Outdoor fun indoors-Rice

Is it possible?

The big guy started with a rice tub during speech therapy at two. We bought a large rubber maid tub and filled it with rice and beans.

We found lots of things to bury from around the house and local charity shops. We’ve had puzzles pieces, plastic animals from crackers and party bags, tea cups, plastic cutlery, old medicine bottles and measuring cups from the bottles, figures, lego, plastic mirror, doll clothes, pictures of family, plates of different sizes/colours etc to name a few things.

Rice tub

He loved the sensory experience of burying his arms up to his elbow and discovering things. We had a treasure hunt to find buried items. It was a great calming activity for a very active toddler. He loved the flow, pour, scoop action as well.

Activities started from the basic

  • find the object- name the object to find a group of objects that belong together ( fork/ knife . Cup/saucer caterpillar/bee mummy/daddy picture).
  • Storytelling came next. We had stuffed animals and we took out 2 objects and made a story to go with it.
  • Find all the correct puzzle pieces for the 4 piece shape puzzle ( variations included naming the shapes to find or letting him just find the pieces, changing the type of puzzle from simple animal puzzles with the shape to 25 piece floor puzzles etc)
  • Sorting and grouping objects by colour, shape, size, type- whatever comes to mind.( Find all the red things, all the things we use with eating, find your friends)
  • Pouring,measuring, dumping, balancing, burying.
  • finding all the things to have a picnic with the teddy bears
  • linking other toys together with the rice tub to make longer stories :Car wash- find the hidden cars. Use the special spray gun with scented water and wipe with kitchen towel. Park cars in the “sun”. Uncle George can now drive it to the farm to get some milk.( to drink of course)

These were play sessions with the therapist. But we were encouraged to continue this extended play ourselves. He enjoyed the language sessions and through play had fun experimenting with a new sensation.

Just like playdoh there’s so much experimenting children can do with a rice tub. This open ended activity is perfect as a calming activity after a hectic one or one that can be used during freeplay time. Sometimes we directed or started the play especially to encourage a more varied and complex play and other times he free played using his own ideas and ones he’d learnt from sessions, friends and influences around.

Find that perfect book

Spring 2008 Small Button

Note of caution:

  • You will find rice everywhere. Use a shower curtain and clean up is easy easier. During the summer months we played with rice outside for even speedier clean up.
  • Dried beans are very dangerous for young children due to being so small they can go in many places so think carefully about supervision.

Both the boys have Mr. Potato heads: The original and Spiderman, ( guess which one for which child) .They like to bury all the pieces and see who can assemble the quickest potato head. If truth be told Mummy and Daddy like to play this game too with the boys.

Our potato heads have all the pieces in the wrong place which gives the whole game a fun aspect detracting a little from the competition, which can get a little fierce.

Do you use a rice tub? What games and activities ?

Other rice tub ideas

  1. Sensory activities : Tactile
  2. Article on the need for touch play
  3. Play activities article on touch
  4. Forget small go bigger than a Rice tub
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  1. I love this idea. We are in summer still here, so I think I will just take it outside and let the kids enjoy and play.

  2. Hope you have lots of fun. Thanks for commenting. :)

  3. Have you had any feedback concerning the bacteria present in uncooked rice?
    I have used rice a lot for sensory play, but was warned it could hold a bacteria (bacillus cereus) responsible for food poisoning. Any thoughts or information on this?

  4. Not had any feedback on the uncooked rice, Jill. My kids weren’t at the mouthing stage so direct contact wasn’t a problem. For older toddlers, after play I guess we can wash our hands. Changing out the rice or washing the rice may help? I’m guessing. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I teach kids with special needs, so mouthing/eating is often prolongued.
    I shall have to do some research. I’m wondering whether microwaving the raw rice might kill any bugs.

    Oh and something I do with rice – I pour it out on a flat tray, and drop edible food colouring onto it. Stir it up till all coated, then spread it flat and leave to dry. I usually make several different colours this way. It looks great alone, but even better mixed together in all different colours.

    After you played with it, you can make some grand collages too!


  6. my youngest daughter had her 8th birthday we had a scavenger hunt using clue monster wow the kids and parents loved it


  1. […] had a tub of rice and beans to push things in, discovers pour […]

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