Christmas Scented Sensory Rice Play

Our first Christmas Spirit Play experience this season is a Peppermint Scented Red & Green Rice Tactile tub.  I dyed a heap of rice with red & green colouring, then as it dried I added Peppermint essence to give it a christmassy smell. It was divine!

Once ready I put in a bag of Christmas themed sequins and glitter, plastic candy canes, some Christmas decorations and Christmas tree baubles. Dimples contrasted the red and the green baubles with the red and green rice. I had taken the ends off the bauble and Dimples started putting grains of rice into them. The hole was tiny so this was a great fine motor task for him & to add to the sensory delight, he found that if he shook them they made a musical ding.

Eventually he mixed the colours around, enjoyed some pretend play with the reindeer & elf figures, they made tracks, the elf rode the reindeer around and then they tripped over the decorations and got buried. Dimples commented on how yummy the rice smelt.

There was a stray bauble that ended up smashed on the ground, they are plastic so I think Dimples had something to do with it 'smashing' he used this cue and filled the open bauble up to plant candy canes in it.

The tactile tub was a great sensory experience with the contrasting colours that were visually appealing, the sound of the rice pouring and flicking around, along with the scent but it also provided a goo imaginary Christmas scene. After a while Dimples decided to fence in the reindeer so they could escape. He very carefully piled up rice and made a rail out of baubles and plastic candy canes.

After a while when he started to lack interest I added some more elements. Funnels and large plastic kids tweezers.  He did his usually pouring and experimented with the different funnels then very cleverly used the large tweezers to grab the large Christmas sequins. More fine motor practice and sorting through the rice to find the same sort of sequins. this was time consuming and required lots of focused attention.

Have you played with scented Rice before?
What Scent have you used?

Here are some of our previous posts using rice. They're always a hit! 

Learning Concepts:
Sensory Play
Tactile experiences
Imaginary & pretend play
Exploring Christmas Theme
Fine Motor skills

Ideas for Extending:
Make a funnel tree like our split pea funnel tree
Early Measurement principles
Use small figurines to make it a small world
Use sand equipment, like a sand mill to pour rice in

Happy Adventures

Alphabet Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree

When it comes to direct learning which isn't hidden in some form of play Dimples finds it quite a bore, looses focus and doesn't want a bar of it. He hasn't really been interested in the alphabet, reading or identifying letters besides his name until recently so to foster this new interest of early literacy in a fun hands on way that isn't plain boring letter recognition we read the funny story Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and made a Felt Alphabet tree to go with it.  

We started with two large postal tubes (you know the ones you send posters in), filled one with some sand to weigh it down, duck taped them together and Dimples painted our soon to be tree trunk brown.
Then we did the branches using paper towel rolls painted green, these were cut and shaped to fit into one another at the top of our tree trunk, then they were also taped down firmly.
Next we used some felt cut in the shape of palm leaves big enough to fit over the rolls, these were hot glued down using a hot glue gun. Dimples helped position and press them down.
What is our tree missing? Dimples come up with the idea of using paper bags scrunched into balls to resemble our coconuts. He carefully helped glue them into position and then we were only missing our Alphabet letters.

The Alphabet letters were also glued onto the felt with a hot glue gun. I found some cheap wooden letters off eBay for a few dollars, you could use those plastic magnetic ones or foam letters but these wooden ones did the trick and stuck nicely with hot glue. First we ordered our alphabet along with the story, finding each letter as we read the pages, then once our tree and glue were prepared I called out letters and Dimples went and found them for me, helping to stick them out. This was great for letter recognition and he found fetching them as quickly as possible lots of fun.

The story gives a good opportunity to discuss why we have upper and lower case letters. Why do we have two of each letter? it also goes over the alphabet with visual cues in both the story and the illustration. Its a very upbeat fun story using rhyme and humor.

