When it's too cold for the sandbox

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Well, hello there!  Everyone waking up from the extended upheaval that is the month of December? Ah, the Monday after the holidays.  Back to work, back to routines… and April seems oh-so far away.

swings in the snowOn the plus side, my kids seem quite undeterred by cold and snow.  They would be quite pleased to just keep on playing on the swingset in the backyard, even if it’s coated in 3-4 inches of snow.  And sometimes, we do.  We pack on the puffy jackets, snowpants, and boots, and out we go.  But sometimes I just can’t handle all of the cold-and-snow prep, and it’s too cold and nasty.  So I’ve had to find some new indoor activities for my all-over-the-place 17-month-olds.

If it were summer, it seems they’d be at the prime age to start playing with sand and water tables.  We used an indoor version during one of the classes we took in the fall, and it was a big hit.  But I don’t have the table or the space or the patience for water all over my floors.

rice boxInstead, I share with you the biggest hit of the last few days with my kids: the rice box.  It’s not a new concept, not by a long shot, but I figured I’d put it out there for anyone in need of an idea.  Some people use rice, some use dried beans.  But it’s a fun way to play with texture and scooping and all of that.  And much easier to clean up than sand.  All you need is a wide, shallow rubbermaid container.  Throw in some inexpensive dry rice or pasta or beans, and add some good scoopers.  Measuring cups, sippy cups whose tops have long since disappeared, or anything else.  If possible, put a sheet or tarp underneath it for easier cleanup.

Will the kids keep every grain of rice inside the box?  No.  Will you have to supervise closely to minimize destruction and prevent the kids from eating it? Yes.  Will you have to unclench and accept the fact that the rice will still escape the area and require immediate vacuuming upon completion of the activity?  Yes.

rice box mess

But hey, it keeps them entertained for 5-10 minutes, so I’ll take it.

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