Texture Bowl

One of our new playtime activities is a 'Texture Bowl' for Smooch.  I found a big bag of dried beans in the back of a cupboard, that are probably 4-5 years old.  Realizing that-- 1) there's probably been some breakdown in the composition and flavour over that period of time and 2) if I haven't used them in that long, I'm probably not going to use them-- I decided to put them to a new use.  I put them in a big bowl (with a tight fitting lid) and added a few 'accessories' like an egg cup, a spoon, and a silicone egg poacher.  Smooch seemed to know immediately what it was for.  She dug her hands into the bowl, and let the beans slide through her fingers.  She scooped up beans with the egg cup and poured them back into the bowl, trying to fill up the squishy egg poacher.  She used the spoon to stir the beans in the bowl.  She took out handfuls of beans, then said "uh oh" when they fell on the floor, and proceeded to pick them up one at a time and put them back in the bowl.  She was delighted.
We put them 'away' on a shelf in her kitchen, and she pulls them out almost everyday to play.  Sometimes she gets a little excited, and beans go flying, which means the end of "Beans" for the day, but usually she's really good at keeping them in, or putting them back into, the bowl.  This is still a 'supervised' activity, as she occasionally likes to put them in her mouth, and like I said, occasionally 'splashes' them across the room...  But I see a lot of new discoveries going on with it, so I think its worth the occasional stepping on a dried bean, and the potential for a 'bean catastrophe' if she gets the lid off when I'm not nearby!

We're going to try out some different textures soon.  We were given a 'water table' that will come out on the porch once the weather gets a little nicer.  And we'll probably try rice and play dough soon as well.  And pudding finger painting.  And hopefully, some good old fashioned digging in the dirt.

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