Friday, February 5, 2010

New Favorite Toy? A Bag of Rice

The other night I was reading Jamie Martin's Steady Days (by the author of the beloved blog SteadyMom) and came across the most brilliant idea. Create your own portable rice table by pouring a giant bag of rice into a plastic underbed storage bin. So simple, so perfect!

Rice table

So yesterday, while we were at the grocery store stocking up for the 18 to 24 inches of snow expected this weekend (um, yikes!), I saw a gigantic bag of rice on sale for $6. I knew I already had an unused storage bin at home, so I tossed the rice in the cart.

Now, I can't even begin to describe the hideousness of that particular trip to the grocery store. The parking lot was packed, and when we finally got inside, the kids picked up on the atmosphere of grumpy grown-ups immediately and just dissolved. They were both in tears within 30 seconds of entering the store. It was heartbreaking, but we had to soldier on. The toddler did not want to be in the cart, and was lashing out by attempting to pull everything on the shelves. The five-year-old wanted to push the cart herself but we were shoulder-to-shoulder with other shoppers. And when we were finally done, even the express self-check-out line was a 20 minute wait. Oh my, I thought my poor little ones were just going to go to pieces. We salvaged the outing with a silly face contest, but we were still all pretty wiped out when we got home.

And then I remembered that rice. As soon as the toddler was down for his nap, I pulled out the bin and poured in the rice. I grabbed funnels, spoons, and cups, and the five-year-old set to work. She was still at it when the toddler woke up and joined her. Three hours later, there were mighty protests when I had to put it away to clean up for dinner. Folks, they played with rice all afternoon.

More rice table

Yes, it did mean I had to vacuum before dinner, which is not usually part of my routine. But it was a very small price to pay.

We may be about to be snowed in for a few days, and let me tell you -- this mama is feeling mighty grateful to have another trick up her sleeve. Thank you, Jamie!


  1. Wow, how cool! I may have to try this one soon and let the monkeys do this in the basement. Very cool idea, thanks!

  2. Portable sensory table/tub! My children loved this when they were little. I should get one out again. Depending on their age & being mindful choking safety concerns, dried beans, popcorn kernels, sand, cotton balls, flour, and cornmeal are all fun too.

  3. I need to put rice on my shopping list as spring seems so far away! Thanks for the idea!

  4. I saw those big bags of rice! What a great idea.

  5. Oh, yes, this is lovely, isn't it? We sometimes swap out beans or lentils, just for hoots. Or swap in new cups and bowls and paper towel tubes. I'm forever amazed by how much entertainment this provides. (And if you're me, you need to vacuum anyway :)