To celebrate Canada Day this year, I wanted to create some hands-on sensory activities for Onetime (my 2.5 year old son) that would also provide opportunities for him to learn about our country’s symbols. We ended up having a blast with these 2 sensory bins: a Canadian Flag Rice Bin and the Celebrate Canada Sink or Float.
- Red food colouring (I used Wiltshire Red)
- A sensory bin, a scoop, and a small bucket
- Red glass beads, or fake gems
- Optional: a Canadian flag pinwheel
To colour the rice, spread it out on a cookie sheet, add a blob of food colouring and then spray the vinegar all over the rice while stirring. Once your rice is all dyed, let it dry for an hour or so.
To make the flag above, I spread white rice all over the bin, then just scooped the red onto each side. I drew a maple leaf with my finger in the white rice and then filled it in with red rice using a spoon.
Onetime always enjoys playing with rice. He likes to scoop, pour and dig. The nice thing about adding a pinwheel to this bin is that your child can pour the rice over the pinwheel and make it turn! What a fun discovery!
Before Onetime “dug-in” to this activity, we took a moment to talk about the Canadian flag. I pointed out the Maple leaf and the two red stripes. We are lucky to have a maple tree on our front yard, and we made sure to look at its leaves.
For older kids, you could talk about how the two red stripes represent the two oceans that border our beautiful country. This is why our Canadian motto is: “From sea to shining sea!”
To Set-up the Celebrate Canada Sink or Float Activity – You Will Need:
- A waterproof container filled with water and a container to hold all the sink/float items (I used a veggie party tray!)
- A variety of Canada-themed, or red and white, objects that sink and float: glass beads, buttons, pipe cleaners, flag, straws, bouncy ball, Canadian confetti, red and white rice (from our rice bin), a cute moose, a red slinky, red fake gems/diamonds, pom poms, bead necklaces and wooden beads.
The dollar store is a great resource for these types of items!
Before he began playing, I told Onetime that we were going to experiment to see which of the items float and which ones sink.
For each item he chose, I asked him to predict whether it would sink or float. Then he put it in and observed. He really enjoyed making the predictions and started to get good at guessing!
If you are interested in finding even more Canada Day ideas, be sure to check out our Roundup of 20+ Canada Day Crafts & Activities from fellow Canadian bloggers!
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