Some of the most exciting toys a child can have are not toys at all! This first skill development post is a game with clothespins, and my son LOVED IT. He has spent several hours total the last few weeks playing this new game. It has improved his problem solving, he has learned how to maneuver his fingers better, and improved his concentration.
Wooden clothespins (the ones with hinges preferred for future activities)
20 Ounce Soda bottle (I didn’t have one on hand, and treated myself to a Vanilla Coke to get one ;)
Age Range: 10 months to 3 years
Part 1: Set the child on the floor and show him/er the excitement of dropping the pins into the bottle. Watching them fall and hit the bottom combined with the noise of hitting thrilled my son! Scatter pins on the ground within your child’s reach, and keep dropping pins, celebrating them as they land.
If they are less than one and a half, when they inevitably try for themselves, you can hold the bottle for them and help them achieve their goal. My daughter was intimidated when we celebrated too much and it scared her from continuing her activities, my son, on the other hand, LOVES to be praised and clapped for. Praise your child’s accomplishment in a way that matches their need and fill that bottle up with pins.
Turn the bottle full of pins upside down and shake them out. Some will shake out, and sometimes they will be jammed. Use your fingers while holding it upside down to manipulate the the pins out. If your child would enjoy it, count the pins and/or have them gather the ones that fall. If they are 1.5 or so, hand them the bottle and let them problem solve! It is fun!
If your child is too young for part 2, that is okay, just get them out on your own and allow her to put them back in with you for as long as she desires. Help your child feel accomplished and successful but do not put any pressure on them to try harder, or keep trying. This is only a game and they do not have to want to play it :)