A few months ago, before our trip down south, it was my turn to host the playdate with Clara Anne and Chloe's friends Emma and Samantha. One of the activities that we did was supposed to help them understand the concept of 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 1 whole. I had a large container of raw rice and four baby food jars with the measurements marked around them with rubber bands. We then were going to fill our baby food jars up to the measurements and talk about the difference between them; i.e. is 1/2 more or less than 1/4? Well, that was the idea anyway.
The girls immediately had a great time putting their hands into the rice and using small cups and funnels to pour it into the jars. Invariably (I expected this) some rice was spilled. They didn't care whatsoever about the measurement markings on the jars, they were just totally enthralled with the feel of the rice, the fun sounds it made as it filled up the jars, and then the especially fun sounds it made as it hit the floor.
Knowing that only more and more rice would end up on the floor, we didn't really make any effort to sweep up as the activity was going on. But occasionally as the girls would fill their jars we would pour it back into the bowl; they seemed to not even notice and just kept on busily filling the jars. A few times we swept the rice that spilled on the table back into the bowl as well, but sort of early on we gave up the "floor rice" as a lost cause.
As time went on there became even less of an effort to keep the rice in the jars, in the bowls, or even on the table. One child (I can't remember who) asked to take off their socks and walk around on the rice-y floor. The rest, of course, had to follow suit, and then pretty soon there was a general desire (among the children!) to take off shirts and pants as well. The rice became sand on the seashore and the girls rolled around in it, tossed it in the air, got it into every nook and cranny, laughed and laughed, and just generally had a splendid time, as these pictures will attest.
So there you go--the next time your kids are bored, try playing with some raw rice! Next on our plans? I heard someone say something about flour . . .