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Keeping little hands busy: Activities for toddlers and preschoolers

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

All these activities I am going to be talking about can be customised to your child's interest, ability, age (please be careful with small parts such as buttons for children under 3) what toys you have and materials you have in your home. I have been doing these activities with children for nearly 15 years while I was working as a pre-school teacher, a child support worker and with my own boys.


Toddlers love the repetitive nature of posting and they get a huge sense of satisfaction out of these activities. You can use empty milk cartons, cereal boxes, muffin boxes, butter container really any recycling items made from cardboard and plastic and cut a slit in it like a letter box or on opening big enough for the item to fit in. Then all you need is something they can post into it, pasta, lego, pieces of paper, buttons, pompoms, lollypop sticks, cards, and small toys that will fit into the hole you create. The learning objective is practicing their visual spatial awareness and hand eye coordination.

Spooning and transferring:

These types of activities indirectly help develop your child's hand eye coordination, concentration and encourages self discipline, You can use a variety of utensils, recycling materials, bowls, spoons etc. along with things for them to spoon or transfer, rice, pasta, cereal, oats, any dry foods and even sand and water. There is lots of different ways you can encourage this type of play by having a sand pit with utensils or bowls in it or even a basin of water with different kitchen utensils and pots.

Rescue activities:

Again you can adapt these activities by using what's available in your home. Great for holding their attention, problem solving, vocabulary and hand eye coordination. How to set these activities up? Find a puzzle, cars, animals, balls anything your toddler is interested in at moment then by using tin foil, masking tape, paper, pipe cleaner, ribbon, kitchen roll, elastic bands, baskets with string on it, boxes or cloth bags, you set about the rescue mission. Masking tape I find is a great resource to have as you can do lots of different activities with it. The favourite rescue activity in our house is things stuck down with masking tape.

Other Fine motor activities:

All of the above activities also fall into this but I wanted to give you a range of ideas and resources you can find in your home. What are fine motor skills? Fine motor skills involve the use of small muscles that control the hand, finger and thumbs in our hands. They are important as they help children to preform tasks such as feeding themselves, grasping a toy etc. So by doing these types of activities with your child helps to build up and strengthen those little muscles.

This is a small selection of activities that I have been making and using for years and I have lots of other activities using items from home on my Instagram page. Please do email me or contact me through Instagram if you have any questions or stuck for idea with your little ones at home.

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