Ocean Sensory Tray with Frozen Rice

Make a fun invitation to play on a hot day using frozen rice to keep the kids cool! With sea shells, fish and sea creatures it makes a great play prompt for ocean themed play and learning activities.Seaside sensory play tray with frozen rice

If you’ve been a reader of this blog or a follower of my Facebook page for the past year you will know that we often post about quick play prompt ideas called Invitations to Play, which take just a few moments to set up and use simple resources form around the home. These can be real sanity savers for busy parents and are great for encouraging free, independent play at busy times of day.

On a recent hot day I popped a large bag of dyed blue rice into the freezer and pulled it out at crazy-O’clock (aka just before the kids’ dinner time!)  I simply tipped it into a large baking tray and added some blue glass pebbles, toy fish, shells and driftwood, with a sprinkling of silver glitter over the top. Then I placed it out on a table for them to find, with some small scoops and cups nearby for transferring and pouring the rice.

Invitation to play with under the sea sensory rice

 

 

I kept an eye on baby Bean so that she couldn’t reach the tray (I let her play with a modified version later, without the glass gems and while watching her closely with the rice.) The big girls loved the tray and were really surprised when they first dipped their hands into the cold rice! It made for an exciting added sensory aspect, but it wasn’t too long before it warmed up again in the heat. Once they’d finished with it we tipped it back into a large storage jar and will keep it in the cupboard until next time.

To read how to make coloured rice read this flower fairy sensory tub post with the simple directions.

Frozen ice ocean sensory tub

What they are learning as they play:

sensory: exploring the world using all the sense, comparing cold and hot, pouring and scooping, digging, listening to sounds

science: understanding where animals live, talking about habitats, looking at shells

Cakie: 4.10

Pop: 3.3

Bean: 16 mos

Search for more inspiration with these other Invitations to Play!

See our other Sensory Tubs here!

 

11 comments to Ocean Sensory Tray with Frozen Rice

  • I love that the rice is frozen – great idea!

  • I bet that frozen rice feels great on a hot day. I use hot rice in a sock for my kid’s sore muscles and it holds on to the warmth beautifully. Does it hold on to the cool as well? This is a great idea.

  • Sarah

    This is terrific, thanks for sharing. We have a whole bunch of colored rice, just pulled out the box of blue and put it in the freezer for tomorrow!

  • Neat twist using frozen rice. This is awesome

  • I am super impressed with this excellent idea…however, I only have regular brown rice…got food coloring dye across my hand and curious as to anyone that might be able to HELP LOL! with tips on how to dye my own without getting the rice soggy wet first. We only have acrylic dollar store paint, food coloring, and washable paint (that WON’T do!)
    ANYONE?? Thank you!!!

  • Great! Thank you for sharing! Love the idea for the frozen rice!

  • This is just the sort of this to cool down in the hot weather. I love this idea. It is tempting to have some fishy smells in there somehow! Not sure how though. Maybe some object from the seaside that do not get smellier with age?

  • This is just the sort of this to cool down in the hot weather. I love this idea. It is tempting to have some fishy smells in there somehow! Not sure how though. Maybe some object from the seaside that do not get smellier with age?

  • Anthonia

    Thank you for sending this activity to me, it was very successful when i
    carried it out at the nursery..

  • I love this idea (and your blog in general). I’ve just started homeschooling and want to explore the Montessori method a little bit more and i think this idea would be perfect for both of my kids as they are incredibly touchy feely lil munchkins! We will be exploring creatures of the deep this academic year so i may throw this sensory tray into the mix of things in our home school :)

  • 激安citizen アテッサ