Spencer’s first birthday party was safari themed. He loved giraffes so I built his whole party around that. I have really liked sensory play ever since I started reading about it when he was a newborn and I knew I wanted to incorporate a sensory activity into his party. I found a great and easy recipe for dyed rice. It calls for rice, vinegar and gel food dye (how could you go wrong with that?!). Honestly, it smelled awful and I let it sit out for days uncovered. I had gotten small safari animals at the dollar store and hid them in the rice. The kids had a blast finding the little animals and were not deterred at all by the vinegar scent.
Sensory play is any type of play that activates the senses. Generally it is the messier type of play. Think painting, play dough, water, paint in a bag, bubbles, dry goods such as rice, pasta, beans, flour, or even the dreaded mud. Sensory play is so very important because it helps our littles explore the world around them, make connections and work on their motor skills. When I was little my mom would tell me to play in the backyard and I would be outside most of the time I was home. We live in a small apartment and I can’t just throw him out in the back. When we are home we do a lot of messy play, mostly in the form of painting and play dough. For more information on sensory play read this article and if you search Pinterest you will find five million activities to do with all different age groups.
Easy Dyed Rice from Happy Hooligans
1 cup of rice for each color (dollar store rice works just fine)
1/2 Teaspoon of white vinegar for each color
Wilton 601-5580 1/2-Ounce Certified-Kosher Icing Colors, Set of 12
ziplock bag or margerine container to mix it in
Dry your rice on a baking sheet or a pie plate
We moved about a year and a half ago and I misplaced the dyed rice. I have halfheartedly been looking for it and luckily I found it today! I have been dying to find it because this year for Christmas Spencer got this Learning Resources Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set that I have had my eye on for the last few years. I had some scrabble tiles on hand, however you could get these Scrabble Tiles (100 Letter Tiles) if you don’t have any lying around. My Mom had gotten him this stamp set Melissa & Doug Wooden Alphabet Stamp Set – 56 Stamps With Lower-Case and Capital Letters for Christmas. The area looked so much like a construction site after he had played with it a little bit that I told him to go grab his little trucks. Spencer got this set last year for Christmas CAT Mini Machine Caterpillar Construction Toy Truck Mini Machine Set of 4, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, Wheel Loader and Excavator Free-Wheeling Vehicle Sand Box Toy Children Cake Toppers Party Favors.
First gather up your supplies
Shallow serving dish with a baking sheet underneath it
Fine motor set
Sheet of paper
Put the rice in the shallow dish and hide the tiles in the rice. Set up the stamps with the ink pad and a sheet of paper. Set out the fine motor toys and trucks if you like. Invite your little to play. When he saw the set up he was so excited. He played for a good 20 minutes or so and it was about a five minute set up. I got him to play longer because I added the trucks in at the end. He wasn’t too interested in putting the tiles down and finding the matching stamp. He humored me and did two. He was also having a hard time using the alligator tweezers to pick up the tiles. I am so excited to get those tweezers in his hands. I figured he would find them challenging at first. Practice makes perfect, baby. Work those little hands. I asked him during dinner if he enjoyed the rice play and if he would want to do it again and he said yes.
I hope you and the little people in your life enjoy this activity as much as we did. You can easily change this activity up to be foam stickers, small toys, buttons – pretty much anything. If you are on Facebook please follow our page and share your pictures there.