When DJ and I were little, one of our favorite things to do was play with some ice cream buckets filled with uncooked beans. I don’t know where my mom got the idea, but it was brilliant! We spent hours doing all kinds of different things with them. She used a combination of a bunch of different kinds of beans, so there were different shapes, sizes and colors. I always loved the feeling of digging in those beans.
A couple days ago, we picked up a few bags of beans while we were shopping. Isaiah thought they were pretty fun, even still in their bags. My mom poured them into a plastic box and I showed them to Isaiah for the first time yesterday afternoon. At first, he was a bit uncertain. He’s not a fan of new textures a lot of the time. Once I convinced him that they beans wouldn’t hurt him, he really enjoyed them.
I gathered a few of Isaiah’s toys for him to bury or use for pouring. He was amazed when he discovered one of his toys hidden in the beans! After a while, he started digging in the beans like a dog digging a hole in the yard. He got on his hands and knees and was scooping the beans out of the box with both hands. Talk about a mess! At least beans are easier to clean up than rice.
I brought the beans back out again today since Isaiah seems to enjoy them so much. He was so excited to see me getting them out that he didn’t even finish his snack! He just dumped it on the floor and came racing to where I’d set the box. We spent quite a while playing with the beans. He figured out how to scoop them up and pour them. He was so pleased with himself for that achievement. It took a lot of effort, but once he figured it out, he didn’t want to stop!
When I told him it was time to clean up the beans, Isaiah was pretty sad. He helped me collect all the beans that he’d spilled out of the box in his enthusiasm to play. Once the beans were in the box and I’d buried his little animals to be a surprise next time, I put the lid on the box and put it up. Isaiah was so upset with me! He didn’t want the beans to go away. He’ll be glad to see them come back out tomorrow.
One of the best things about activities like this is that Isaiah is learning and he doesn’t even know it! The beans provide fine and gross motor development and are great sensory play. Today’s new skill is pouring, something he hadn’t really even attempted before. There are so many different things he can learn just by playing with the beans. He can sort them by color or size, he can measure them, he can count them… The list goes on. I love activities that allow so much room for development and growth!