I love finding ways to play and learn using inexpensive items found around the home. This activity is a great example of that. These pictures were taken a while ago now ~ when R was about 2.5 years old. They show R engaged in one of the very first truly open ended activities that I ever set up for him. I had a bowl of buttons and a bowl of beads sitting on the dining table after I had made our home-made fishing game. R was fascinated with them and began sifting through them, inspecting each one. I set out a few colourful plastic bowls, a measuring spoon and his magnifying glass and let him explore.
He began transferring the buttons and beads from one bowl to another – a great fine-motor skills activity. At first he poured the buttons directly from one bowl to another.
He then experimented with the measuring spoon, scooping up some beads from one bowl and the pouring them from a great height into another bowl.
He was always very careful about keeping the beads separate from the buttons – he was mindful of them being two separate collections that shouldn’t be mixed (a demonstration of classification – an early mathematical exercise).
He was fascinated by the various colours and shapes which presented us with lots of opportunities for language development.
This little activity kept R occupied for almost 30 minutes – pretty fantastic for a 2.5 year old when many activities will only hold their attention for only ten minutes at a time.
Why we loved this activity:
- It was open ended – R was able to use his imagination and explore the materials freely
- Fine motor skills practise – transferring, scooping, pouring
- Early mathematical activity – sorting and classifying
- Language development – we talked about the size, shape and colours of the various beads and buttons
Safety note: Activities using small items, like buttons, may constitute a choking risk for small children and require close adult supervision. R has never been one to put things in his mouth at any age so I knew he would not be likely to try to put these in his mouth and I supervised him fully throughout this play.
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