Monday, 29 July 2013

Holiday crafts - Rice Maze and Story Maker

So it's the Summer holidays. So far, ours have been OK. Where it normally takes Mini a good week to settle into the different routine, he's settled much quicker this time.

As usual, I've planned our Summer holiday, although things have had to change a little beach trips, no camping, and certain activities will need to wait until Dollop's plaster cast is removed. We jumped straight into the plan, and have been doing lots of activities. Mostly craft stuff and baking because I find these bring us close, and are 'together' activities.
I want to share some of them with you...until a few months ago I was writing another blog Cakes, Makes and Bakes, where I wrote, funnily enough, about cakes, makes and bakes, with recipes and craft activities. It seems silly to keep up that other blog, when this one is where I write about Mini and Dollop. So from now on I'll share some of the things we make here on The Boy's Behaviour, and I hope you'll find they're things you can do with your children too. Cakes, Makes and Bakes will stay live, so do have a look at things we've done in the past...I even posted about a disaster that we made, it might make you giggle if nothing else.

So one of the first things we've done is a simple craft activity to make a useful toy/game. This was inspired by something I saw a few years ago in a shop, and as I was tidying up a few little bits and pieces, I thought I'd give it a go. Mini helped, and has since spent ages playing with it...Dollop too.

Rice Maze and Story Maker
You'll need:

 A large (ish) plastic bottle with a screw on lid. Try to find one with a relatively wide hole.
Rice - enough to mostly fill your bottle.
10-20 small objects, that will fit into the bottle, we used:
  • Small plastic sword
  • Hat pin
  • Toy spider
  • Butterfly sequin
  • Mini peg
  • Leaf sequin
  • Screw
  • Penny
  • Mini pom pom
  • Paperclip
  • Moon shaped bead
  • Pink bead
  • Hama bead
  • Plastic bow
  • Googly eye
  • Wiggly shaped craft foam
  • Foam flower
Simply ensure your bottle is clean and dry. Fill it with handfuls of rice (you might find a funnel useful), and throw in one of your little objects with every other handful. You need to leave a gap at the top of the bottle for the rice and objects to be moved around in, so leave an inch or two gap. Screw the cap on, and superglue if you're worried about it coming off.

That's it. Now there are several games to play, and if you have any more ideas I'd love to hear them.

Put a 20-30 second timer on and ask your child to shake the bottle and call out as many things as they can see. Adjust the time based on your child's age and ability. Mini LOVES this - he's 6.

Call out items for your child to find - this works better than the above game for little children. Dollop prefers doing this - she's 3.

Use it as a story teller. Shake the bottle and using the first item you see, make up a story. Regularly shake and spot an item that you can work into the story. Great for inspiration when you're struggling for a new bedtime story. Using this Mini's made up several short stories already.

Because Mini and I made this it gave us some time together. He got excited about finding what to put in it. He could do the whole thing himself, but we talked and he listened to my instructions. The other great thing about this is that Mini *could* play with it himself, but it wouldn't be so much fun. So it helps us all interact and be close and connect. We high five or hug when he's found the pieces. He's using his imagination (and so am I) to make stories. It's a quiet, calm activity that we can spend 5minutes or 50minutes on. He's even sat and made up stories with and for Dollop, so they've played together. Such a simple idea, but works in so many ways for us.


  1. Love it!! I've seen these in the shops also, massively over priced for what they are too! What a great idea :)

    1. They are overpriced in the shops - ridiculous money. I reckon this cost me less than 50p because, except the rice, I had everything just sitting around anyway.

  2. I love this idea... *goes off to find empty plastic bottle from the recycling bin*

    1. Did you find one? I'd love to know how you got on...

  3. Great idea and for once (thanks to the lovely folk of my reading group!) actually have an empty plastic bottle!

    1. :-) Let me know how you get on if you make one?

  4. Replies
    1. It's great isn't it. So many different ways of using it too.

  5. This is great! I've never seen anything like this before, but it's so simple and with so many applications (got my home educator wheels spinning!).

    1. Definitely lots of applications. I guess you could even put scrabble letters in and use it to spell/prompt words? All sorts, and great fun.

  6. What a great idea, and something which can be adapted for all ages! Thanks for linking up to Ready, Set, Craft!

  7. What a clever idea, Amy would love this. I'd just be worried that she'd get in there somehow - she's a crafty one ;) Thanks so much for linking up and see you again soon x