A Bucket of Beans for Your Preschoolers?
YES! Here is a fun and inexpensive activity for your preschoolers to do on a rainy day or inclement weather day. Get a few bags of dried beans at your local market and pour them into a large but shallow container. Beans are cheap enough and very easy to clean up if you buy the larger-sized ones. They are re-usable as well (for play of course – not to eat or cook!). Split peas will obviously be more difficult to clean up as they are very small.
Place some items in the container with the dry beans so that the children can pour and scoop the beans with – such as measuring cups and spoons and small plastic cups or bowls, etc. Children will love this activity! I purchased a small plastic swimming pool that was about 5 or 6 feet wide and poured about 10 bags of beans into it. You can use any size container though. The kids poured the beans into the various containers and even onto each other. It was not odd to find a bean or two inside a toddler’s diaper!!!
You can add various toys, dump trucks, toy dinosaurs or plastic dishes, etc. The kids like to play hide and seek with their toys in the beans. You can create some simple math games such as counting up to 100 beans or 10 beans. You can have the kids guess how many cups full of beans it will take to fill up a bowl or a pot, etc. You can have an art activity where the children can glue beans onto a project. For a science activity you can have each child plant some beans in a cup just to see what grows. Lima beans work well for that activity. There are lots of things you can do with beans and preschoolers – just use your imagination.
Cleanup tip: place a flat sheet or plastic table cover under your container or plastic pool to catch most of the spilled beans. It definitely makes cleanup easier. Also, after the bean play is over make sure you store the beans in an airtight container or plastic bag as they will grow into plants or begin to smell if they get exposed to too much moisture. Have fun with BEANS !
(PS – You could also try this with rice but it is much harder to clean up!)
RAINY DAY PREK !