For the past two months, Noob Baby and I have been going to a hands-on “art” class for toddlers. Every week, there are several stations for her to explore. There is play-dough, paints, stamps, and a tactile station where the noobs get to scoop and pour beans, seeds, peas, oatmeal etc. to their hearts’ content. It seems that the tactile station is always the biggest hit with this age group.
Every Tuesday, I leave the class thinking … “I’m so glad I don’t have to clean that %$&@ up.”
Ok, well I would *never* be so crass. But in my mind… which is sort of a cross between the mind of a 14 year old boy, a repressed school girl, and a sailor an angel and a fluffy kitten, I thank the heavens that for once I don’t have to clean up another one of NB’s messes.
Ok, strike that. One time, I did actually think … “I’m so glad I don’t have to clean that %$&@ up.” It was the week the instructor had a table covered in shaving cream. I would liken it to mud wrestling for kids. Thankfully, oh so thankfully, I was able to maneuver NB out of the disaster zone several times. You might think I was being a wuss, or overbearing, or uptight or whatever… but I will say that the mothers who did participate did not seem to enjoy it. At all.
0% satisfaction. 100% disgust. 200% regret. So not worth it.
I have decided that there are, however, a couple tactile ideas from the class that can easily be done at home which don’t require a hose down at the end of the activity. One of these is what I’ll call a Bean Box.
Just a warning: If your noob is still putting EVERYTHING in her mouth then you’ll want to either watch her like a hawk or wait a few months to do this. Beans are definitely choking hazards!
Assembly is easy peasy (pun intended 🙂 ). Just fill a tub or any medium sized container with beans. I decided to use a storage container with a lid so I could cover up and reuse over and over again (or until the beans start to mold, develop bugs, or other strange decaying activity that I’m envisioning as I type this. Seriously though??). Throw in some old measuring cups, scoops, plates, or other sandbox type items. I find that saving scoops from old formula containers, Whey Protein, or coffee canisters are very enjoyable to NB.
The types of beans you use is totally up to you. I found pinto, black, white, as well as split peas, lentil, and barley. Finally, set some sort of cloth down to catch all the beans that will inevitably spill everywhere. A thick reusable tablecloth works, splat mat, tarp, or anything else you can dig up. Be prepared to have to wrangle in the stragglers though. We did this out in the backyard today, and it was easy to sweep up the mess.
Question: Will stray beans turn into beanstalks?
Answer: It is decidedly so.
Want to Go Green? Use colorful bird seeds instead and score bonus points with the birdies. I’m sure they’ll be happy to clean up the mess.
Don’t mind cleaning up white powder from your noob’s clothes? Use uncooked plain oatmeal. I found this messier, but NB liked it just as much as the beans and seeds.
Hope you have fun with this. It’ll be a great outdoor activity on a sunny day!