Our rice-filled, Japenese-themed sensory bin was such a hit with the little girls at Gracen’s 3rd birthday party, we decided to bring it out to enjoy again today. We brought a soft blanket, parked ourselves in the shade of a big tree on the far side of the yard, and Grae snuck in the calm, quiet time she quite desperately needed in order to regroup after a couple of busy people-filled days (if you’ve yet to try it, slowly running your hands through dry, cool rice is quite therapeutic).
You can create rice sensory bins loads of different ways, but since ours was for Grae’s Japanese-themed party, it is filled with all kinds of things we found at the Japanese dollar store, Daiso. The edges are lined with the plastic grass partition sheets you’d find in your bento while out for sushi, the heart and star-shaped scoops are rice moulds, the colourful little flowers are food picks, and the fruit shapes are silicon cups meant for using in bentos as well. Also in the mix are some chopsticks, small wooden spoons, plastic miso spoons, and some small bento utensils.
Last is this tiny little bento box eraser set, which Grae wanted to start playing with the moment we got outside. (Tea anyone? Today it was smushed blueberry flavour. As opposed to regular, big blueberry flavour, of course.)
After spending the first few minutes digging into the rice and then letting it slowly rain back down into the bin, she began scooping it up and dumping it out, which created a soft, soothing sound she was quite pleased about.
Then it was onto using her scoop to fill all of the cups. Despite the fact that the giant bin was right below to catch the strays, she poured slowly and carefully, doing her best to fill them to the top without losing too much in the process.
After playing independently for a good long while, Miss G invited me to join her for lunch. On the menu? Carefully prepared ‘rice salad’ topped with ‘flower and lollipop food picks for prettiness’. I’ll take it!
Whether it’s as is, or coloured, rice is such a great inexpensive, kid-safe sensory material. I’m excited to put together something similar for Miss G to enjoy once we’re in Kuwait.