Afternoons with the toddler twosome have been a little...shall we say...'challenging' lately! So i have been trying to incorporate a few quiet fine motor activities to keep them busy and therefore less prone to displaying the 'challenging' behaviour that is such a feature of the 2.5 year old!
I thought i would share 3 of our favourites from the past few weeks......they are easy to set up and pack away and only require items that can usually be found around the house!
The toddler twosome have enjoyed poking straws through colander holes before but they are getting a little bored with that now so i tried something a little different....and was very impressed by how busy it kept them both...especially Ruby who has a very short attention span!
I simply turned the washing basket over after folding the pile of nappies and gave each of the girls a tray with some thick and thin, long and short type sticks, straws and pipe cleaners and they immediately began poking them through the basket holes....
It was a great activity for 2 as they had their own space to explore and problem solve. The sticks proved easier than the straws and pipe cleaners which bent a little when they tried to push them through so they had to move their hands and fingers a little differently.
Getting the objects through the hole was a good exercise in hand-eye coordination as well as spatial awareness and an understanding of 'how things fit'.
There was also lots of fun as they picked up the basket to collect the objects after they emptied their trays.
Tara decided to extend the activity by turning her tray over and using the sticks to do a little drumming!
We used another object from around the house to have some quiet fun...the humble tong...a toddler's best fine motor friend!
I actually picked up a few smaller ones from our local supermarket recently but i know you can buy fancy smaller ones that are easier for toddlers to start with. Personally i like the challenge that these little ones offer, i just had to put in a little more time to show the girls how to use them.
They do exercise the hand muscles a little more and this is what i wanted...especially for Ruby as i really need to work on her fine motor skills.
All we used were some old egg cartons, a bag of pom poms which i use for many things (very cheap at any budget shop), the tongs and also our wooden cubes which we last used with our Sensory Eggshell Playdough activity.
Ruby did get frustrated at first but i perservered by holding her hands and as i pushed the tongs together in the bowl of pom poms and saying 'squeeze' then 'let go'. We started saying it as a sort of mantra and each time i helped her to perform the action. It really only took about 5 mins before she got the hang of it and goodness she was so excited with her new skill!
The girls practised picking up either a pom pom ball or a wooden cube and the skill of holding the tongs together to transfer to the egg cartons...and finally opening their hands again to release their tongs and the treasure inside!
Once they have this skill mastered i will begin adding colours to the egg carton cups so they can match the corresponding cubes or pom poms
You might also like this previous activity using tongs and water outside...
The 3rd activity i want to share is some dropper painting onto paper towels. Very easy to set up...i just used some water colour (edicol powder + water...you could also use a few drops of food colouring in some water), a few old medicine droppers and a tray for each lined with a few layers of absorbent paper towel...
The droppers provided a fine motor challenge as they had to learn how to squeeze the top to suck up some paint and then squeeze to let the paint go. Again it was a matter of holding their hands and showing them the muscle action to use....after a few minutes they understood what they needed to do and i could see the pride in their faces.
By dripping the paint onto the paper towel it soaks in and makes some lovely patterns without making a whole lot of mess...what small amount of paint run off there is is caught by the tray. We did go through quite a bit of paper towel as the girls really enjoyed this activity once they had mastered the skill of the droppers...but it was worth it not to have paint running everywhere!
I very rarely do painting inside due to Ruby needing to constantly move (and therefore spread it from one end of the house to the other!) but this really isn't a messy activity due to the absorbency of the paper towel and to my surprise the challenge of mastering the activity really held her interest and she sat at the activity for quite a while.
They also extended the activity again with no prompting from me! They decided to get some of our laminated felt board farm animals and use the droppers to colour them..they loved exploring the bubbles that formed on the plastic surface.
These 3 fine motor activities were perfect for inside play and they kept the toddler twosome surprisingly busy for such simple activities using simple resources.
For more fine motor ideas you might like to visit these previous posts.....(Just click on the picture)
There is inspiration and materials to be found all around the home to provide fun yet frugal learning activities for toddlers....what can you find this week?
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