In the middle of my kitchen sits an old baby bath tub filled with rice. This old baby bath tub filled with rice is my kitchen assistant.

This humble tub of rice backs me up and keeps me sane when dishes need to be washed; or dishes need to be put away; or meals need to be cooked; or all three of the above need to be done… (within 30 minutes).



Four (4) Messy Plays with Rice

Kids playing with a tub of rice is messy play. However, messy play with rice is a dry mess and worth the trouble to sweep up.

The tactile sensation of sifting fingers through dry rice feels wonderful. Furthermore, messy play with rice promotes tactile discrimination; enhancing a child’s ability to recognise and respond appropriately to various types of touch.

Here are our top four favourite messy plays with rice.

{ONE} SMALL WORLD PLAY. Add people and/or animal toys to the rice tub. Let your children’s imaginations run wild. Imaginary play strengthens visualisation, social awareness, playfulness and creativity. Bury them, find them, work as a team to fight the foe, celebrate with a rice shower, make rice angels. Go wild.



{TWO} DIY FUNNELS. Before you throw that cardboard box away, consider putting it through some sort of play service before it hits the recycling bin. We had fun transforming our tissue box and some cardboard into a rice factory. Normal rice goes into the top and wow – – – the rice factory transforms it into super rice; (food for our superheroes of course).



{THREE} RICE TEA PARTY. Add some toy teacups, a toy teapot, some spoons and invite some friends over for a delightful rice tea party. It’s so much fun pouring the rice out of the teapot into the teacups. Oh – and of course, would you like some (rice) sugar with that? Let me scoop one or two spoons for you. Stirring rice around with the spoon provides auditory (sound) and proprioceptive (body awareness) sensory feedback.


{FOUR} SCOOPING PLAY. When learning to scoop, it is easier to begin with larger objects (like scooping marbles). The act of scooping is great for using both hands together; and building up the strength and stability of hands, fingers, shoulders, elbows and wrists.



** Safety note: Activities using small items, like marbles may constitute a choking risk for small children and require close adult supervision.


N&M: 4 years, 3 months
E: 2 years, 2 months

September 2012

Lessons Learnt Journal

About the author

Pauline Pauline & Lessons Learnt Journal is all about life with kids. Pauline is an Aussie mum and teacher who shares her love for play, math games, writing and reading activities. She believes that #playmatters, values curiosity & wonder, wisdom, obedience and respect. She also needs naps. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed.

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