Aug 29, 2013

Feeding the Birds Sensory Pretend Play

Kingston loves birds! As we wrap up our zoo animal theme this week, I wanted to do some activities with him that focused on one of his favorites. I have seen quite a few birdseed sensory bins around Pinterest and thought that would be perfect for him to explore! He loves simple sensory explorations. However, I was unable to get to the store to pick up some birdseed, so I improvised. We had some black rice that was going stale in the pantry (hubs and I both agreed that it wasn't really for us), so I figured that would be the perfect, edible counterpart to birdseed. I put the "seed" in a glass dish, added a shovel, a cup, and a little pet bird and set it on a splat mat in the kitchen.

I sat Kingston in front of the seed and he was anxious to dig right in. (Warning: Playing with black rice may turn your child's fingertips purple! This is only temporary, so don't be alarmed! It also makes a great natural dye.)

He reached in to tap the seed. Then he went wild. I was NOT anticipating how long this would keep his attention, nor how much he would truly love it. 

He quickly went to work taking baby handfuls and shaking them all over the place. He could have just done that forever I think. I would definitely recommend the splat mat for this activity. I am NOT afraid of messes, though I must admit I am not in love with cleanup! The splat mat made cleanup beyond simple. I just picked the whole mat up and poured the seed into its storage container to be played with again and again. So simple!

Kingston was also really interested in scooping the seed with the shovel. 

We talked about the bird. I told him that we were going to "feed the red birdie his bird seed". Then I demonstrated how the bird ate the seed by pecking at the rice. Kingston loved this and picked the bird up to try it himself. He laid the bird down and tried dropping the black seed on top of him. Not satisfied with that outcome, he tried to copy what I had done (which was set the bird up in front of the cup as if it were pecking at it) and filled the cup up with seed and tried shoving the bird inside. It was so cute watching him try to imitate what I had done and to successfully try to feed the bird. He understands the concept of feeding himself and knows the language surrounding the process, so he truly did know what he was trying to do. 

When he was done "feeding" his bird, he continued on his quest to wildly fling the birdseed all over the place. He loved feeling the texture on his hands. He got a great fine motor workout picking up all of the small grains.

Crazy boy even got the seed in his hair. It looked like bugs! And maybe like a watermelon too!

I took a video around this point in the activity. I love capturing how he interacts with sensory activities. 

As Kingston threw all of the birdseed out, I was secretly scooping it up and putting it back in so that he would have something to continue playing with. As I scooped some of the seed, I let K grab it out of my hand. He loves doing this for some reason!

Then I started to pour some of the seed into the blue cup which I called the birds "feeder". Kingston liked this idea, so he took it from me and started to put the tiny seed in the cup. This was fantastic fine motor practice. He patiently scooped seed into the cup for a few minutes before throwing the entire cup over his head. Splat mat people!!

Then he decided to work on scooping again. I was thrilled to see that his coordination with the shovel has improved greatly. He can maneuver it to where he wants and use it pretty well. 

At this point, Kingston threw everything, grabbed the dish and tried to put his whole body in it. He was pulling it back and forth with his hands, before finally dumping the entire dish out on the mat! 

At this point, I abandoned the camera, and joined him in the sensory play. He wiggled his feet in it, rolled around in it, and threw handfuls into the air. He loved it! Never once did he try to put any of the rice in his mouth. We played for over an HOUR! That's like lightyears for a baby. We will definitely be doing this activity again. 

When he was done, I rolled up the splat mat and it was simple cleanup. Kingston had so much fun that he went right down for a nap! It was wonderful! 

Are you following House of Burke? To keep updated on all of the fun, please follow us on Pinterest and Facebook!


  1. That looks like a lot of fun and the plastic underneath makes clean up much easier. The video of his interaction with the bird seed is cute. Thanks for sharing on Artsy Play Wednesday. I pinned it.

    1. Thanks Theresa! The plastic definitely made clean up a cinch. Thanks for pinning!