Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Infant & Toddler Fun: Balls, Bells, a Basket, and a Box

This fall has brought with it major changes to the composition of our childcare home. This summer- we were quite busy with a number of school-aged children. When they went back to school - we enrolled a couple of new families and welcomed back some of our younger children who had taken the summer off.  

All of our infants have also grown and reached the stage in development where they have become mobile and are ready for more exploration! We are all born ready to learn and explore!

Here is a simple create I made to give the children HOURS of exploration fun!

I took a cardboard box (this one had holes in it already, but you could put holes in any box)

and a plastic basket

and I taped them together to make a ramp. 

The box is closed at the top of the ramp, but I opened it and taped the sides at the bottom. 

The children have spent HOURS exploring this contraption.

I filled the white basket with ball pit balls 

and large jingle bells.

It was difficult to time the photos just right- as they were very busy putting the balls through the holes and down the ramp. After using the ramp on the floor for quite some time and having the balls and bells roll all over the place, I opted to add a second basket to the end to catch things as they came through. (The green basket is about 2" shorter than the white one, so there is still a decent slope to the ramp).

With so many young children who are in the process of learning how to talk, it was the perfect opportunity for me to observe and narrate.  
"The red ball fell through the box, it went under the ramp. Oh look, D found it!" 

"H found an oven mitt, I wonder if that will fit into the hole. Look! H is pushing the mitt through the hole. She has a red ball in her other hand, I bet she will put that through next."

"The bell is rolling down the ramp. I can hear it. Here it comes- rolling out of the bottom!"

We spent so much time testing the ramp, racing balls and bells. 

Watching, listening, and observing.
We talked about colors.
We talked about prepositions.
We used our motor skills.
We worked on visual tracking.
We worked on sharing spaces.
We played until we were done, and came back when we were ready for more.

All while we were JUST PLAYING.

Have you ever tried to make a fun contraption for the children to explore? I'd love to hear about it!

2 comments: said...

What fun!

Unknown said...

Very nice idea! Have a look also on how we turned a cardboard box into a mysterious tunnel by using some stockings:

My friend died

 I learned a hell of a lot from Dan Hodgins.  He was mentor, a friend, and a "bone shaker" for many of us in the field of Early Ch...