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Posts Tagged ‘sensory’

rainbow rice

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We love a good rainbow-colored sensory activity around here, so for Lila’s birthday we made rainbow rice. I’d read about people dyeing rice with food coloring and rubbing alcohol, but it wasn’t until I saw this post about using liquid water color paint that it really appealed to me – I’ve wanted an excuse to buy the paints for awhile now, there are so many fun things to do with them. So Lila got the tropical set and some droppers for her birthday and we got to work.

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First she administered a few droppers full of paint into a ziploc bag with three or four cups of rice,

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then she shook it up. Serious business, as you can see.

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The rice was dry almost immediately and ready to pour into the tub.

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We dumped each color in separately, but I had to shoot rapid fire to get any photos of it in this state, because the urge to mix it all together was apparently very intense.

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Pretty soon it looked like this:

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A tub of sprinkles! Sprinkle rice, sprinkle dress.

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She didn’t waste much time taking off her socks and hopping inside the tub, either.

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The verdict is: Rice = fun. Rice that resembles sprinkles = even more fun.

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what we did yesterday

Please excuse this post in which I didn’t make anything, but am I the only one who didn’t know about these things? I discovered them at our “Science Tots” class at the Children’s Museum – we basically signed up for the class because you can play for free at the museum afterwards, and the class fee is way cheaper than the admission fee….but I digress. Anyway, last week they had a tub filled with something slippery and squishy and very satisfying to the senses, which turned out to be “water beads.” Lila (and every other kid in the class for that matter) loved them, so we went out yesterday to get some of our own.

Water beads are little polymer “marbles” that store and release water – they’re designed for floral arrangements and are sold in floral departments everywhere. Our Joann’s carried a brand called AquaGems. The website says they’re colorfast, non-toxic, and biodegradable. Not to mention beautiful little translucent spheres of eye candy. And really fun to touch.

We bought two 1-liter bottles (one would’ve been enough to dig her little hands into, I’m just a bad judge of volume and wasn’t sure, so went with two). I couldn’t find a big tub at home, so we got out a bunch of clear containers (clear is a must to showcase all those lovely colors – and wouldn’t a light table would be amazing?) and played with these things for most of the morning. Lila chose the rainbow mix, so in addition to digging and scooping and feeling, she also sorted them by color into an ice cube tray.

When it was time to clean up I found an old Ikea pitcher to store them in, and Lila painstakingly transferred the beads from her ice cube tray into the pitcher’s spout, one at a time. I think I got about 25 minutes of quiet time during this process, and she played with them (alone again! this is huge, because she always wants me right by her side) before dinner for another half hour, and asked for them first thing this morning, too. I’m not sure how long the beads last, but they’re already totally worth the $7 I spent on them.

I must disclose:

  • While they’re pretty sturdy, if you squish them between your fingers they’ll crumble. And the little pieces aren’t that easy to pick up. That said, only a couple broke apart while we were playing – they withstand regular handling just fine.
  • They bounce like crazy, which is pretty cool, but when they hit the floor they tend to scatter. And they’re wet, so if your floor is anything like mine, they pick up a bit of debris when they fall. We just rinsed ours under water and they were as good as new. I think a large tub would contain spills better than these little containers did.

Today she discovered that the water beads are perfectly sized to shoot out the spout of her new teapot in a very satisfying manner. Good times, I tell you. Good times.

P.S. Hope everyone had a very happy Valentine’s Day. We celebrated in the classic way: heart shaped PB&J and pink milk.

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sick day

Today we stayed home sick. Lila had a high fever, but no other symptoms, so we just laid low.

She chose herself a nice sick day outfit of some leggings she outgrew six months ago and some mismatched socks, the partners of which she wore as “hand gloves” (is there any other kind?) – to ward of the chills, probably.

There was some of this going on today:

But we also made play dough:

I found a recipe on flickr several years ago and I’ve been using it ever since. We make it all the time at home, and we’ve used it for gifts and party favors, too. It’s the same recipe you see pop up everywhere, but I’ll post it here just in case anyone’s interested.

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

4 T cream of tartar

2 cups water

2 T vegetable oil

You mix everything together in a saucepan and cook it over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it all congeals. Then knead the dough on a piece of waxed paper and separate it into as many balls as colors you want.

I usually halve the recipe if it’s just for us, but I made a full batch this time so we can give some to Lila’s cousin for his birthday this week. Mixing the colors is the best part, so I separated the dough into 12 pieces and made the whole rainbow.

You can get super vibrant colors if you use gel food coloring. I bought a box of Wilton gel icing colors forever ago with a 40% off coupon at Joanns. It’s a lifetime supply.

Before the color goes in, you can add a few drops of scented oil to each ball (or you can add it at the cooking stage). We made some grapefuit, some anise, and some lavender. They smell pretty.

I use a toothpick to add a little gel to each piece until it’s the color I want. Be warned, though – a few of the colors will try to elude you. No matter how much black you add, the dough just keeps on looking green – it takes hours (sometimes overnight, even) before the color develops. It’s the same way with purple and red. But be patient. Good things (like black play dough, for example) come to those who wait.

Now, if you’re serious about the sport of play dough (as I think I’ve proven myself to be), you can head over to your local Bi-Mart and source out one of these little stacking compartment thingies to hold all your goods. It’s got three separate layers – I used one for the rolling pins and tools, one for the dough, and one for the shape cutters. They all stack together and snap shut.

No doubt about it, I love me some organized anything.

Now I have to figure something out for sick day #2….

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