Monday, February 22, 2010

Try and Tell- Indoor play

Linking up to learn some new ideas here!

A couple of years ago we had some students come over for dinner.  We had one of those big sub sandwiches (yum!).   When I was cleaning up the big, plastic platter was in the trash.  It was so sturdy and had raised sides, I decided there must be something I could do with it. 
Now, Sean had a great Sunday School teacher who had a rice bucket she would pull out from time to time for them to play with.  I was not feeling up to that mess, so I thought dried beans would work.  A couple bags later mixed with some toys and I had the best activity our home has ever enjoyed- before or since!
I have graduated to use an underbed storage tub with wheels.  This Christmas we got him 2 construction vehicles and several bags of little rocks from the dollar store.  For his recent birthday party I mixed in 3 big cans of oats.  That was a hit with the kids!  Here it is back at home:

The oats can get a little messy if they spill out.  On the other hand they are good if you are worried about little ones putting the peices in their mouths.  My favorites have been the rocks because he likes to play construction site with them.  I got the shiny, colored glass stones at the dollar store, too.  Little girls would probably love playing with any of it!

When play is over, just put the top on and store away!

Recap of filler:
1.  Dried beans- they will break down over time, but still get lots of play out of them (beware your trip down the bean aisle at the grocery store will never be the same!)
2.  Rice- it can get messy if they spill over, but with close supervision this is great
3.  Oats- feels great to run your hands through and perfect for making piles
4.  Rocks/Stones/Shells- easiest to clean up, nice and chunky

Use with sand toys, cars/trucks, dishes, you name it! 


  1. Oh, I love these things. We have delayed getting one for in the house because my daughter puts everything in her mouth, but I have decided we are going to do it with the giant bags of store brand puffed rice cereal. That way if she eats it, who cares?
    I love the oats idea. Great thinking Mom.
    Thank you for linking up with Try and Tell. Very good post to share! :-)

  2. Wonderful assessment of a sensory table or container. I have even tried cornflakes (gets messy but is fun) - corn seed (slippery if falls on the floor but has a nice feel) - Cornmeal is fun too (nice texture as well but a little powdery on the clothes).

  3. My daughter loves to play with beans! We took our container to play date and all the moms were amazed how the kids played and played!

  4. Great idea adding in new fillers as a special treat--makes an old toy feel brand new. I've found that putting one of those plastic table cloths you can get at dollar stores underneath the play area is the perfect way to contain the mess. When they're done playing, just gather up the ends and shake it out outside.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. We have a bean container, but I love your ideas! I'm definitely going to have to expand ours. My son would LOVE that giant container that he could put his construction equipment in!!

  6. Cute idea! We are going to have to try it when my littlest is a little older.

  7. love this idea would be perfect for princess