Ninna has a quiet time every day during Bojey's nap. I usually read to her, and then she does something on her own. Some days (like yesterday), she comes up with her own plan, and on other days, I give her something to do.
A few weeks ago, I gave her this:There's between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of each thing--barley, rice, couscous, macaroni, oatmeal, steel cut oats, white peppercorns, flour, salt, brown sugar, oat bran, lentils, popcorn, rolled oats, chick peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, and a cinnamon stick thrown in for good measure. It seems like a lot, but it was really just the tiniest bit from each container.
Then I gave her a chopstick, a fan-shaped paintbrush, and our plastic dinosaurs. I have no rationale. That's just what I grabbed.
Ninna played with this for a long, long time. I was walking around doing chores, which gave her the opportunity to take advantage of the one flaw in my (lack of a) plan. Do you see it in the photo above? The cause of my downfall?
The glass of water. And the water pitcher. By the time I came back up from switching the laundry, the dry goods were no longer dry, and there was a soup of the most absolutely disgusting variety sloshing around in that cake tray. I don't have a particularly weak stomach, and I was gagging. I spent the entire clean-up time thinking of my friend Jill whose gag reflex is, um...quite insane. And then I laughed because Jill is a new mom, and she has yet to engage in such amusing tasks. Jill, your day will come, my friend.
All in all, aside from the soup situation, I'd recommend this as a cheap, multi-textured sensory activity. Just scan the area around the tray before you leave the room...