September 19th is the official Talk Like A Pirate Day - AARRGGHHH!
What? You landlubbers never heard of Talk Like A Pirate Day? Walk the plank!
Stuart first told me about this cool day and I found a website that explained the whole story. There are some great pirate activities for kids on here as well as some fun pirate things for adults too.
Today we've talked like a pirate and we've worn pirate costumes. We even played some pirate games.
But I think the kids most enjoyed my Talk Like A Pirate Sensory Bin!
A sensory bin is a great resource for preschoolers. It can have a base of rice or dried beans or really just about anything that is fun to run your hands through, scoop, and pour. Nicholas had a rice box and a bean box when he was at Montessori for preschool and it was his favorite thing to work on. There may also be things added to the box that have different textures, weights, sizes, etc just to add some different things for little hands to dig for, grasp, and play with.
I decided to make a blue rice to be the ocean and then add a pirate theme to the other things in the box.
To make colored rice, you will need rice (the whiter the better), rubbing alcohol, and food coloring. I used liquid food coloring but paste food coloring will work too.
Mix 2 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol with about 10 drops of food coloring. Add more food coloring if you want a darker, richer color. Then pour the liquid into a cup of rice and mix.
The rice will quickly absorb the colorant but it will need to dry out overnight. If you are impatient or wait until the last minute like me and don't want to wait overnight, you can spread the rice out in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and warm it in an oven at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Let the rice cool then pour it in your bin.
I found some "Toobs" that had little plastic ocean animals and pirates. I got these at Michael's so I could use their regular 40% off coupon!
I buried some of the sea creatures deep into the blue rice. Sneaky Mama!
Then I covered them with rice and the pirate characters as well as some fake gold coins and large rocks for islands.
Both of my kids went crazy for their pirate bin!
I spread out a tablecloth on the floor and put the rice box in the middle of it. I told the kids that they had to keep the rice in the box at all times and the toys had to stay on the tablecloth. Somehow we still got a few grains of blue rice sneak their way around the room but overall it wasn't a very messy activity.
And it was good practice for Rachel to scoop and pour the rice.
But you really can't leave a two year old alone with a box of rice for even a few minutes or else they will feel compelled to squeeze their little bodies into said box and sit right down in it!
I plan to do more of these themed sensory bins throughout the year. They are great for Rachel to work on her fine motor skills but they are also just plain fun!