What to do when it's cold and wet outside and you just can't face the whole water-proof and welly palaver? Or when you want to cook their tea and have them close by but entertained, without needing your undivided attention. Porridge oats of course! My mum used to entertain my brother like this when he was little, only she used a tray of rice. Both work brilliantly. Rice makes a nice noise when you pour it, and bounces off the floor in an entertaining way, but porridge oats are cheaper.
Give the kids a deep baking tray, or any large container,with a reasonably thick layer of porridge oats in and then either some spoons and pots to fill up and empty, a collection of cars to drive around in it, toy diggers and dump trucks to turn it into a building site etc. It's basically an indoor sandpit. Mine would happily sit on the kitchen floor mucking about with oats for ages.
As well as being good for improving motor skills this activity is also great for role play and language development. Zac used to narrate long scenarios involving trucks getting stuck in the oats and having to be dug out, playmobile characters lost in snow storms etc. Danny was more interested in cooking and would stir up bowls of "delicious" pudding for me, "Careful, hot hot hot! Fuff it!"
Of course, the oats do not stay in the tray. If you've got a hard floor this is no problem but you might not want to try it on carpet!
Once they're on the floor it's nice to "draw" in them with your finger, making tracks, drawing smiley faces etc.
Once the kids start to lose interest they can be occupied further by giving them a dustpan and brush and challenging them to get all the oats back in the tray to use another day, or by giving them the hoover to suck them all up- which takes some time and is apparently very entertaining.
|Zac on clean-up duty.|
Seeing this photo reminded me. When they've finished it's a good idea to check their feet are clean, otherwise you may get oaty footprints all around the house!
Woah! Check out this brilliant oat play-