20 answers

Sandbox with Rice Instead

I recall having seen somebody on here a while ago talking about a sandbox full of rice instead of sand and now I can't find the post to read on it again... Anyhow, my boys track a bunch of sand into the house so I was thinking of trying out the idea but before I load up on giant bags of rice at Costco, I was hoping to get some input from anyone that has done this and what they think. Does the rice make as big of a mess? Also, for some reason we had a lot of small spiders camping out in our sandbox so I was wondering if the rice will attract birds or bugs. (It's a plastic box with a lid and we keep it on the covered patio.)
Thanks in advance! :o)

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Wow! I was only expecting a couple of responses so there was a lot to read, LOL! I think I'm going to try the pea gravel and make a small bin of rice or beans just for in the house. I had to chuckle a bit when I read all of the worries about exploding birds. I didn't realize that so many people still believe that-- it's untrue! Birds actually eat rice in the wild to fatten up and the dried rice that is used for cooking digests very similarly. :)
Thanks for the help!

Featured Answers

Someone asked about it not being easy to clean up. My daughter has a tub we use only inside with one bag each of uncooked rice, beans and salad macaroni noodles. It doesn't stick on crevices or on clothes like sand. And it vacumns right up. She has had a blast with it. I made it a couple weeks ago after seeing the same post, and it has kept her very entertained. (She is 2.5) I put a tablecloth on the floor and ask her to try to keep it on the tablecloth. Then I just pull up the edges until everything that has been spilled falls to the middle and scoop it back up into the container. It's been great. But like I said, this is for indoor use only.

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Well, I woldn't normally bother to mention it...but after reading all the other's posts, thought I might as well. Have you thought about pea gravel? It is very easy to clean up and off. I got mine at a concrete place...they loaded my truck up for $50!!! (couldn't beat that!) Home depot, Lowe's and all those places sell it in bags as well. Good luck with whatever you chose.

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More Answers

Well, I woldn't normally bother to mention it...but after reading all the other's posts, thought I might as well. Have you thought about pea gravel? It is very easy to clean up and off. I got mine at a concrete place...they loaded my truck up for $50!!! (couldn't beat that!) Home depot, Lowe's and all those places sell it in bags as well. Good luck with whatever you chose.

2 moms found this helpful

Someone asked about it not being easy to clean up. My daughter has a tub we use only inside with one bag each of uncooked rice, beans and salad macaroni noodles. It doesn't stick on crevices or on clothes like sand. And it vacumns right up. She has had a blast with it. I made it a couple weeks ago after seeing the same post, and it has kept her very entertained. (She is 2.5) I put a tablecloth on the floor and ask her to try to keep it on the tablecloth. Then I just pull up the edges until everything that has been spilled falls to the middle and scoop it back up into the container. It's been great. But like I said, this is for indoor use only.

2 moms found this helpful

Rice in a sandbox is for indoor boxes only.Moisture and bugs will be a problem in an outdoor box.

There is a local kids playplace I go to that has this amazing powdery sandbox sand. It dusts off very, very easily, so maybe you can find something like that?

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Rice is FOOD !!! You don't play with food. My Goodness what is the world coming to when kids can't play with real sand anymore . Really?? What are we teaching our kids?? Mom is affraid of a little mess so we get to play with food while other people in this country and around the world go hungry?? Cook and eat the rice. Play with sand.

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we(and many friends of ours) used it in the sand table,my boys had fun. Birds did come visit us often for the rice that was dropped in the grass (we never had any dead ones ). It is easier to clean up before coming to the house since it does not stick the same way.If water gets in it it will grow mold in the heat though. They can not really build with it, but my boys liked just playing with trucks in it.

1 mom found this helpful

I can't imagine that the rice won't be tracked in and hidden in clothes much like the sand. Can you imagine your washer...the gigantor rice cooker? I'm interested to hear about someone's experience who's done this.
S.

1 mom found this helpful

Are you kidding me Jane M?? I think it would be great fun! It would be so cool to have a pool full of rice and swim and attempt to walk in it. Kind of like the old dying lady in Patch Adam's and her pool of noodles! Grated you can't make sand castles, but for your sanity sake I would try the rice for an indoor box. I think once O is older I'll try that!

