Australia Day is my national day of celebration and it takes place on 26th January of every year. It is on this day that many ‘Aussies’ get together with friends and family, usually over a friendly BBQ or casual game of backyard cricket, to reflect on what they love about our country and show their pride by displaying Australian flags.
I couldn’t resist making some fun play activities for the toddlers based on Australia Day. The green and gold are Australia’s national colours.
You will need
- Uncooked rice (or another grain or seed)
- Food colouring in yellow and green
- Eucalyptus oil
- Australiana figurines or flags (optional)
What to do
I’ve previously described the technique of colouring rice, which you can find here. Once you’ve done that, add a tablespoon of vinegar and two drops of eucalyptus oil to each bag before shaking it again. Spread the rice on a board or plate and allow to dry completely (after about 2 hours).
It has been very hot temperatures here in Melbourne and so we did our rice play indoors. Some people can be quite put off to allow their child to engage in messy play, however, any mess was easily cleaned up in a matter of a few minutes.
I found a little kangaroo toy that Possum loved pouring the rice over and making it bounce into the rice. It also created an opportunity to teach her what I knew about kangaroos and make her point out particular features, for example, “Where is its long tail?”.
We also discussed the colours that she could see. By only having two colours it created a stronger teaching moment because there was less to learn and more opportunity to consolidate her understanding of those colours.
Eucalyptus comes from the eucalyptus tree and it’s leaves are the diet of our adorable koala. By adding the eucalyptus drops give the rice a gorgeous earthy scent. Possum just loved it and it really added another level to her sensory play experience.
I personally like to not overload a sensory activity with anything and everything. Keeping it simple promotes creativity and it’s amazing what ideas children come up with that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself!
Of course it’s always tempting to include your toes!
Taking the learning experience further
If you did wish to add more to such a sensory experience you may consider going on a scavenger hunt to find some Australian native plants around your area and add them to the sensory rice. Of course, even with the eucalyptus oil, always be sure they are safe for touching and children will not be temped to eat any part of it.
You might also like to track down some Australian books from the library or consider adding them to your book collection. Jackie from My Little Bookcase has a wonderful post on lots of fabulous Australian books and their details.
Once we had enjoyed our sensory rice experience we decided to put some aside to play with on another day and the remaining was added to a recycled container and gave it as a gift to Possum’s little friend to enjoy too.
How do you like to celebrate Australia Day?
For more fun Australia Day activities look here –