Purely by accident
It all happened after I had spilled lemonade over my old-fashioned cell phone and a friend suggested I put the phone in a bowl of (uncooked) rice, to get the moisture out. So I kept the bowl of inedible rice in the cupboard for the next few months, hoping I may find some other use for it eventually. Until one day my daughter suggested we made sensory balloon bugs. The bugs are one of my favourite toddler toys, because they are cheap and easy to make and engage most senses in the play (basically, everything except the taste).
Basically, you need a few balloons, a permanent marker or two, and some grains. Any grain would do (we put rice in some and beans in other balloons) and the more diverse the grains, the greater the fun. Also, an old syringe might come in handy — you can cut off its tip and use the tube to fill balloons with grains. Then you blow the balloons a little bit, to give them shape, tie them and apply the markers to turn them into cute little bugs. Or just let your imagination run wild and draw whatever you want on them.
Hm, did I say a toddler toy?
My school kids still love making the bugs and last weekend they let their imagination run wild, turning them into cartoon characters and portraying family members. After hour and a half of filling, spilling and playing with different markers, I decided to tie the balloons together and make it our first DIY Xmas decoration. We are still not sure where to hang them, though they look really good on trees in our local park.
So, try them out and email us some photos of your own creations!