Repurposing Containers: A Fine Motor Activity

I am so over this cold weather. We are desperate to get out of the house, but the temperature has been below zero for days, if not weeks. Yesterday I bit the bullet and took the two 19 month-old toddlers to the library for the first time. By myself. I knew what I was getting into. It was every bit as exhausting as I knew it would be, but the twins played with some new toys and took out a few board books. We just needed a change of scenery, and on a Friday afternoon after a long work week, I didn’t have it in me to think of something new and fun for them to do at home.

Today, however, we had a nice, relaxing morning together. We started off with dried beans in the water table, which I’ll post more about in the future. After that, we moved on to a basket I had been working on for quite a while – repurposed, recycled containers. DSC_0519

Most toddlers seem to get a kick out of household items that aren’t toys (or is that just my twins?). They constantly want what they can’t have and it’s frustrating for them and myself when I have to repeatedly tell them “no”. At this age, they are also going through a phase of wanting to open everything themselves. So a few weeks ago I began collecting containers. I tried to choose those that varied in size and difficulty in opening. As you can see, some containers only need a quick twist to open, while others are much more challenging.

I washed all the containers thoroughly with soap and water, let them dry, put them all in a basket and let the twins go to it. Judging by their silence and focus – I’d say it was a hit. Of course they chose to sit with the light from outside at their backs, not helping my photography efforts, but I still managed. 🙂

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Both toddlers focused on this repurposed ice cream container as it had an easy to twist lid.

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It was really fascinating to watch them work their fingers around the small lids and their entire hands around the large ones – it was really a wonderful fine motor exercise for little hands. Not only did they seek to put the lids back on the containers, but they practiced matching which lid went to which container, and C even stacked smaller sized items into the bigger containers. It kept their attention for a good 30 minutes.

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Fitting with my theme, this activity was FREE (not counting the money spent on the containers from their original purpose). It was easy to set up, easy to clean up, and a simple concept – my kind of activity! When the twins got bored, I packed all the containers up and stored them away, to be used again when we need an instant filler activity!