Thursday, May 26

Kitchen table fun #3

Another item I put out on the kitchen table (for-twenty-minutes-of-non-refereeing/mediator-time-for-me/fun-for-busy-little-hands) is a plastic container filled with dry beans. This activity can cost you under four dollars.

1 - plastic container at a dollar store ($1.05)
3 - three bags of dried beans (I bought red kidney beans and black-eyed-peas) ($.88 each)

My earlier version of this activity used rice and it got to be too messy. So, instead of rice, I now use dry beans. Both the rice and beans feel great to run your fingers through.

I usually set out a rectangle metal cooking tray that has a small lip to catch any wandering beans. I also like to put a dishtowel over the cooking tray to dampen the noise of the beans falling.

I keep my eye out for fun metal scoopers at yard sales and pick them up for pennies. My boys love scooping and pouring the beans with them.

Different sized play cups, plates, bowls, spoons and measuring cups work great too!

Old, plastic, honey, spice and Tic-Tac containers that have lids are fun too!

I put little treasures in the bottom of the box that they can dig for or bury. I usually find those things in my/their junk drawer: polished stones, seashells, keys, marbles, LEGO men, bells or coins.

I also took a Sharpie pen and drew something on one side of about five of the beans. They love squealing, “I found the one with the heart on it!”

You could take this one step further and put numbers 1 – 10 or spell out their name on them. Then they can hunt for them and put them in the right order! Anything to stretch their attention span, extend play time and learn as well.

Rules that work in my kitchen:

One child plays with the beans at a time.
Do not eat the beans.
The beans and cups of beans stay on the table in the kitchen.
Do not eat the beans.
When you are finished put everything back in the container and pick up all the beans off the floor.

This activity is best for kids past the oral phase or do not have a habit of putting things in their mouths. Other than that, monitor appropriately.

Have fun!

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