Sunday, February 13, 2011

Monday’s Tips and Tricks

Linking to Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now.

Back in the fall, I made some of my microwaveable heat packs to sell at Craig’s office.  I was originally thinking that I would use rice, but ultimately decided that I liked the deer corn better.  Unfortunately, that was after I had purchased a 20 lb bag of white rice.  I prefer to feed my family brown rice, and so only very occasionally do we eat white rice.  I was going to donate the big bag to a food pantry, but then in January when we all had a bit of a stomach bug, I made chicken and rice soup and opened the bag because that was the only white rice I had and I wanted it as easy on the stomach as possible.

I say all that to say this:  I didn’t know what in the world I was going to do with the other 19.9 lbs of white rice!


Then this week I was reminded of something I used to do when the kids were smaller, and thought it would make a good tip for today.  I used to keep a couple of rubbermaid-type boxes with lids filled part-way with rice and/or dried beans, along with a few scoops, funnels, cups, etc.  I would get the boxes out when I needed to keep the kids occupied for a little while, like while I was making supper. 

They would sit at the table or island for a good long while, scooping and pouring and feeding their tactile senses while I got something done.  It had educational elements too (what happens when I fill up this big cup and pour it into the little cup?  How many of these little scoops does it take to fill up this container?).  It was also good fine-motor practice. 

So this afternoon, I poured some of that big bag of rice into a box and figured 8-yr-old Pinkerbelle would play with it out of nostalgia, at least long enough for me to snap a photo.  And she did.


It’s what happened next that I found really interesting.  The thirteen-yr-old said “Hey!  Can I have a rice box too?” followed quickly by the 10-yr-old.  Eventually they combined their three boxes into one big cooler, and are now playing together with over 19 lbs of rice!  Fortunately, they are old enough now that they get to vacuum it up themselves if it gets all over the place (but Firstborn, being the typical type-A firstborn, is trying his hardest to make sure that nobody spills the rice out of the cooler).

Lest you be concerned that this is not an appropriate activity for young children, I got the idea from a bona fide early childhood educator when my boys were little and we were participating in Parents as Teachers, a free program that began in our state, Missouri, is run through the school districts, and has spread nationwide.  We would have monthly home visits with our educator, who would make sure they were hitting all the right milestones, and gave me ideas for enrichment activities.  There were also lots of activities at the district’s early childhood center, from play times, to parenting classes, all free.  (I have been surprised in recent years to hear a few young mothers say they don’t participate because they don’t think they need any help.  It wasn’t a matter of needing help, although they offer that if you do need it.  It was fun, it was gratifying to hear the ECE say “oh, he’s doing so well!”, and it gave me lots of ideas.  If you have children under the age of three, I encourage to see if Parents as Teachers is offered in your area.  So, I guess today’s tip is a two-fer.)

Now I’d love to hear your tips!  This is pretty much an anything-goes kind of party.  Anything that might be helpful to someone else is fair game.

  • share a tip that makes your life easier
  • you must link back to me in your post
  • link to your specific party post, and not your general home page
  • please be polite and visit several other participants and leave a nice comment
  • I will delete entries that don’t link back to me or do not fit the party theme

Just a small comment about linky party etiquette…I am very reluctant to actually delete any entries, however it is only common courtesy for you to include the hostess’ link in your post.  Your link will forever be attached to my post, and could be visited a year from now.  But if my link is not in your post, I do not receive that same benefit, or any benefit really, from hosting your link.  Let’s think of it as a two-way street, okay?  Thanks.



Anonymous said...

Great idea! I'll keep this one on the back burner for when I have little ones! :-)

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I love the part about Type A firstborn b/c that is sooooo me!!! I bet my girls would get a big kick out of this activity...especially Michaela Byrd. Thanks for sharing, Holly! :)

Katie W said...

I think Pinkerbelle looks like a combination of me and Lauren at that age!

Jennifer Rodriguez said...

A friend of mine did that - and the dyed some of it with food color. Really fun!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Hey there! :) It's fine with me that you linked this up! Hope it brings some more interest!!

Anonymous said...

I had a "Bean Bucket" for my 3 children when they were little! Spread a sheet on the floor and let them scoop, measure, pour, drive cars and walk toy animals in it. They're teens and 20s and still mention the Bean Bucket once-in-awhile!