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I work at a learning center. The play sand we are using is very dusty. I am considering rice but will that attract bugs or Mice!!

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Wow, some silly (and some great) comments in here.

I will only offer my experience at one summer school that had a rice table (basically a stand up sand box table at kids height for playing, but filled with rice instead of sand) The rice is great, and I would much rather do rice than sand - all the concerns I think are silly. However, it CANNOT GET WET. One day we came into the classroom and it stunk!!! really bad!! We figured out it was mold in the rice table and had to throw it all out. Having to replace rice like that if it gets wet, especially if it is in a large outdoor sandbox would get pretty pricey I imagine. Pea gravel sounds good but I have no experience with it. I think making sure it is small enough to fill and pour out of cups and maybe some larger sieve type containers makes it more fun.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree that rice would be used for an indoor box. Wouldn't it get mushy if it got wet? I saw the post that mentioned pea gravel. My son loves playing with the pea gravel and the bottom of his slide more than the sandbox. I actually told my husband a couple of days ago that I am going to remove the sand in his box and put pea gravel in it.

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I have never done it in a sandbox, but over the years, I've used rice in my classroom. So much easier to clean up. As I have always done this inside, I am not sure if it attracts birds or bugs. The kids definately love the rice, and its a great sensory activity as well.

1 mom found this helpful

i've never heard of a rice sandbox but i have given my daughter a big bin full of oatmeal to play with in the kitchen before. if she ate it, it was no big deal.

it won't really work for outside i don't think but it's a thought.

Rice tends to expand and will get mushy if it rains and even a little water gets in it. Also, it may attract bugs as it is a foodsource and outdoor containers cannot be completely sealed, if it's one of those green turtle ones or the like.
In a preschool I worked at years ago we used rice in our indoor sand table. We also used oatmeal at times. Most of the toys worked well as the kids just wanted to fill and dump anyway.

ummm what happens when the rice gets wet??!!
I have seen tire shredded chunks that was green friendly

Ohhh..and they quit throwing rice at weddings because it HURTS to have it thrown at ya! LOL

I think it wouldn't be as fun - you can't really make "rice castles." No point in spending the money if they won't play in it. Also, I think it probably would get wet and then ruined, even in a box with a lid.

We just have the kids strip right before they come in the house when they've been playing in the sandbox. They still track some in, but it's not too bad.

Good luck.

I have used a combination of rice mixed with beans all large bags bought at Costco....but NEVER outisde. Only inside. I placed it inside a small plastic swimming pool. But it is still A LOT of work to keep it inside the pool. Lots of vacumming around that pool, as I recall. Having such an item would attract every bird and would be a huge, sticky, icky mess when it gets damp. Your best bet is still play sand outside and have the kids completely brush off and remove shoes before coming in.

i would google it, but isn't that why they stopped throwing rice at weddings, being bad for birds or something? dunno...hope you find your answer!

Pea gravel is fun and clean but not soft and nice. Absolute top choice as a footing under a playset, but for a little sandbox with a lid...nothing beats sand.

Try moving the sandbox away from the door and having a "shoes off before you come in" policy at the door, we often disrobe the kids completely outside and shake it all out if they've been in the sandbox all day.

You can try dressing them in nylon soccer shorts (no cuffs or pockets to trap sand and bring it in.)

They might have been talking about an indoor area with some small amount of rice. Outside is not going to work. Birds will eat it and die. Bugs will come and have a meal. The rain will turn it into glue. Even with a lid. I've heard of gravel in the sandbox. But I don't think it would be very fun.

My 2.5 year LOVES this. I bought a $10 long storage bin and a 10 lb pound of white rice. We also bought a small bag of black beans. I let him play with some of the rice as soon as we got home from the store while I was dying the rest of the rice 3 different colors. He played for over an hr. The next morning when the dyed rice was dry we added it and he's been playing for over an hour with no signs of stopping. Best indoor play toy yet!!! Clean up is soo easy! Just sweep it up and either add it back or throw it away.
We also bought (on clearance since it's the end of summer) a small beach/sand kit with plastic shovels, bucket and turtle.
Dying the rice really wasn't necessary but we are currently learning colors so it was worth it, plus a pretty easy process.

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