For today's activity, I grabbed an idea from 365 Games Smart Toddlers Play by Sheila Ellison. The idea is simple, but the prep is not. You make a whole bunch of rice, and once it's cool enough for your toddler to stick his hands into, turn it out onto a tablecloth. You can mold the rice with your hands or with measuring cups.
To me, the activity sounded fun. Sure, it would be a lot of work and clean-up, but it would be worth it! Right?
The rice was easy for me to make because I have a rice cooker. My husband worried that Oliver might learn to play with his food from this activity, so I decided to dye the rice a bright green to hopefully indicate that it's a toy. It took about an hour for the rice to cook, and another hour to cool the rice down. We even kept it in the freezer for a little to try to get rid of some of the heat!
As it cooled, I got the play area ready. That was Oliver's favorite part. I laid down the tablecloth, and he started running on it in circles. I thought, "This is going to be great!"When the rice was finally ready, Andrew scooped it into a mound on the cloth. Oliver was fascinated and ran right over! He got his hands into it and seemed a little bothered by its stickiness. I ran and got oil to loosen it up a bit. That didn't really help, but it did leave oil stains on our floor! Oliver watched Andrew play with the rice. He'd participate for a bit by putting some rice into a measuring cup, and he'd taste it, too. He grabbed his rubber ducky and pretended the duck was eating and kissing the rice, and then he got up and left. I'd say he sat there for three minutes and played for about 30 seconds total. Two hours of work... 30 seconds of play.
Here's Oliver running away from the rice activity after a few short minutes:
Worst activity ever. D. The only reason I don't give it an F is because it wasn't dangerous and didn't put our son it danger. It was just a huge waste of our time, energy, and food.