The older my son gets, the more I would like to engage him in activities that promote visual, fine motor, cognitive and social skill development. But as a matter of fact, being able to dedicate ample of time preparing for activities is not feasible even for a work at home mom like me.
I recently got rid of all the battery operated toys that Gunbir has ( you can read that story here) and that made room for other toys in his toy basket. When we went out to the toy store, we picked straws, ice cream sticks, paints, art sheets, play dough, balloons, kitchen set, and a pack of colourful counting beads and ditched the noisy riffle, barking and hoolahooping dog and the soft toys.
Gunbir and I instantly fell in love with the set of colourful beads. In this post I share with you five simple activities to do with your toddler that do not require much of prep.
(Gunbir is 21 months old)
Separating colours in different bowls:
Counting beads make a great tool to teach colours. Place all the beads in a large container and arrange four (or as many colours of beads you have) empty small containers in a line. Pick a bead from the large container and place it in a small container. Allot a colour to every small container. Keep sorting and let your toddler observe. That’s all I had to do, Gunbir then picked up a bead himself and placed it in the right bowl.
Sorting in different bowls develops a child’s visual skill, encourages him to apply logic and reasoning and helps understanding similarities and differences.
Sorting and piercing
This activity also requires a child to sort coloured beads, but involves piercing and colour matching. Place different coloured play dough on a surface, pierce straws on each of them, and place a large container with different coloured beads in front of your toddler. Demonstrate picking up a coloured bead, matching it with the colour of the play dough and dropping it into the straw pierced on the same coloured dough. It did take Gunbir a while to understand how to do it, but once he got a knack of it, he was good at it.
Sorting lays the foundation of mathematical skills, it helps in understanding groups and sets.
Take a large thread and pierce the beads to make a necklace. The size and thickness of the thread and beads depends on how old your toddler is. I started by teaching him to pierce the beads in a straw. We then replaced the straw with a thick thread. Threading is an excellent activity for toddlers that helps develop the hand – eye co ordination, visual perceptual skill, fine motor skill and social skill. This is a great way of boosting their self esteem as they see their hard work come to life.
Picking beads with a tweezer
Pick up the beads from a container and place it in another using a tweezer, as simple as it gets. You can use large plastic tweezers, or a regular one (make sure the edges are not sharp). This activity develops their fine motor skill like pinching and grasping.
I hope you have as much fun doing these activities as we did.