I thought that they seemed like quite a lot of work to put together, and would create a lot of mess. I also wasn't exactly sure how Harry would play with them. But we had some dried rice left over from making our Diwali rangoli the other day, and after letting him dig about with his toy diggers I decided it was time to give him a bit more structure.
I cannot fully describe my pride when, in just a few minutes, I produced this:
It's made inside an old, shallow biscuit tin. I used the coloured rice that I already had for the sandy beach, then I dyed some more blue for the sea. I sprinkled glitter into the sea, and made some waves around the beach with shredded paper. I added shells, some beaded bracelets, and a few bits of pirate Playmobil from my old collection that Harry hadn't seen before. Then I found a couple of little dolls - we even had a mermaid - and a plastic dolphin. There are some random pom poms in there too for a different texture. It was quite a wrench giving it to Harry to play with.
Can you see that gleam in his eyes? He was so excited, he had never seen anything like this before and he couldn't wait to get started.
He was most fascinated by the treasure chest, and he just wanted to bury it in the sea so that the lady on the beach couldn't see it. There was a little spade in there to help with the digging. He played with this sensory tub for a lot longer than I expected, and he particularly loved it when I joined in and made up little stories with the dollies, which he then copied. In the end it didn't create nearly as much mess as I thought it would, and I loved putting it together. Harry played with it all for quite some time too, and I've popped the lid on to keep it for another day. I suppose it could have come off worse! I'm definitely going to have to come up with some more ideas, preferably ones that involve mixed up dyed rice.