It's been hot here lately…and we haven't even hit summer yet! I'm not really a summer person…I prefer to be able to snuggle up and eat lovely comfort food…but as I can't do that year round (and eventually have to get back into shorts) i try to get outside with the toddler twosome for some outside play early in the day pretty much every day!
I love water play activities for keeping toddlers busy outside…lets me get into the vegetable patch after we have had some fun together…they always find a way to extend the activity and have no further need for my input!!
Over the weekend we got outside with some tongs, big bowls and our trusty foam blocks and got into some fine motor fun!
Starting outside with an activity is a good tactic as she immediately feels comfortable that she can move around if she wants to…that may sound indulgent to some parents and teachers perhaps but it is a stepping stone to working within Ruby's current limits and extending her skills to the next stage. I am learning that having a child with SPD can be a frustratingly slow process!
This activity was very basic but lots of fun for both girls….i always ensure that the activity chosen for Ruby will also be of benefit and fun for her twin too!
I filled 2 large bowls with water…easier for me to have a bowl for each of the toddler twosome but you could just as easily do this in the bath, a water table or play pool. I added a little edicol dye to colour and then some tongs and our FOAM BLOCK SHAPES ….
I gave the girls a selection of different sized tongs to use…the idea being that they would use them to pick up the foam blocks floating in the water. This does take a little practice for a toddler…they need to first understand how the tongs work, then how much pressure to apply to squeeze them together, then how to pick up items from the water. I did join in and model how to use them a few times but they were happy just to work on their own problem solving!
Some of the tongs were small, some big, some harder to squeeze, some easier. I pick them up from the op shops whenever I see them as they are such wonderful tools for fine motor activities!
I also added a few items from the kitchen drawer that were heavy enough to sink to the bottom…the girls enjoyed finding them and trying to pick them up with the tongs…was a little more difficult but sure kept them busy. They just picked them up with their hands if they got too frustrated.
Ruby kept watching what Tara was doing and tried to copy even though she found it much harder than her sister….she did wander off quite a few times but kept coming back to give it another try…each time practising her fine motor skills and patience just a little bit more.
She also liked putting the blocks in and out of the water and enjoyed naming the shapes and their colour so another learning opportunity just through play! Tara seemed to be relishing the joy of wielding tongs left, right and centre!!
As the girls interest in the activity began to wane I decided to extend the fun and brought out our teacups and silver pouring jugs…this is one of Ruby's favourite activities and also good for eye hand coordination and of course fine motor skills!
Tara then decided she would pour some of her red water into the paddling pool which had clear water…this turned into a wonderful activity for talking about colour and mixing. A little bit of red….
Amazing how the simple things can keep them so busy for so long…we stayed outside under our shady tree all morning…and they had a fantastic day time nap!
A Little About Me
Jodie Clarke is an early childhood professional supporting educators who want and need to stay passionate about the work they do! She has 30 years hands-on experience in the early childhood and human services sectors across many different roles.
Jodie is mum to 3 in Australia and has already helped thousands of educators with their work through her popular blog posts, activity ideas, online training and e-books.