Add some herbs to rice to make a lovely natural sensory play material that smells wonderful and adds interesting textures to the usual mixture.
We have made a lot of sensory rice tubs for play and they last indefinitely, if stored in a dry place. This makes them extremely economical and versatile for later using in Discovery Bottles and other play set ups too.
For this latest sensory tub I wanted to keep it as simple and natural as possible, using herbs from our own garden to add extra sensory dimensions of texture and scent. We went together to gather branches of rosemary (I think any other dry-ish herb would work just as well here too) and the girls started to pull off the leaves. I had already dyed a bag of rice using 1/2 tsp Wilton Green Icing Colouring (EU approved version) and a few drops of water. The rice dries extremely fast and doesn’t need any alcohol or anything else added that you sometimes see recommended on other sites.
The rosemary leaves made the rice tub smell just wonderful and really enriched the sensory element of the play.
To keep this entirely natural just leave out the colouring altogether or use a natural plant dye instead from boiling and reducing green herbs or vegetables. They used the tub to pour, scoop, transfer from hand to hand, swirl around and build scenes using the leaves. It is both refreshing and relaxing and a good place for them to play when they need some time alone or to relax. Sensory play tubs are always great for zoning out and thinking time, and I love them just as much as the girls!
We have made a lavender version of this which is exceptionally relaxing and wonderfully scented! I really recommend trying it.
Here is where we used rosemary to make scented water for play.
The children are currently aged 5, 4 and 2.
What they are learning as they play:
Sensory: exploring materials using all of the senses, talking about how things feel and smell
Physical: fine motor strength as they pick and pull apart the herbs, transferring, pouring, scooping, sprinkling etc
Creativity: making up stories, scenarios and games using everyday materials
Want some more ideas along these lines?
Here are 10 Natural Play Dough Recipes to try
Here are some ideas for Calming Play for kids
Anna thanks for the idea. I have some rosemary in my garden too! Going to make a batch for my children. 🙂
Katie / The Surly Housewife says
Love this idea. I have a bit of an herb overload in our garden. This will be perfect to use up some excess!!
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I absolutely love this! It is so great for kids to create something that uses sensory systems — it is just how we learn!!!