This winter was the first one we've had with Bean beyond the newborn stage, and it therefore provided me with the slightly daunting challenge of utilizing my "creativity and resourcefulness" in finding lots of indoor activities to keep Bean entertained! One such activity she's enjoyed in various forms is 'scooping play', which involves some kind of dried food stuff, several different size containers (bowels/tupperware/ice cube trays) and various scooping implements (spoons/cups/measuring scoops). This game has loads of variations and is great for sensory stimulation and developing hand-eye coordination. It's also particularly enjoyable for kids in the 'dumping' stage, which we've been enjoying for about 6 months or so now! ;-)
So far we've done this with a mixture of yellow and red split peas (lentils):
And a mixture of dried soy beans and red kidney beans:
Bean goes into a state of intense concentration during this game, which can last anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour or more...carefully scooping up the peas, dumping them into another container, running her fingers through them, taking handfuls of peas and watching them fall to the floor, stirring them with a chopstick...its beautiful to watch. I just sit with her, observe, and offer commentary on what she's doing so she knows I'm interested and paying attention (whilst fighting the urge of my inner neat freak to pick up all the peas off the floor as they scatter everywhere! - trust me, clean up is far easier once they've lost interest).
Recently we've even brought the scoops and containers into the bath and used them for water play at bath time, which is even more fun when you add a few drops of food coloring or liquid watercolor paint to the bath water!
Happy Scooping! :-)