This week’s free activities for toddlers are all to do with fine motor skills. They’re great for distracting Ollie from all the dangerous things he wants to play with, keeping him entertained, developing concentration and giving him a bit of a challenge. He’s loved them all which is great as we all know how hard it can be to entertain a toddler for free!
Ollie is very into sorting, organising and posting things at the minute. I’ve lost count of the times he’s emptied the washing basket only to put the clothes back in, or the weird and wonderful items I’ve found stuffed in my handbag or boots.
So I came up with some posting and threading activities to keep him entertained. I started off with a few empty tins and some plastic discs – yes they are poker chips, but they’re the perfect size and pretty sturdy! Why waste money when you can use what you’ve already got!
I like to give Ollie free reign to investigate and discover in any activities we do, so I just put the lot on the floor and let him do his thing. Immediately he started picking the discs up and putting them in the tins. As soon as he heard the noise they made he decided to put the lid on and shake the tins up. He then liked transferring them from one tin to another. It entertained him for a good half an hour but I could see it wasn’t interesting enough to keep his attention for long.
I thought I’d give him a bit more of a challenge so I got a cardboard box and cut a little slot in it. He didn’t get it right away but after I showed him how to post the discs, he loved it! He stopped after posting each one to clap for himself. I cut the slot to just the right size for the discs so he had to really work to make sure he had them at the right angle. *See main photo above*
I’m also trying to introduce Ollie to colours. It’s probably a bit too early as he’s only 15 months old, but I thought I’d give it a go! I had red, green and blue discs so I got matching plates a few discs on each one. I then showed Ollie where each one went. He managed to place a few correctly but then lost interest and started mixing them all up. I think this would be a great activity for children a little older. You can easily introduce the ideas of sorting and colours at the same time. Plus you can use any coloured items that you have to hand so it doesn’t have to cost you anything!
To entertain Ollie and develop his concentration and fine motor skills further we tried a few more activities:
PIPE CLEANERS AND A BOTTLE
This is a great threading activity for toddlers as it requires concentration, problem solving skills and fine motor skills. Just fill an empty plastic bottles with pipe cleaners and let them pull them out and thread them back in. You could adapt this for different stages by using bottles with wider or narrower openings.
COLANDER AND STRAWS OR PIPE CLEANERS
Another great activity for developing fine motor skills. I first used pipe cleaners, which I threaded into the holes of the colander and let Ollie pull them out and try to thread them back in. He found it a bit too difficult at 15 months, so I used plastic straws as they’re a bit sturdier and don’t require as much hand control.
He looked so proud of himself after threading each one into the holes! I’ve never seen him sit still doing the same activity for so long, so we will definitely be doing this again!
A couple of months later and his fine motor skills have improved so much he has moved on to the pipe cleaners. He can now thread them in by himself.
FIRST BLOCKS TOY
Because Ollie seemed so interested in each of the above activities, I’ve been on the lookout for a sorting and posting toy. I found this little bargain in a charity shop for only £2!!!
It’s the perfect toy for him as it gives him the chance to sort shapes and post them through the correct slots. At the minute he has to be shown which hole each shape goes into. I think as he gets older this toy will grow with him. He’ll learn to recognise the shapes and learn their names, and learn the colours to so it was a pretty good find!
If you’re looking for activity inspiration, check out Mess Free Painting or have fun in the kitchen!