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!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stringing Sponges

In one of my trips through the dollar store, in search of cheap, light weight “toys” to keep my toddler busy on planes, I came up with this version of stringing beads.

I bought a couple packages of sponge curlers (the kind some of us slept in when we were little).  They came in black and pink in our dollar store.  I took them home and sliced some in thirds, some in half, and kept others the full length.  I keep them in a small wipee box with some pipe cleaners.  The sponges are perfect to string on the pipe cleaners.  I think it’s a little easier for them use the pipe cleaners than regular string, making this activity possible at a younger age.  You could also use thin straws.  We also make jewelry with them or link them together to create a chain (thought J needs a lot of help with that).  **Since this original post, I came across a larger color selection of the sponges which allowed him to play a matching game too (matching them to the colored pipe cleaners)**

This makes a good plane/travel activity because it keeps them occupied for awhile, it reuses the same materials from other plane activities (so you have to pack less), and it’s lightweight.  The disadvantage is that the sponges can be decidedly fun to throw around on the plane.  J just learned that was not an option.  But in the meantime, at least they don’t hurt if they hit you and they’re so cheap that it’s not terrible if some are lost.  This worked well for J at 23 months; our first experience with this plane activity (at 14 months) didn’t go as well.

Of course you can also use these at home!

Age attempted:  14 months (too young for on the plane), better by 18 months and good at it by 23 months

Teachable Moments:  We’ve worked on the meaning of push and pull with this.  Fine motor skills get a lot of practice.  You can make patterns with the different colors, match colors, practice counting by assigning a different number of sponge beads for each pipe cleaner, etc.


The Activity Mom said...

Very clever idea! =) Love it! Just shared it on fb and twitter.

Digital Scrapbooking Made Easy said...

Great idea! Thank you!

kate said...

Wow, what a simple and wonderful idea. I guess I'll be heading off to the dollar store tomorrow to pick up some curlers. :)

Kelle said...

I did this with large pasta with holes in the middle and with toilet paper rolls cut up but my boy never has really enjoyed it. He doesn't like lacing either. He can do it, just doesn't like to do it long at all.

Becca said...

Kelle- J's has always been really interested in sorting. He just has this NEED to organize. So I've just used that to my advantage when it comes to lacing. I pull out string (or pipe cleaners) that match the different sponge colors/buttons and he's very content sorting them all, forgetting that he's also lacing too.
btw, I tried the pasta but he just kept breaking it into pieces. Maybe I bought cheap pasta? It was pretty fun for him though! Not so fun for mom.


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