Tuesday, December 8, 2009

But Mum, I've only ever seen it cooked...

I decided to let Rosabelle have a taste of uncooked rice today - well, not literally, but to let her play with it!

I got inspiration from this
post on another Mummy's website which suggested that "Toddlers and preschoolers love to pour, scoop and dig into sand, dirt… the list goes on. A fun and not as muddy way to do this is with rice. This isn’t just a messy activity, it’s also teaching them spacial (sic) skills, measurement and works on their fine motor abilities!". I find her site pretty informative and fun for ideas for various art and craft sessions we can do around the house, using household items, and even though her kid's much older, I can adapt ideas off her - these will come in handy for upcoming bad/cold weather days in Beijing!

No Time For Flash Cards

So I got together a microwave basin of rice (as Wayne says, "My daughter, other kids play with a sand pit/dirt, and you play with rice - you have expensive tastes!"), a toy shovel, a measuring spoon, a plastic spoon, and a disposable cup, and let her at it. She wasn't very sure what to make of the tray of concoction in front of her at first, grabbing at the various items in it...
So I showed her how to pour and dig at the rice, and she slowly decided to feel her little fingers through the rice, and practise her pincer grip with the little rice bits.
Patting her fingers onto the rice, she decided she liked it and started picking at the rice that had stuck to her palms.
She kept grabbing the rice with her bare hands to throw it onto herself and/or out of the basin and onto the floor around her.
And it was fun to see her having fun with the feel of rice running through her bare hands.
Of course, being a typical 13.5 month old, everything has to go into the mouth! Though she was a good girl and stopped doing so after a few tries (and when she realised it didn't taste as good when uncooked!).
Most of the time, she pretty much ignored the tools I left in the basin, so there wasn't much scooping, as you can imagine. But she got a good sense of the feel of the rice, and the reaction of scattering them around the house.
The site says most children at this age will focus on an activity for maybe about 5 minutes before being distracted, but I think Rosabelle was at it for about 10 minutes. And importantly, it reminds that we should not try to 'teach' them how to play, as they learn best when exploring for themselves - very true. So I gave her free rein and could only shudder when I saw the mess we had to clear up after in sweeping up and flicking grains from the grooves of our floor tiles. As the nanny says, 'Play-time is for only 5 minutes, but clearing up time is for 20 minutes' - haha!

Well, I've kept the rice box set away for another day when we are in a feely, scooping mood - another idea from the site is to hide small toys within the rice and get her to find it - something I will try another time. It will be fun to explore more of such indoor activities with her, but I am also mindful of the fact that children at this age need more outdoor time as it's better for their eyes. It's all a matter of balance, I guess!

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