Yellow Dal, Red Berries

IMG_20160812_175837_1471015540180As the rains came to Gurgaon, I had to brave up to a new challenge – how to keep my 10 month old energetic baby engaged indoors. Considering that that she was just learning to walk and wanted to explore the whole house, keeping her busy and entertained at one spot for even 10-15 minutes was a task. Icame up with several activities to “learn through play,”one of which involved playing with grains and pulses.
I put enough of uncooked dry dal into the old big ice cream bucket, and for several minutes she just enjoyed putting her hands inside it and pulling out more and more of these wonderful, small, hard and round dal pieces. This “substance” was not familiar with her, so she took her time exploring single grains, pinching them with her little wet fingers and watching closely how they stick to them, and of course bringing into her mouth to taste.
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I showed her how to pour the dal into small buckets and pour it back to the big one.  She tried herself, and oops – most of it ended on the floor all around her. She continued playing and throwing it around just like sand on the beach. Then I tried to add different colours to the game, and hide several red dry cranberries inside the bucket with dal. She took a lot of interest in searching for soft red berries, so different from dry yellow grains. And once she discovered them, she got a sweet bonus –  the berries were pleasant to eat.
The simulation of receptors on her fingers was great for development of fine motor skills along with sorting and searching for small things. I also pointed and named the colours (yellow and red), and qualities of the grains (soft and hard) to help her develop speech. And boy did we have fun throwing this dal around! We will definitely try this game again, and this time around I am planning to have more interesting things hidden in the dal bucket to make it an even more joyful experience.

 – Katerina Folkman,mother of a 10 month old daughter

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