A few weeks back I was taking part in the wonderful Twitter chat #ParentIdeaSwap that is run by best bloggy buddies Becky and Leandra and the theme was “10 minute crafts and ideas”. Loads of exciting and quick ideas came up, from toilet roll and straws shakers and pipe cleaner crowns, to 6 things you can cook with toddlers in under ten minutes.
It got me thinking about what sort of every day supplies I had at home, and then I remembered the huge collection of empty cereal boxes I have. Luke (like any toddler?) is a huge cereal fan and so the boxes are piling up. I had a little ponder, a few suggestions were sent my way, and I decided to go down the fine motor skill path – I have done a series of fine motor skill activities before, but instead of cardboard boxes, we talked about how pom poms can aid your toddler’s fine motor skills.
I am a big fan of any activity or game that is the teeny tiniest bit associated with using fine motor skills, and here’s why:
It’s so important to engage toddlers in fine motor skill based hands-on play.
Not only is it great fun, but it’s essential to toddler’s development. At toddler age, children play with objects for purposes, rather than just having a gander like you and I. They’re picking things up to see if they’re heavy or light, if they’re easy to hold or if they require some thought to move. Sensory play and messy play are great ways of working on fine motor skills with toddlers, as they learn whether things can be pulled apart and put back together again (play dough is great, click here to see how to make your own and a few other benefits of using play dough), or if something is slippery when they pick it up – will it fall through their fingers or will it stay there? (Cornflour gloop is great for this!)
Basically, as well as setting toddlers up for pre-school activities (such as writing and using scissors) it also sets them up for life. They’re learning how the world works.
And it’s so easy to help them get to grips with it!
I got sent so many wonderful ideas about activities to do in under ten minutes with toddlers and cardboard boxes and they’re all great.
I had a little think as I wanted something that was really quick to set up and I thought we might as well try this.
It’s dead simple, easy and fun and will help build up the little finger muscles and thus improve your toddler (or baby/older child’s) fine motor skills and there’s really not a lot to it!
Get your cereal box and make a few holes on one side.
I used a pair of scissors – using one of the blades, puncture a hole and then put both in a twist to make the hole bigger. You can probably think of something much better to use that will leave the holes a lot tidier, but I had an impatient toddler to entertain.
Next, grab some straws (the prettier the colours, the better) and cut them into thirds.
We grabbed around four or five straws (that were sold in a huge pack for 99p) and that left us with loads of mini straws to play with. More than enough for our play session.
My toddler loved this game, it’s simple: put the straws through the holes in the cereal box.
Once all the straws are in the holes, have a little shake. Talk about the sound, rattle it so it’s really loud, then shake it just a little so it’s quiet. Then, open the cereal box where you would usually, and shake all the straws out.
You can go on to name the colours and count the straws as you put them through the holes, you can also, if you’re more adventurous that me, decorate the box before hand. You can also sort the straws into colours once they’ve been emptied.
So that’s my super easy, really quick activity that’s great for toddlers, babies and older children to help with their fine motor skills, as well as setting them up for life. What are you favourite crafts to do with empty cereal boxes? What is your favourite fine motor skill activity to do with the kidos? Let me know in the comments, I love all the ideas people send me!