Rice seems to be the flavour of the month in our home…
…not just in terms of more options in meals, but also in our artful adventures. Well yes, besides the newer tastes in rice that we are exploring by eating the much meritorious red rice, brown rice and wild rice as compared to white rice, Pari has also been playing a lot with rice these days by first making the rice aromatherapy pillow which was followed by a slew of rice activities including a rice sensory box, rice art and then some more rice in her kitchen pretend plays.
I've always admired and appreciated the idea of sensory play for children.
When Pari was three, I would give her a small bucket full of wheat kernels plus all the tools (spade, digger, rake etc) to play with. Later, we got a sand and water wheel that she would use to put her wheat kernels into and have hours of free play. A basket full of fabric with varied textures also served as a wonderful tool for evoking the sense of touch and feel. Besides, I have always let her knead the dough in the kitchen – no matter how runny it would end up becoming. Getting her hands messy with shaving cream is another fun way to have sensory play. Not to forget – clay. Give any kid a chance to play with clay, and they will go berserk exploring like there's no tomorrow.
And why not? After all, our senses are our best guide to the environment around us
The environment that is filled with a mind-boggling number of aromas, textures, sounds, colours, sights and flavours has to be first experienced through all our 5 senses – to be able to understand. For a toddler or a kid – the senses play a even bigger role in helping them learn about the world around them. They do not understand what "cold" is until they touch an ice cube. They cannot interpret what soft is until they touch the furry coat of a puppy; they cannot tell what love is if it's not through a warm, affectionate and keen touch. By touching, they relate – cold-ice-fun. And, it's in a loving touch that an infant seeks trust, comfort and security.
Sensory play can help the child learn in many more ways than we can comprehend at first sight.
- It helps them differentiate (between soft and hard; between sweet and sour; between wet and dry and so on)
- It helps in their motor skills
- It helps them develop vocabulary (when learning to describe the sounds and sights around them)
- It helps them to concentrate (ask them to sort from a tray of mixed beans and they will apply themselves wholeheartedly)
- It strengthens their muscles (when kneading a dough, during clay play)
- It enhances their sense of hearing (when listening to rain pitter-patter on the window pane, when playing with musical toys)
Here are some pictures of Pari's Rice Sensory Box and below it – the rice art that her friend Sama made.
From sensory play to artful fun!
Pari's friend Sama – sticking the coloured rice on a design that she made on a strip of ivory paper.
Later, she pasted the paper onto an upcycled plastic box (a curd box, actually!) to convert it into a pen/paint brush holder.
More ideas for sensory play from around the web:
- Jelly Sensory Plate @ Raising Sparks
- Flour Sifter @ Tinkerlab
- Valentine's Sensory Tub @ No Time For Flash Cards