in our rice sensory bin challenge – a child led play adventure. It involved setting up a container with nothing more than rice in it, then ‘sitting back’ to observe how our little one chose to explore it. So after he’d had some fun with the plain rice, I thought it’d be cool to colour it! It was surprisingly quick and easy, looked gorgeous and felt irresistible! The added bonus was packaging most of it up for a birthday gift! (I know, slightly quirky, but 100% fun, so why not?!)
Our 3 year old ‘mini chef’ loves getting involved in all cooking activities, and this one was visually spectacular, watching the rice transform dramatically from plain white to a bright colour as it was mixed. I especially loved the making of the coloured rice because we only needed to use one bowl and there was practically no mess!
A pretty, inviting set up, right?
Can you believe that no fancy recipe was required to colour the rice? We simply added just a few drops of food colouring to each pile of plain rice and mixed it in!
After we had collected a good portion of the rice for a present for a little friend who we know also loves tactile sensory experiences, it took all of about 2 seconds for B to sink his fingers straight into the separated, neat piles of coloured rice and slowly move and mix it all around the tub!
It was like his own little, coloured, Zen garden of sorts – where his fingers raked the rice back and forth, round and round, slowly mixing the colours and leaving patterns to admire! Apart from looking so lovely, it felt fantastic and sounded cool too – and kept B’s attention for quite some time. Actually, I have to admit, I was totally drawn in too! It had me at “hello”!
As he scooped it up, watched it fall between the gaps between his fingers, and generally explored the interesting texture, I contemplated how these kinds of sensory experiences help to refine tactile discrimination skills in the hands/fingers and fingertips. Tactile discrimination is essential in all sorts of fine motor activities. Some fun tactile discrimination activities include finding hidden objects/numbers/letters/different textures within a container of rice – without looking.
As much as we loved playing with our rice, from a sensory perspective, it may not actually be an enjoyable experience for some people. In fact, it may be irritating or even distressing. In these situations, a degree of tactile sensory defensiveness is a likely underlying factor.
Copying/ drawing lines, shapes, numbers and letters in the rice, using a finger, is a great way to practise letter formation too. It sends new, novel messages back to the brain about the positioning and direction of movement made.
As with our bin of plain rice, once again, B loved tipping the container slowly on its side and watching (and listening to) the rice falling from one end to the other. Thankfully, we’ve not had a complete ‘tip’ out onto our floor – phew! (now that would have been really spectacular!)
Of course, it was only a matter of time before the rice became the setting for a busy airport landing strip and airplane hanger! (Note: the tape stuck to the rear end of the plane in this photo is actually a bandaid (plaster) for a ‘sore’.
It quickly became a case of fitting as many planes in amongst the new aviation site as possible…
And here’s our little gift box of rainbow rice for sensory play!
It’s not everyday one gets the chance to explore rainbow rice for the first time ever! And we found it so much fun, we’ve kept our bag of treasured coloured rice to pour out and play with again at a moment’s notice!
Have you played with coloured rice yet?
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