Back in August in my post, Buried Treasure, I had made a little storage container of beans, and hidden pom poms. She enjoyed that activity for a while, and then I recycled the beans over to her sensory table for our big Thanksgiving activity… but the idea is BACK… for Christmas!
I was grocery shopping and on the dry goods aisle, I saw a bag of split peas, and there the idea was born. I grabbed that $0.88 bag, a $0.64 bag of rice, and I was done! I already had at home the other items needed for this box.
Here’s what I used:
1 bag split peas
1 bag rice
Mint extract (b/c it’s what I had, you could use essential oil)
Red food coloring (it pretty much took the whole tiny squeeze bottle for it to not look pink, so be prepared)
A large Ziploc bag
A large Ziploc storage box
Treasure, a scoop, and a bowl
So to make the rice red, you’ll dump your bag of rice into your big Ziploc bag (I used a gallon storage bag), add 2 Tbsp vinegar, and then lots of red. I think I ended up counting like 45 drops before I got it really red. The gel food coloring supposedly works better – I haven’t tried it b/c I just always use what I have. Thinking I’ll buy some next time. Then, if you’d like, add a few drops of your Mint scent – you could use Essential Oils if you have them, or if you happen to have Mint extract on hand from cooking, that will work too – that’s what I used. Shake it all up really good, and spread it out on wax paper to dry. Once it’s really, really dry (give it several hours), you can combine the peas and the red rice in the storage box. Then I had some little shatter proof ornaments ($1) and some cookie cutters I put in the box to be her “treasure.” She has LOVED hiding the items under the peas and rice and then digging them out. We even tried a candy cane ornament from the tree, as well as a bracelet. The possibilities for treasure are endless!
The best part about this activity was it’s cost and how quickly it all came together once the rice was dry – on a day we had a ton of other stuff going on, no less! And she loves it! SCORE!