Make some magic coloured beans as a great DIY resource for sorting, counting, imaginative play and storytelling! These are so simple to make and are hugely appealing to play with.
We made a new play, counting and sorting resource by simply turning white butter beans into magically coloured rainbow beans! They kids couldn’t stop touching them and loved playing with them in their games. I tried two types of paint on the dry butter beans before using brightly coloured Sharpie markers, which worked perfectly and dried really quickly! (Yes I did get my hands messy making these but they were worth it!)
Then I mixed them up and laid them out on a piece of black felt as a sharp contrasting background, with the pots next to them, and let the kids to play!
I couldn’t stop my 5 year old from playing with these even though she knows how to sort and name her colours by now, but she loved them and enjoyed counting them out and seeing if she could count up the total amount of beans altogether. Another way to extend for this age would be to ask them to add together the contents of the red and the blue pots, or take away the yellow pot of beans from the purple and orange etc.
Miss 2 seemed to understand exactly what she could do with this set up and she sorted the beans slowly but accurately into the coloured pots, trying to name them when she could remember them!
Miss 4 sorted them quickly then tipped them out, lined them up and started to count them into groups, finding out that in one set I had made an extra one!
These beans would be the perfect addition to a playful retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, or as an exciting and magical story starter! I think we may use them for that one day very soon, with Miss 5 really interested in stories at the moment.
They are a great resource to pop in a container and store along with the Playdough Tool Kit, craft pieces and paints, ready to pull out and count, play and sort with at any moment!
See all our other cheap and easy DIY Play Resources here
See a whole series of Playful Maths ideas here
What they are learning as they play:
maths: sorting by one attribute, counting, using 1:1 correspondence, matching by colours, simple addition
physical: pincer grasp, coordination, lifting and dropping small objects
creativity: using one object to represent another during play, imaginative play and storytelling
* Please note: always and only use small materials like these with children who will not put them in their mouths. Uncooked beans should not be eaten. *