Activity 1: Build a Tower

I used:

  • Tray
  • Buttons
  • Piece of card with numbers 1-12 written

Build a Tower

I presented this to J and as he’s fairly used to working with the value of number, he said, ‘how can I put the buttons on the numbers Mummy?’  I pointed to the title and read ‘Build a Tower’ and J knew from there what to do.   J cannot read yet but presenting J with print in a variety of contexts means he now says, ‘what does that say Mummy?’  This shows he understands that print conveys meaning.

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J built the towers on the numbers and worked hard to make them balance.

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J decided he needed to place the buttons in front of him to choose appropriate sizes! Through discovery, he found out that he needed the size to get smaller as he went up! What an amazing discovery for a three year old!

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Activity 2: Fine Motor Art

I used:

  • Play dough
  • Wooden sticks
  • Beads

Fine Motor Art

To set up this activity, I put little mounds of play dough on a tray and inserted a wooden stick.  This held the sticks up and allowed J to thread his beads as he wished!

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This is quite frankly, BRILLIANT for fine motor development!! That is all I need to say on that matter!! Smile

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It was very much up to J how he threaded his beads! He could’ve matched the colours to the sticks, (he didn’t) he could’ve made patterns (he didn’t- I did the red/yellow pattern above!), he could’ve randomly put beads on (he did!) Then J got more play dough and stuck more wooden sticks in it! He put beads on, stuck googly eyes on and made an ‘alien!’  He is my perfect little man!

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Just look at him admiring his own work! Love him.

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Here’s the finished article!

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Activity 3: Number Beading

I used:

  • Large lolly stick with numbers written on
  • Beads
  • Tray

Number Beading

As I’d presented the lolly sticks in the wrong order (on purpose)! J said, ‘Oh Mummy, they’re all mixed up!!’

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J began by putting the numbers in the correct order.

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Then he worked on putting the corresponding number of beads on each lolly stick…

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Not only was this great for understanding the value of number but also small and tiny bits mean… yes you guessed it… fine motor development! Yes, I’m addicted!!

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Activity 4: Play dough Print

I used:

  • Wooden letters in J’s name
  • Play dough
  • Rolling pin
  • Play dough mat

Playdough Print

As the letters in J’s name were mixed up, he started off by putting them in the correct order! He says each letter phonetically, so rather than ‘jay’ he says ‘j’ and ‘o’ not ‘oh!’

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I had preciously rolled out the play dough so that it was long enough to accommodate J’s name!  He then placed the letters on the play dough in the correct order.

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J then used his motor skills to press the letters down into the play dough to make an imprint.

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The GORGEOUS thing about this activity is that the imprint is so nice and smooth and practically forces/tempts the child to run their finger along the imprint, therefore rehearsing the formation of the letter!

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The children may not start in the correct place to form the letter but this is the perfect opportunity for you to model it and them to repeat what you did!

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After, it is only fair to let them have a good free play with the play dough, rolling pin and letters!

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Activity 5: Shape Art

I used:

  • Card with shapes drawn and labelled
  • Wooden sticks
  • Tray

Shape Art

I literally set this activity up and left it on the table! It didn’t take long for J to notice it and he began by going over the triangle with the sticks.

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J is very good with his shape recognition and quickly opted to make his own shape and made a square!  He then went on to extend this to make a rectangle!

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After much concentration and talk about shape, J created an ‘invention.’  He used various shapes and pointed out where they were! Essentially though, he went on to create a picture using shapes as the basis!

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Activity 6: Threading Basket

I used:

  • Basket
  • Lolly sticks
  • Wooden sticks
  • Variety of different coloured and size beads
  • Tweezers

Threading Basket

J was engrossed in threading the beads on the sticks and made a variety of flavour lollies! He did this for around 30 mins developing his motor skills and pretending to lick the lollies!

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Suddenly, he said, ‘look they match!’  The game changed…

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… he found matching pairs…Threading Basket.jpg6

and then went on to split them into small and big!  Again, this is the beauty of open-ended play! Who knows what is going to happen?  Such an inexpensive ‘toy’ and used over and over again in so many different ways… who needs to spend a fortune of toys?

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