The next time your paper towel or toilet paper tube is empty, don’t throw it away. Instead, you can use them for a few fine motor activities around your home. Here is what I did:
I bought colored duct tape and wrapped it around each tube. Then, I used a single hole puncher to punch holes all over each roll.
Next, you will need a few pipe cleaners. You have two ways of doing this activity.
Option 1: You can insert the pipe cleaners and wrap the ends, then allow your toddler or preschooler to unwrap each. I would suggest cutting the pipe cleaners in half.
Option 2: Allow your toddler or preschooler to insert the pipe cleaners on their own. This second option helps to develop eye-hand coordination as your child tries to insert each pipe cleaner into the small holes. Whether you decide to use pipe cleaners or straws, it is a great way to develop this skill. If you're wonder what exactly is eye-hand coordination, it simply means your child's ability to focus on a task using their hands while being guided by their eyes.
Option 3: STEM Encourage your preschooler to connect all the tubes with the pipe cleaners. If you have plastic straws, you can also use those, too. Leave it open ended without specifying how it should look by saying, “I’d like to see you use the piper cleaners to connect all the tubes.” Or, provide a little guidance by saying, “I wonder how your structure will look with 3 tubes at the bottom, and two on top”. Use less tubes in the beginning depending on your child's age. If your child is unsure about how to start, go ahead and model how to connect two tubes, children learn best through visual models. The number of tubes can always be increased as your child is able to connect tubes with ease. This activity is meant to be fun and develop fine motor skills. Providing a difficult task in the beginning can frustrate the child, making it less likely to return to the activity in the future. Have fun with this and leave it in an area where your child can easily access the materials on his or her own.
Why do children need a sensory bin?
Have you ever noticed how infants, toddlers, and preschoolers love to engage in some type of sensory activity? Children love to explore, and through exploration, they learn a great deal about their world through touching, hearing, smelling, tasting, and seeing. It is important that adults foster their sensory development as much as possible through children's five senses. A trip to your local dollar store can help children learn through multiple senses simultaneously.
Here is what I did.
I chose a deep bin which would help to prevent a lot of spilling. If your child is under 3, I would suggest using a shallow bin so they can sit comfortable on the floor to explore the contents of the bin. A sensory bin can be filled with anything that would activate one or all of the five senses. The younger your child, avoid putting smaller objects inside as it can be a choking hazard. And as always, supervise children when they are using sensory bins. My sensory bin was filled with rice, chickpeas, pasta, gems, scoops, funnels, and a colander, all purchased from Dollar Tree.
What is a sensory bin?
A sensory bin is a plastic tub filled with materials and objects selected to stimulate the five senses. The sensory bin can be filled with a variety of materials such as beans, pasta, beads, rice, sand, water, shaving cream, cotton balls, and more.
Sensory bins can help with:
My 3 and 6 year old sorted the contents of the bin on their own. Sorting is a math skill your child will continue to develop as he/she explores. The sensory bin allowed my children to discuss the textures and made comparisons about what they felt: hard, smooth, bumpy, pointy. If you want to target more math skills, add magnetic numbers or write numbers on small square cut outs and ask your child to identify each number as it is placed in a bowl. Or after sorting, discuss which bowl has more or less. Sensory bins also target science skills as children make predictions and learn about the cause and effect relationship while manipulating objects.
Literacy: After sorting, my daughter asked for a marker to label the cups. Of course my 3-year old wanted to join in with labeling his cup, too. He used his prior knowledge of letter sounds to independently label his cup “Rd” (red). You can add magnetic letters or write letters on small square cut outs. Ask your child to identify each letter as it is placed in a bowl. For children who are 4-5 years old, ask for the letter sound and a word that begins with the letter.
Fine motor skills: The sensory bin is perfect for increasing muscle strength and coordination with the hands. Depending on what you put in the bin, your child can cut, zip, button, tie, untie, tear, open and close containers.
Children learn to play, share, and communicate with others as they engage in sensory play.
So, why are sensory bins important?
Sensory bins are important because they support language development, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive development, and social interactions. Sensory play also helps to calm children who are anxious or frustrated.
Hi, I am Odessa. I'm a mom of two wonderful children and a teacher. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Science in Childhood Education with over 10 years of PreK and Kindergarten experience. I am a lover of all things literacy for children and their curiosity of the world. Get comfy and click around my site. I hope you find something you'll like, and something your kids will love! P.S. Akwaaba means 'welcome' :)
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