Sunday, May 18, 2014

Relaxing Sensory Play!

   There are some days that the little munchkin comes home from preschool and I can tell she had a long day. The look is right there in her eyes and the crankiness kicks in...right around dinner time.
    Then there are the days where all is well, she starts to wind down after dinner time, and then a second burst of energy kicks in...right before bedtime. Sometimes I feel that I just can't win!
   Some days she is good about taking some time to play quietly, with quiet boxes that I have out and available for her to use and explore as she pleases. But there are some days where she just walks around aimlessly and can't be entertained by anything. She slowly gets crankier by the minute, and it is usually between dinner and bedtime.
  She loves to play with any kind of little figurine toys, so I came across the idea of a Calming Sensory Bin at Nurture Store, for her to explore on those days where she is on the verge of a meltdown and it isn't quite bedtime yet.
   I have dyed uncooked rice once or twice before and relearned it here, using a little bit of a different technique, as I searched for and found purple food coloring and lavender oil. (I was excited to make this and grabbed the first thing I saw that said lavender oil!)
   I dyed the uncooked rice by puting some uncooked rice in a ziploc bag, a few drops of purple food coloring (or just mix red & blue food coloring) and then dropped in some lavender oil. I sealed the bag and mixed it all up until all the rice looked colored in purple.
I left it to air out for two days. 
    After ensuring that it was completely dry, I dumped it all into a large serving tray (it was deep enough so that I didn't have to worry too much about rice spilling out easily), added some little bunny and dog toys and some dollhouse furniture with some small squares of felt.
   Playing with uncooked rice alone, is a great sensory experience.... and with an added pop of color and a calming lavender scent and some toys, this was awesome! I am not going to guarantee an easy bedtime routine afterwards (because who wants to stop playing in rice and go to sleep?)... BUT it does offer a calm, relaxing and somewhat quiet playtime!
   She dumped rice in and out of the little tub and buried some of the dogs in the rice and just enjoyed some quiet play.
    And if rice spilled over the side of the tray, it was no biggie. I added a kid-sized broom/brush and dust pan for her to use to clean up after herself!

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