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Rice Tractors

January 28, 2011

Been stuck inside because of all the snow? Here’s an idea for something to do. It kept mine busy at the table for 45 minutes.

First, send them on a mission. (Not a job, a mission. Remember how much more fun missions are than jobs or chores?)

The mission is to seek out all the tiny trucks, tractors & machines they can find and meet you back at the table.

While they are doing this, you get some rice and pans with edges. Fill the bottom of the pan with a layer of rice. You don’t want too much, or it’s too hard to push around.

I made the mistake of having the boys share a pan the first time and they kept arguing over who used what tractor. I had to set the timer to switch every 3 minutes.

They did end up working together eventually.

So I guess that wasn’t a mistake after all.

Next time we did this activity, I gave them each their own pan and saved the rice when they were done to reuse again later.

This time was after Christmas so they had several more vehicles to work with. One pan, would not have worked well.

Monkey wanted some other “tools” to play with besides the tractors. I gave him a “bulldozer” (spatula) and a “rake” (basting brush). You will notice a vast difference in the way that he plays with his rice over the way Bruiser plays.

Bruiser was a little too fond of scooping up the rice and dumping it out of the pan. Next time I’ll have to make sure he has a dump truck or give him an extra bowl.

(Please excuse the messy nap-head.)

I never imagined how happy two little boys would stay just pushing rice around a pan with their tractors. It was a very good 45 minutes.

A little messy at the end?


But I will take 5 minutes of set up and 5 minutes of sweeping for 45 minutes of quiet play any day!

Maybe next time I’ll give Bruiser a dish tub instead of a jelly roll pan. He could use the extra 3 inches of side!

Actually I didn’t do that much cleaning up. My job was to put away the kitchen tools, empty the pans, wipe the table, and store the rice. The boys were responsible for putting away their tractors and sweeping the floor.

The rice sweeping was pretty easy for them thanks to our wonderful Swivel Sweeper! (If you have any kind of hard floor in your kitchen/dining area you would love this thing!) Any tool that helps my kids clean up without my assistance is good in my book. Because of that sweeper, I didn’t have to help them with one bit of the floor clean-up. Ok, wait, I guess that’s not really true. I did push the table aside so they could reach underneath, but that’s it!

If you’re thinking “This all sounds wonderful if you have boys, but my girls don’t ‘do’ tractors,” try it anyhow! Change it up. Give them spoons, spatulas, cups & bowls. Have them “cook” with it or pretend to be a snow plow with the spatula to make a path for the little people to get from here to there. Try drawing  pictures in the rice by pushing it aside. I’m sure they’d come up with something fun! It’s certainly better than just throwing in another movie!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2011 2:04 pm

    If the snow gets really bad….
    A local playgroup gets corn from a feed store (but maybe you live in civilization and can’t get that?) and puts it in a big tub. The kids loved it!

    • January 29, 2011 2:18 pm

      One of our local farms has a barley shed for the kids to play in complete with Tonka sized backhoes, loaders, and dump trucks. The boys love that and it’s way cleaner than sand in every crease of clothes.

  2. January 28, 2011 11:38 pm

    This is a super idea! I am doing that with my children next rain day! Thanks!

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