Monday, 19 January 2015

Messy Play: Rice and Salt

Messy play is great for children's development. Its a chance to explore materials, their properties and cause and affect. I am aiming to set something up every week for L this year which will be a variety of materials and allow her different opportunities for play and learning. 

This week I decided to dust off my pinterest page and look through the Playtime: Messy board and see what caught my interest. 

I found out how to die rice and quickly had a tray of pink rice drying in the oven. Simple steps below.

1: Measure one cup of white long grain rice into a takeaway tub
2: Add a few drops of food colouring and a splash of vinegar
3: Put lid on securely and shake
4: Dry in a low oven until dry to the touch and not transferring colour to your hands

I mixed this with salt, hoping that this would deter tasting, but also because the way that the salt and the rice respond to stimuli would be different. It also varied the texture and sound of the material. I have a small shallow plastic tub with a lid which I use for these sorts of activities. It is easily filled, emptied and stored as appropriate. 

I had found a great pack of three tea strainers in the pound shop, perfect for this activity with the two different materials. I had also found on the same trip a pack of three measuring cups. Great size for little hands. So these joined the materials in the tray and I left it open and inviting on the play table for after nap time. 

When she woke it did not take long for L to spot the new activity and go over to investigate. She tried both the strainers and the cups. She moved the rice into and out of them, we learnt the word pour which she repeated as she poured the salt and rice from varying heights. She sprinkled them from her fingers. She began to explore what was happening to them both.

She also began mark making in the salt. I modelled how to write her name and then L used her fingers and her hand to move the rice and salt while saying her name. This is emergent writing in play and is a brilliant way for children to start to learn to tell the difference between the marks they are making. 

L also began to look through the strainers at me or the room as well as holding them up to the light. This is all new to her and she used all her senses to investigate and explore. 

While L had her playtime I had mine and put my camera into manual mode for the first time in ages while using my new lens. I am pleased with the results which is a first and while I've a way to go I am excited that I am back in manual and ready to learn more. 

Mum Of One


  1. This does look like fun, and easy to do, too. Gorgeous photos, you're doing well there, too! x

    1. Thank you. I love something which is easy to set up. I've put the rice back in the tub we used to make it, after it had gone through the dishwasher, so it's saved for another play day! And thanks. I am enjoying my new lens a lot.