Once our letters were on we re-read the story and Dimples reenacted it pretending to be certain letters going up the tree and shaking it when they all fell out. Now we use the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree in many ways, as a story prop and along with letter identification when we read the story. Dimples points to the letters as I sing the alphabet, we combine it with an Alphabet Abacus and a Alphabet placemat and play letter match, we play I-spy; mixing it up so he can search for individual letters.

Learning Concepts:
Early literacy
Learning the Alphabet
Benefits of craft
Letter recognition
Identifying individual letters
Discussing upper and lower case letters
Connecting literature, hands on craft and fun

Ideas to Extend with:
A DIY Letter Puzzle
Alphabet match using other forms of the Alphabet.
I-Spy Letter search
A name Letter Recognition Sensory Bag
Use magazines and news papers to go on a letter Hunt for a drawn Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree

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Mad Scientist Play - Colour Explosions

As a Mummy blogger I am a bits and bobs hoarder; Meaning I keep anything that has prospective crafting or activity purpose. Among my craft cupboards (yes there are many) I had a collection of empty bottles in different shapes and sizes from baby wash, hair conditioner, drink bottles, vases and so forth, plus squirts from hand washes and sprays from bench cleaners that I've rinsed out. I knew I would use them for something cool one day. Here it is!

In Australia its warming up, days are getting lighter and warmer for longer and so along with the Spring air comes lots of outdoors play. The usual bike riding, ball throwing, digging and playing around the yard is all good and fun but this afternoon I set up a mini science lab for Dimples to experiment with.

Dimples had 2 types of experiments to perform as a Mad scientist. I set up a plastic tub station of bottles, three bottles with white vinegar in them and a few drops of food colour, I chose our three prime colours so as they exploded out he would see them mix in the clear tray they sat in. Then in the other two (the vase and the tall bottle) I did a ratio of canola oil and coloured water for some lava lamp eruptions. We have done this before so Dimples knew exactly what to do.

Getting inspired by the set up and the brightly coloured bottles waiting he went and put on his dress up doctor kit, which became his Mad scientist suit, one of my caps that he dubbed a Mad Scientist cap and some clear safety glasses from Adventures Dads tool shed. He was set and ready.

Dimples first broke open some alka-sielter tablets (you know those tablets that are for upset stomachs, you probably have some in the medicine cabinet) and dropped them into the oil filled bottles. See above. The tablet sinks to the water then it fizzes away in the water which makes the coloured water bubble up and erupt into the oil in blobs but as we know it doesn't mix, so it makes it look like a lava eruption. Pretty cool. Dimples had a close up watch until it settled then tried a larger piece to make even bigger coloured eruptions.

The second experiment was vinegar explosions using coloured vinegar in bottles and bicarb soda. The blue worked so well that it did actually splash Dimples in the face. Lucky he had his scientist safety glasses on. The trick to making a good explosion is to be prepared with everything you need on hand, plus extra. Make sure you put enough vinegar in the bottle so that it is about 2/3 full with enough room for it to fizz/build up and spout out the top.  Use a bottle with a small hole, narrow neck and use a wide funnel so that you can get a shot of bicarb soda into the container in one hit.

Dimples had go after go, of course the very first time worked the best with a huge explosion erupting so quickly it exploded out the top of the funnel before he had a chance to move it. Then he tried the blue witha  huge grin and a very loud "Woah" as he shook his vinegar covered hands but each one still continued to fizz over for several tries and the colours that splashed out onto the tray started mixing and looking very cool indeed. Dimples noticed the colours that were mixing and swirled his fingers around in them.

Do you have a Small Scientist waiting to perform some experiments like these?  
I'd love to hear how it goes, leave me a comment below

Learning Concepts:
Science; Oil/Water & Vinegar/Bicarb
Colour recognition
Mixing Prime Colours
Role Playing & Pretend Play
Hands on

Ideas to Extend with:
Volcanic Explosions
Colour Mixing on Ice crystals
Do it in the dark; Glowing Vinegar Science
Mixing Prime Colours in bags

You can keep updated with all our Adventures by following Adventures at Home with Mum on Facebook, follow us on Pinterest, or check us out on Instagram.


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