As stated last week, not only have I had lots or requests for mixed age activities but I too need to use them more and more to keep my inquisitive little cherubs busy!  Exploration, discovery and investigation are very important types of play for developing independent, problem solvers and learners.

This activity couldn’t be simpler to set up and kept my two entertained and engrossed for AGES!

I simply used:

  • a washing up bowl
  • lunchbox
  • sponges
  • water
  • two cups
  • towel

Mixed Age investigation 20

I bought four sponges for 99p and cut up the boring ones into smaller pieces for more to play with.  I left the duck shaped sponge as a duck as I knew it would prove popular with J.  I placed the washing up bowl and lunchbox (with water in) on a towel as an aid to mop up spillages and put the sponges inside them too.

Mixed Age investigation 21

It may sound silly but I don’t think I will ever get bored of seeing my two babies playing together.  It is so lovely especially when G observes what J is doing and attempts to copy and learn from him! So cute!

Mixed Age investigation 17

I usually begin with G with these mixed age posts, so I’ll change it around and begin with…

What J did…

Of course he began with the obvious exploration of the sponges.  ‘I’m absorbing as much water as I can Mummy,’ and then squeezing the sponge to make the water pour out.  The squeezing and twisting action J used to squeeze the water out meant J had a hand workout; improving fine motor skills and dexterity.

Mixed Age investigation 14

J enjoyed pouring the water from different heights; either from a sitting, kneeling or standing position and he commented on the speed it poured out.

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J also enjoyed stuffing all of the sponges into the cup and watching them spring out when he let go.  All this investigation through play is so valuable, especially for language development as they explain and describe what they are seeing and doing.

Mixed Age investigation 6

J’s main investigation involved absorbing the water with different size sponges and seeing which one let out the water fastest; which one looked the most like rain and which one had the most water in it! All these were J’s ideas and showed how he wasn’t ‘just playing’ but really thinking about what he was doing and why he was doing it, deciding what he was going to find out and how! The beginning of science experimentation in all it’s glory!

Mixed Age investigation

After his investigation, J went onto one of his favourite activities –  transferring from one container to another.  He began by using the sponge to fill the cups…

Mixed Age investigation 7

… and then moved on to using a spoon (after he added some bubbles to the mix too of course!!)

Mixed Age investigation 3

J completed his play by making me coffees with his spoon, cup and water.  So he went from exploration to investigation to role play in one sitting.  He enjoyed it so much and he would have continued for longer had dinner not been ready! A hit all round!

Mixed Age investigation 2

What G did…

The excitement G had to get involved with this activity was evident from the first touch…

Mixed Age investigation 16

The repetition of dip hand in…

Mixed Age investigation 15

… and then examine hand went on for at least five minutes and was accompanied with lots of babbling, laughing and gasps! It was gorgeous!

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G prodded the sponges and finally picked one up, not to squeeze or chew on though as I had expected but to throw across the kitchen.  She speedily got rid of the sponges… obviously not to her taste today and carried on splashing in the water.

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After a further 5-10 minutes of play, G decided to pick up the lunchbox and pour the water all over herself!!! I just love her expression as she did this!

Mixed Age investigation 10

G happily sat in the water for a while and played with the cup and lunchbox.  I didn’t want her to get too cold though so stripped her off.

Mixed Age investigation 9

I set the activity up again and G crawled around it examining it before deciding to brave another go!! HA! I took her nappy off after this photo as it was too wet after the spillage and she played with the water and sponges for a further 10 minutes or so.  Obviously, no photo’s of this play as I don’t think she’d appreciate it now and indeed later on in life!!! Ha! Such a simple game to set up with your children of all ages and they learn so much from it too.  Let’s create independent thinkers who are not afraid to ask questions and find out the answers themselves!! The perfect kind of learner!! Don’t you think?

Mixed Age investigation 4


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