Posts Tagged ‘toddler’
I was recently visiting with my next door neighbor as we watched the kids play. She has a two-year-old daughter and like many mothers of toddlers is on the look-out for activities that will keep her daughter busy. My friend knows I use containers filled with rice or beans to help keep my children busy. We got to talking about how to make this type of activity work for toddlers. The trick is to use sorting objects that are not going to be choking hazards. Frankly, I kind of avoided this activity until my kids’ compulsion to taste everything they touched subsided. It was later than you think.
Also, although this seems odd, I wouldn’t recommend using beans in the container if the activity is for toddlers. Maybe it’s just my toddlers, but beans can get lodged in orifices. Rice is a lot less likely to get stuck somewhere unpleasant. In any case, here’s some sorting objects that might work for your kids.
Good objects to start out with would be the large-sized Legos (like these Ultimate LEGO DUPLO Building Set). These Legos can be sorted by color or by size. This can also be a good way to support learning colors. Obviously, any other large-sized block will work. These Legos were just really popular with Dylan and Anya.
I would also suggest trying some silverware in the rice. Again, it’s big enough to not be a choking hazard. Also, the differences between forks, spoons, and butter knives are apparent enough that sorting will be relatively straightforward for a beginner. As your toddler gets better at sorting you can add in the two different sizes of spoons. My kids got experienced enough with this that by the time they were three, I had them unload the silverware from the dishwasher for me and put it away. I’d pull out all the unsafe utensils, set the silverware basket on the counter, scoot a chair up to the drawer, and let them be mommy’s helper. It was great! They are a lot less enthusiastic about it now, but it was good while it lasted.
Other things that may work depending on your toddler:
- Assortment of large, unshelled tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc.)
- Barrettes or hair bows
- Straws (sort by color or cut up and then sort by length)
- Large pompom balls
- Other small toys like matchbox cars or action figures
Do you have any other suggestions on helping toddlers learn about sorting and practice fine motor skills? What’s working for your kids?
So as I’m contemplating writing some commentary to go along with this video, it kind of seems that the movie has said it all. I’m thinking that anything I put here is likely to be really redundant or really stupid. I suppose I could have a really great night and it could be redundant and stupid. So, watch the video and tell me if you think of something I missed. And do you like these commentary things after the video? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
When Dylan was a toddler, I hated the late afternoon. By 4:00 p.m., my delightful, happy, playful son turned into a raging monster of frustration and dissatisfaction. Nothing made him happy, and that is not hyperbole. I wanted to crawl under a bed and sing “I caaaan’t heeeaaaar yoouu!” at the top of my lungs. Not a pretty time. But, I did learn how to handle it in ways that didn’t involve duct tape. At least, most of the time.
Knowing what skills toddlers are developing helped me figure out witching hour interventions that had a prayer of success. Here’s some development guidelines for kids 15 to 36 months old. This is a fairly good list. The most useful part is the information about what kids are physically capable of in terms of gross motor and fine motor skills. It helped me think of physical and sensory activities to do with them.
One game that my son loved between about 18 and 24 months was Fill It Up, Dump It Out. He would spend 20-30 minutes happily putting every action figure sized toy he could find into a juice pitcher and then dump it out. The narrow mouth made the dumping part tricky when a toy would get stuck. It was great fun watching him figure out how to get out the things that fit on the way in.
Both my kids loved blowing bubbles outside. By that I really mean they loved stomping and catching and watching the bubbles that I blew. They also loved trying to blow bubbles, but they made slobbery messes until they were about four. One thing that made this successful was not blowing bubbles every single day. Blowing bubbles was kind of a treat, and they responded to that excitement. I heartily recommend making your own bubble solution, since kids are going to spill a fair amount of it. Also, investing in spill-proof bubble containers is worth it. You can usually find these at Target or Wal-Mart. Just so you know, spill-proof bubble containers are only spill-proof until your child learns to unscrew the top and open them. They are not dump-proof, and you’ll still be making your own bubble solution.
Another great way to distract kids is with finger plays and songs. We all know these and if you don’t this is a great collection of rhymes and songs. Do the actions with your child, sing in silly voices, and be as animated as you can stand at 4:30 in the afternoon. You’ll find your child’s fascination with repetition kicks in and you’ll have “Five Little Monkeys” stuck in your head for about 3 weeks solid. But, you’ll make it through the witching hour.
When all else fails, defy the guilt trip, turn on Barney or Elmo or (heaven forbid!) Teletubbies and hand your kid a bag of goldfish crackers and a sippy cup. It doesn’t involve duct tape.
What’s your duct-tape-free afternoon survival strategy? Please tell me I’m not the only mom who had to dance to The Witch Doctor with a 2 year old for 45 minutes solid.