Thursday, April 19, 2012

Red Lentil “Sand Box”

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I have recently discovered the lovely blog carnival Frugal Fridays over at Life as Mom, and for my first entry I’d like to share a fun, cheap activity to play with  your toddler.  Who needs another big, expensive, plastic, made-in-China toy when you could do something original for less and have a great time doing it?  Hope you enjoy. :)
Our little Bird is at an age (she’ll be two next week!) where playing with her can sometimes be a challenge.  She loves to run around and do things on her own, read books, get into mischief, and she LOVES when you sit and read with her, but I have been trying to think of more things that we can do together, that will hold her interest, that will give us face-to-face time.
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My husband discovered play dough last month and my daughter is nearly obsessed.  She says “aaaydough” all during dinner because she knows after the meal is over its play dough time with daddy.  I wanted to have something just as fun that she could love forward to doing with me, and I was reading a little book about games and activities for toddlers when I came upon the suggestion of “sandboxes” with alternative materials.  things like feathers, wood shavings, leaves, etc, for a fun time digging and exploring textures. Picture 046
One of the grocery stores in our area (FreshCo for you Ontario folks) has recently had 8 lbs bags of red lentils on sale for 3 dollars  Yes, you read that right: EIGHT lbs.  That’s a lot or red lentils!  I bought  a bag last week as I like red lentils for curries, soups, etc.  But then after I read this idea about alternative sandboxes, I thought it might be fun to buy a couple extra bags of these red lentils and make a “sandbox” out of them.
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And it was a success!  I need to get a bigger, better container, but for today we just used my roasting pan and one of the bags.  We took them outside on our deck (it was gorgeous out today!) and Bird had a blast scooping, raking, piling, dumping, flinging, and once or twice eating this big pile of red lentils.  She was having so much fun she got quite upset when we had to go in for nap time. :) It was nice because we were sitting face to face, enjoying a laugh together, and really playing together.  And Id say that was worth three dollars, don’t you?  :)
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Do you moms have any good activities you like to play with your toddlers?  Do share!

linking up with Saturday Show and Tell at Cheerios and Lattes and Kid's Co-Op at Learn with Play @ Home


ashleynewman said...

Ooooo. I love it! What a fantastic idea! I may just have to use it! Love her nik! Wish I was closer. Hate that I am missing all the time with the only girl ill ever "have". She's so beautiful and she looks more and more like her mommy every picture I see. Make sure she knows I love andmiss her. Again... great idea momma! Love love love u guys!

The Accidental Housewife said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog :)

We spend lots of time playing chasing games, here. We also do plenty of side by side craft. It's hard to have "together" games when they are at the parallel play stage of developmentbut soon enough they move onto imaginative games. I've already clocked two hours of my-little-pony-visits-the-museum play today, I suspect I'll get in a few more before nap time....

Sarah @ Nature's Nurture said...

Oooh, what a great idea! I'm definitely pinning this for the (not-so-distant) future :) ...and I'm Ontario folks! I have a FreshCo right up the street - so thanks for the tip!

The Old-Fashioned Housewife said...

Oh my gosh, thanks Sarah! Thats officially my first pin I think! :) I am very behind on the Pinterest craze... I think Im afraid to use it thinking it might take up too much of my time as I could just see myself sitting there pinning and dreaming for hours!!! :) Thanks again!

Mackenzie said...

That's a great idea. I had beans for a sensory bin for the boys, but it was inside (kinda messy). Thanks for sharing on Saturday Show and Tell, I hope you'll be back this week.

Jaime Williams said...

Great pics looks like she had lots of fun. My oldest loves playing in anything he can dig or dump... we love trying out new things. Thanks for sharing -frogs and snails and puppy dogtails

Anonymous said...

I just happened upon your blog and have been clicking for the last 10 minutes through post, after wonderful post. I have now added you to my favorites!

When my children were younger, I kept an under the bed storage container filled with 10 lbs. of rice. On days when it wasn't nice to play outside, I would lay a shower liner on the kitchen floor (easier to clean up the rice), plop the rice container on top, give them some kitchen utensil and bowls and let them have at it! The little ones would climb in. When they got too big they would sit outside the container to play. It was a bit messy, but easy to clean up.

Meredith said...

I would place my pre-schooler in the tub, crack open a
Ittle pudding cup and let them finger paint the tub or themself We followed this with a cleansing bath. I could even read the news paper while I sat by them, no water in the tub while they painted.
Make a couch cushion/pillow fort.
Take a small bowl of water, brushes and small foam paint roller and let them paint the driveway or house. Concrete is more fun because of the change in color from the water.
Let them have a bucket of sudsy water as they wash their tricycle alongside Daddy washing his car.
Take a sturdy blanket and Mom and Dad each firmly take a corner and place toddler in the middle and lift up corners and shake and roll them around.
Get a sturdy chair and put some water and suds in the kitchen sink as parent is standing right by and doing their own food prep work.