Saturday, February 18, 2012

Natural Materials for Exploring with Small Children

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I want to share with you a really simple but fun activity to do with young children or even older kids 

natural materials for exploring with small children

materials: bag of dried beans
                long metal pan
                kid-safe kitchen items 
I did this activity because Baby Bear was really agitated since she was teething and I needed a new activity to focus on. She has lots of toys, but new things are always engaging.  

bean project with 3 view

I prefer natural materials when I can to help out Mother Earth.    At first, I was thinking rice, but who wants to clean up little white lines off of the floor!  I had an unopened bag of dried black beans that was perfect (note: you can get them very inexpensive at the grocery store!). 

I took out a metal pan (so they would clink and make fun sounds when she was playing) and some other kitchen items that she could use to explore the pan of beans. You can see all of the digging, pouring, and mixing going on:

beans activity for children

Since the beans were large and black, it was easy to sweep them off the floor for cleaning.  Plus, I don't mind cleaning up if the activity was an engaging learning activity.  It helps improve small motor skills and hand eye coordination.

note: not all children are ready to play with small pieces because of choking hazards.  It is up to your discretion and children should be watched carefully. 


  1. Great idea! Also great to keep an eye on the little ones who might pop a bean in their mouth! Thank you for this activity!

    1. Thanks Kathryn! maybe try something edible that would be OK to put in their mouth like cheerios. Let me know if you try it & take some pictures to share


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