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A Sensory Activity You Can Do In Your Backyard - Safari Ltd®

A Sensory Activity You Can Do In Your Backyard

Bring School Lessons Alive with this Backyard Sensory Activity

Every week, my kids focus on a different letter for their homeschool lesson. This week in particular they were learning about the letter 'I'. I was a bit stumped at first about what activity we could do that was fun and reinforced what they were doing in school. We opened their homework folders and the teacher had given a worksheet about insects. The light bulb went off, and I remembered the beautiful TOOBs of insects and butterflies we had!

Here is what you'll need:


  • Two plastic containers
  • Bag of black beans
  • Bug catching tools (I got these at the Dollar Tree)

For the colored rice bin:

  • Bag of white rice
  • 2 Tbsp of white distilled vinegar
  • Green food coloring
  • Ziplock bag

Creating Your Backyard Sensory Activity:

Step 1: If you want to keep this very simple, then you can fill a bin with the black beans and jump into the fun right away. If you have some extra time on your hands then I encourage you to make the green rice bin. The colored rice does require some pre-planning but once it’s done, it could be reused multiple times. Have the kids join in on the fun of dying the rice.

Step 2: Pour the vinegar in a large Ziplock bag and add a few drops of food coloring. Next, add the bag of rice, close it carefully and give it a good shake until all the rice is coated with color. You can add additional food coloring to get whatever shade of green you desire. Afterwards, it will take 2-3 hours for the rice to dry. I put the Ziplock bag next to a window and mixed periodically to ensure it dried thoroughly.

Step 3: Now that you have created some beautiful “grass” for your bin, you are ready to continue the fun. Fill one bin with black beans and the other with the green rice. Add in your favorite insects and/or butterfly TOOB. I also added a few rocks and plastic leaves.

This is your child’s chance to EXPLORE and use their imagination! They can use their hands and/or insect catching tools. The tools are a great bonus to practice fine motor skills like pinching and scooping and makes it more engaging. They can pick up an insect with a tweezer, catch them with a net, inspect them under a magnifying glass and more.

This is a great opportunity to discuss all the types of insects and their features. My girls had a blast catching these bugs and playing with the rice and beans. So much fun that I would recommend this as an outdoor activity, so you aren’t picking up rice and beans for weeks. If some beans start sprouting in your yard, don’t be alarmed. That could be a surprise follow up activity you didn’t even have to prep. Just add your insects TOOB and explore some more!

About the Author

Ariannie Machado is a certified Elementary Education teacher with a masters in Special Education and mother of twin toddler girls! Follow along with her on Instagram @ariannie__

About our TOOBS®

Our exclusive TOOBS® are all-in-one sets including several miniature educational figures focused on a theme, with packaging that serves as a re-usable portable storage case with a latching top and carry handle. These mini toy sets are great for vacations and trips, dioramas and school projects, or sand tray therapy and other play therapy exercises.


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