Life in the Pacific Northwest is wet. This winter has also been cold and has kept my son, who loves the outdoors, inside. Creativity is spurred on by limits is it not? While my son longed for his near frozen sandbox in order to play with his new favorite mini tractor set, I could not fathom bringing sand inside. Instead I searched my pantry and found a natural alternative for him to enjoy. Dried beans and peas are nearly the most exciting thing since Christmas!

All you need for endless winter tractor play is an empty cardboard box, dried beans of varying size and the key to the whole tractor playground experience – dried split green peas! They load well, scoop well, and dump with just the right amount of noise to ensure the reading of at least one chapter of my favorite book.

Happy winter!