My daughter loves playing with different sensory bins. We currently have playdough, moon rocks, kinetic sand and rice bins that I pull out for her when she asks. Some days a bin will keep her attention for a long time, other days she is over it in just a few minutes. Lately she has been loving playdough. I love watching her explore even if it ends up making a mess sometimes. (Side note & Tip: I have a vinyl table cloth that I pull out when she does craft projects to help contain the mess.) I decided this week that it was time for a new rice bin. The last time I made it was in July and everything had a red, white and blue theme. Time to update for the season!!
I bought two bags of rice at the dollar store. This time I decided to dye the rice with food coloring and rubbing alcohol. I've used this technique for dying pasta and had a lot of success. The colors are vibrant, it dries fast and there is minimal smell. The last batch of rice I dyed with vinegar and I didn't love it. It took longer to dry and there was a lingering vinegar smell every time we opened the bin. Even today as I was dumping it out, it still smelled. So alcohol technique this time. I used red, orange, green and yellow for fall colors.
Last time, I threw in a bunch of different red, white and blue objects for her to play with and explore. This time I decided to create a matching game. I made one with different fall shapes. I have a Halloween version ready and waiting to be added in a few weeks. I don't have a laminator at home (totally on my birthday wishlist though) so I just printed it on cardstock, knowing they will probably get all bent.
I set all the cards up and gave it to K. I pulled out a card and asked her to find the match. She easily grabbed it and handed it to me. Within minutes she had gone through all the shapes and pulled out the matches. Easy peasy. I thought it might take her longer but I guess it is good to know that she can handle something like this. Maybe next time I will add more cards so she has to find a group of three or four that all match. I also plan to try burying them and have her have to dig around to find a match.
After we played the matching game, I just let her explore. She asked for some of the same things that were in the last rice bin. I pulled out some fall/Halloween foam shapes and we threw those in there along with some cups and spoons. She played for a bit more and when she started tossing rice on the floor, I knew we were done for the day.
If you are interested in the matching cards, click HERE to get yours for free.