Months ago a friend of mine set up a little sandbox table in her kitchen - and everyday when she starts dinner she lifts the lid to the sandbox. Instantly her little ones are engaged and she prepares dinner in peace and happiness. I liked this idea but I must confess - the thoughts of the gritty clean up deterred me from trying it. I need the magic that this activity provided - something calm for the little ones to do while I prepare dinner but also something that would keep me calm too. I don't mind messy activities but not this late in the day and not when I am making my own mess preparing dinner. Then today I had a light-bulb moment and this is what I came up with - rice. A very vacuum friendly medium and all natural. I picked up a huge bag at the store for a little over six bucks. I used only a quarter of the bag when I filled the box and the rest can be used for refills when spills occur. I included scoops, baby food jars, mini baskets and some wooden spoons. The rice feels so good running through my bare hands - I can't wait for Ella and Vivian to discover it and who knows maybe my family will enjoy an amazing dinner tomorrow night. How do you keep your little ones engaged while preparing dinner?