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 –
Monday January 13th
The Craft Train
Cockatoo Pencil Tins (you are here now)Tuesday January 14th
Laughing Kids Learn
Aboriginal Clapping Sticks
Wednesday January 15th
Friday January 17th
Monday January 20th
One Perfect Day Tuesday January 21st
Racheous – Lovable Learning
Wednesday January 22nd
Thursday January 23rd
Friday January 24th
Oh, Eucaplyptus and Lemon Myrtle are two of my favourite Aussie scents. 🙂
Thanks for linking to our book lists. I’m so proud of the picture books that Australia produces.
Kate - The Craft Train says
Looks like so much fun. I’ve never tried this type of thing with my girls but I’m pretty sure my four year old would love it!
Christie - Childhood 101 says
My girls both love rice play and I love the idea of adding eucalyptus to scent the rice, fabulous!
What fun! Awesome to also play with when you have a blocked nose! haha. I love those scents too and little Possum looks like she enjoyed the experience. 🙂 Pinned!
Ness - One Perfect Day says
R loves rice play – it feels so silky. This looks irresistible.
You come up with the most fun ideas Kate. Whenever Mr 3 smells eucalyptus oil, he thinks of lollies (those yummy eucalyptus drops he gets when he has a sore throat). Such a comforting scent 🙂 xo P
Looks fantastic! I found you via the Aussie KBN pinterest board and was wondering if you could tell me if it’s possible to join/how to join the Australian Kids Blogger Network? Thanks!
Rachel | Racheous - Lovable Learning says
Oooh, I need to make scented rice! We just made scented sand and it was a big hit. Thank you for the inspiration! Your pictures are so sweet 🙂
Great idea! My son is 7 months old. Do you think it is okay to do scented and coloured rice with him. He still puts everything in his mouth!
Fabulous question Amanda! I personally believe that if you are actively supervising children who are still wanting to eat everything then it’s not a bad to get them involved. Just be sure to be right there and ready to stop them if needed. Best wishes with it and thanks for your question. 🙂
Irene Heidenreich says
Australia Day is also one of my favourites. I love your ideas and activities.. Cant wait to try them out. Cheers Irene
Oh Irene, you have made my day. Thank you so kindly.
I have a heap more Australia type activities coming up so be sure to pop back and have a look. You might like to subscribe too!