Today’s guided play activity was pouring. This game is great for babies 9 months to toddler/preschool age because it helps kids practice some fine motor skills that are important for development. And babies/toddlers like to put things in, take them out, and make noise!
We used coins and two Gerber graduates sippy cups with handles. The coins worked out really well because they made lots of noise when being poured from cup to cup and clinking against each other. Joel loves noise – he slams the cupboard doors, bangs on things, and screams just to hear the noises those things make.
He practiced pouring from one object to another and putting the coins in the cup. I would say “In” and “Out” as he put them in and poured them out to help him learn those words. When he was putting the coins in the cup I talked to him about cleaning up so he’ll learn how to help put things away.
Accurate pouring is a skill that takes time to acquire, and Joel could really only do it with help. We practiced together and then I watched what he would do with the objects on his own. Once I saw what he wanted to do with the coins I was able to adapt our guided play to match his developmental stage. As we practice pouring he’ll get better and will be able to do it all on his own.
We used coins this time, which I really liked because an older child could move on from pouring to sorting the coins into piles of similar sizes or colors. When using coins especially, make sure you wash baby’s hands afterwards since money is so dirty.
You could also use marbles, raw beans, popcorn kernels, cereal, keys, or small toys like legos, depending on the age of your child. Whatever you use, triple check the floor when you’re finished to make sure you picked them all up because most of these small objects will be a choking hazard.
Noticing when your child is done with the activity is important because guided play time should be fun. As soon as it’s not fun anymore, stop. I knew Joel was finished with our game when he started putting the coins in his mouth, so watch for these kinds of signs to know when to move on to another activity.
[To review, this pouring activity can provide practice for pouring, learning about in and out, and cleaning up.]