This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fun With Small Spaces-Cotton Balls

I got the idea for this activity at the Tot School blog. This is an ideal activity for a child ages 10-24 months. It could even be made more difficult by asking your child to sort the puff balls by color in 2 separate containers or asking him/her to count the balls as they are pushed in the container.

-cotton balls or puff balls (can be found at Target or a local craft store)
-clean plastic container with lid (I used a yogurt container)

-Cut very small holes in the lid of the plastic container. Be sure they are small enough that it takes a little push to put the cotton ball through but not so tight that it will be impossible. Feel free to make slightly larger holes for younger toddlers.


-Set out plastic container with lid on it and a handful of cotton balls.
-Demonstrate how to push the cotton balls through the small holes on the top. Let your child join in when he/she wants to.
-Sit back a bit and allow your child to investigate it on his/her own. If he/she loses interest join in again so it's more fun as a group activity.

Here is my son playing with this activity. He absolutely loved it because he is always looking at how things work. Any child who seems to learn well through sensory activities will enjoy this as well. After playing with it the proper way we dumped all the cotton balls out again but he decided dumping the balls out was just as much fun as putting them in. He had a great time dumping them out and putting them back in on his own :)


Jenny said...

Thank you so much for this website. I have 13 month old and I have been searching and trying to get creative as to what to do in our free time that is educational and beneficial to her. I look forward to all the ideas. Keep them coming! I can't wait to start this fun little game with her tomorrow! Thank you again!

fickchantellelee said...

Yes Thank you for this blog> I have a 13month old and have not strated with any educational learning how can I start and what do you suggest, if you don't mind me asking... C-lee

Penny said...

This is a great idea!

I have a similar activity which was suggested by an Occupational Therapist for fine motor skills. We use a combination of buttons and sea shells to poke through a hole cut into a container lid. My toddler has enjoyed doing this activity since about 18months and now (3yo) frequently requests time to "do buttons" by herself.

I will definitely try the cotton balls for variety!

Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias said...

C-lee, I'd suggest just setting aside a short period of time every day (after lunch for example) and do 3 activities. Sometimes at this age they only keep interest for 5 minutes, other times they'll stay with one activity for 15-20 minutes but either way I'd only do it as long as the child is interested and once they look bored, throw something, etc. wait 1 minute and then switch to another activity. I usually aim for 2 table activities and 1 floor activity each day so we aren't passively sitting still for too long. As for what activities, focus on fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and math-related thinking like learning colors, shapes, and sorting things. Of course you should also read to your child absolutely every day, preferably following the text with your finger. For reading instruction, teach nursery rhymes and finger play songs. These seem like just fun and games but really provide a crucial background experience in rhyming words which leads to better reading fluency later.

Penny, it is great to know that this kind of activity is recommended by occupational therapists as well! I've seen smart kids struggle with writing in kindergarten because they didn't have the fine motor skills and so I am definitely keeping that a focus for my son.

Kristi said...

Thank you for this blog! I'm such a fan of Val's blog and our groups on bbc. It's so hard to find activities for one year olds. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting this all together!

fickchantellelee said...

Thank you so much... :)

The Burkes said...

Ok...so what I did was a little "ghetto-fabulous" but before I went all out with this activity I wanted to see if my 15 month old would be interested...so here's what I did as a "tester": I took our Styrofoam Chik-Fil-A cup, cut out the hole from the lid top (where the straw goes in) and gave her some cotton balls...needless to say she LOVED the activity and we will be taking the time to make a container that will last! :o)

Plowmanators said...

lol...ghetto fabulous

Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias said...

Haha, hey whatever works! As you can see, I used an old yogurt containter, not exactly a high tech toy :)

Sabrina said...

Thank you all so much for this blog - love it!!

I tried this activity today with my 11 month old and we were semi-successful. I just did one whole and used cotton balls. It took a while, but she finally started to get the hang of it. I plan on pulling this activity back out from time to time.

Thanks again!


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