My boys would love to play outside. But it’s messy and cold. We needed a new indoor activity one morning, so I got out some dry rice and let them dig in it, pour it, and put it through funnels.
If you pour lots of rice into the bin, you can hide small things in it (like little beads or gems) and your kids can sift the rice off to find the objects. Kind of like panning for gold. I didn't do this because the littlest guy still puts things in his mouth.
I recommend putting a dark colored towel on the floor to aid in the clean up process. The grains of rice will still get everywhere.
But that’s why we have a dust buster. What do you let your kids do when it is too cold and messy to play outside?