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Importance of Sensory Play, a Rice Sensory Box and Rice Art

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.

  1. It helps them differentiate (between soft and hard; between sweet and sour; between wet and dry and so on)
  2. It helps in their motor skills
  3. It helps them develop vocabulary (when learning to describe the sounds and sights around them)
  4. It helps them to concentrate (ask them to sort from a tray of mixed beans and they will apply themselves wholeheartedly)
  5. It strengthens their muscles (when kneading a dough, during clay play)
  6. 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:

  1. Jelly Sensory Plate @ Raising Sparks

  2. Flour Sifter @ Tinkerlab

  3. Valentine's Sensory Tub @ No Time For Flash Cards

What type of sensory play does your child enjoy?

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Leeanne A June 29, 2011, 3:16 am

    I like the pictures that were created with rice! Very pretty!
    I colour my rice by putting a tsp. of vinegar and a few drops of food colouring in a jar and then shake it up – lay it out on paper towel to dry!

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 29, 2011, 3:34 am

      Thank you, Leeanne, for stopping by to comment and welcome to Mommy Labs. :)
      Shaking it up in a jar with food colour drops and vinegar is also a great way to colour the rice if you do not want your hands to be stained. But, Pari LOVES messing her hands up when mixing the rice with colour, so I just let her be. :)
      I’ll now check out your blog…

  • Phyllis at All Things Beautiful June 29, 2011, 1:46 pm

    The rice collage is beautiful!

  • Melitsa June 30, 2011, 9:54 pm

    What a lovely way to use the rice on the cup like that! Love it!

  • Etna July 26, 2011, 9:08 pm

    La idea esta lindisima!!!

    No se me habia ocurrido y me ha encantado.

    Gracias por los consejos para colorear el arroz.

    Saludos Cordiales

    • Rashmie Jaaju July 28, 2011, 4:41 am

      Dear Etna,
      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your sweet comment in Spanish.
      I took the help of a translation tool and was glad to know you think it’s pretty and like the rice colouring tips.
      So happy to ‘meet’ you :)

  • Georgina @ Craftulate February 20, 2013, 8:37 am

    I’ve featured this activity in my latest Craftulate blog post on Larder Crafts for Toddlers. You’re welcome to see it here http://craftulate.blogspot.com/2013/02/30-larder-crafts-for-toddlers.html – please grab a Featured Button if you’d like to. Thanks for the inspiration!