Invitation to Scoop and Pour

Scooping and Pouring for Toddlers and Preschoolers

is such a great fine motor and visual perceptual activity for little ones.  Not to mention the neat pinging sound you get when pouring grains of corn onto a metal tray 🙂
Toddlers who are learning to control the spoon during eating, scooping food with a spoon, and using  controlled motions to bring food to their mouth benefit from an activity like scooping corn.  A child with poor muscle control would benefit from different modifications to this activity: different sized scoops/spoons, lighter or heavier objects to scoop (sand, rice, beans, crafting pom poms, cotton balls…)

I had a set of these orange bowls and spoons sitting around and they worked great to scoop, pour, and dump corn.  Baby Girl was occupied with this activity for a looooong time.
Pouring from a pitcher with something like corn is perfect play practice for the real world task of pouring drinks from a water pitcher.  Preschoolers often do this in a preschool setting at snack time, and pouring drinks for their friends is fun!  I’ve seen Big Sister glow with excitement when I have her pour water for us at lunch time here.  You can see her self-confidence growing!
Pouring materials from a pitcher is also a great activity to work on bilateral coordination, visual perceptual skills (stop pouring before you overflow the cup!)
Baby Girl watched Big Sister fill the pitcher with corn and pour corn into the muffin tins.  (We were making “cupcakes” for Daddy!) Baby Girl then had to copy and pour the corn.
Of course.  This girl does EVERYTHING the big kids do!
If you are worried about the mess, lay down a blanket first and do all of the pouring and scooping on the middle of the blanket.  You could also play in a baby pool.  Or, just head outside now that we are having some warmer weather.

Why we love scooping and pouring:

Fine Motor skill development

Visual perceptual skills

Bilateral hand coordination

Self-confidence

Real-world practice

Sensory Play

3 Rainbow Sensory Bins

We’ve been playing with a rainbow theme alllll week around here.  These are three rainbow sensory bins that we have been exploring.

Any time that I pull out the corn bin, everyone gets very excited.  I added ribbons in different colors and some “gold coins” (aka yellow Connect Four game pieces!)

Another little sensory bin that we’ve been playing with is a simple bowl of these Fuse ‘M Beads.

I added a couple of pairs of tweezers and an ice cube tray and let them go at it!
This was a fun fine motor activity, but mostly they just loved running their hands through the beads.
Baby Girl loved exploring these little beads.
((These are really little, so if you play with these…or any little parts…keep an eye on your little ones if they tend to put things in their mouths.  Baby Girl does pretty well and won’t put things like this in her mouth.))

This last sensory bin used the Fuse ‘M Beads again.  The next day, I put the beads and some cotton balls (clouds) into a big ol’ bowl and added a melon baller and kitchen tongs. 
More fine motor skills and sensory play combined into one colorful activity!

We hope you get some good ideas from these sensory bins.  have you done any fun sensory bins recently?
~Colleen

Letter Learning with Bottle Caps

This Letter Learning game was something I made for Big Sister a couple of years ago.  We have played with the letter bottle caps so many times and in a ton of ways.

The cardboard has upper case letters and the bottle caps are used to match the letters. 
I used a sheet of label paper to make the lower case letters. Trace a bunch of circles in the correct size, cut out, write the letters, and stick ’em to the bottle caps.  Easy!
We’ve also played with the bottle caps in play dough, to spell names and words, to label objects with it’s starting letter, and learning which direction the “p”, “b”, and “d” should go. 
They are so great to manipulate and play with in a sensory bin filled with corn, too.
How else can we play with these bottle caps??

Color Matching With Play Dough

This was an easy and fun way to spend an afternoon.  And when Baby Girl woke up from her nap, she loved it too.
I put out six colors of play dough and a little bin of colored beads, paper clips, and other little things.

               Fine Motor Strengthening for kids

They had so much fun matching up the colors.  Baby Girl just loved pushing the little beads and things into the Play Dough. 
I love her little knuckle dimples 🙂
Pushing the little objects into the dough is resistive and an excellent fine motor strengthening exercise for little hands.  They are also working on their tripod grasp when they push the beads into the Dough. 
  Big Sister said we needed to wash all of the little objects after we were done.  We put all of them into a bin of water and everyone had fun swishing them around.   
 Drain them into a colander and you are good to go 🙂

DIY Light Box

 

This DIY Light Box was something I’ve seen around Pinterest and have wanted to try for a while…Once we had our Christmas lights outside, I thought we would definitely be doing this project after we pulled all of the lights back in.  So, after we brought the Christmas lights in from the outside bushes, this was easy to put together for a cold evening’s play!

I put all of the (already bundled-up) strands of Christmas lights
…seriously, this does not get much easier :)…
 
into an under-the-bed storage bin,
connected the strands,
and plugged in!
 

Once you put the top on, it is perfect for tracing pictures!
 

 
This is so great for new (or seasoned) hand-writers.  They are working on pencil control, line awareness, hand-eye coordination…and end up with a super cool horse picture they can be proud of!
 
 
 Big Sister LOOOOVED doing this!  And, I have to say, that she was doing the tracing thing for so long, that we had to turn the lights off because the bin was getting warm. 
 
 
 
 
We went around the house looking for cool things to place on top of the bin.  Magnetic letters looked really neat with the light glowing through…Baby Girl had a lot of fun playing with this.
 
 
What a great learning tool…Shapes:
 
 
Letter Identification, spelling words:
 

 Color and sensory discrimination:
 
 
 
…All in a new and fun manner!  We had a lot of fun with this, but have since put our Christmas lights back up into the attic.  We will be sure to do this one again next year, once the lights come back out again 🙂
 

Colleen

Please: if you do make one of these light boxes, keep an adult eye on it, as the box did warm up…not to burning warmth, but I would worry about the lights becoming over heated.  This is NOT something that kids should play with unsupervised!

Indoor Snow Play

Grasp Strengthening and Learning Colors With SNOW???

Some days, it is just HARD to get the kids dressed up in snowsuits/gloves/hats/boots/scarves…only to bring them back in 10 minutes later because the baby wants to follow the big kids, but can’t pick up her boots to walk through the snow that is up to her mid-calf…so she stands still in the yard until I  pick her up…
Today was one of those days.
We needed an activity for after baby-nap-time and before dinner-making-time and this was just the one!
I had this idea in mind since right after Christmas when we got some snow, and I wanted to dye it using eye droppers.  After looking everywhere around the house, I just can. not. find the eye droppers!  So, on to another idea…
Turkey Baster
Spray Bottle
Scoops and Spoons.


These kids were so beyond excited to see me setting this up.  They helped stir the food coloring into the bowls of water. (Get Dollar Store food coloring for projects like this!  So cheap, and it will last you many, many projects…)  But they could not guess what we were doing with it.  Once I brought the snow in, there were cheers!

 We did some mixing of colors on the snow…What does red and blue make?  We had green in the spray bottle and it was fun to change the stream to get more color on the snow.  They were pretty excited to get brown, of course 🙂
 

Squeezing the turkey baster bulb and the spray bottle nozzle is wonderful for grasp strengthening in hands. 

The strength of the whole had is needed for so many fine motor work in play and school based activities.

This was the extent of the mess…not too bad! They kept the tray on the right pretty clean of color mostly since that was Baby Girl’s side and she was busy eating the snow 🙂

This was a fun indoor play time for everyone!
Colleen