Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Toy Review Tuesday: Clothespins In A Milk Jug & Links In A Can

Are you familiar with the "in-and-out" developmental stage that most, if not all, toddlers go through? This is when they are fascinated with dumping or taking things out of containers and putting them back in.

Matthew developed this interest when he was around 15 months old. We mainly used building blocks in a small plastic box with a wide opening to practice this skill. He was initially interested in dumping the blocks out of the plastic box. I'd always show him how to put things back in by showing him how I'd let go of the block so it would drop into the plastic box. Letting go is not an easy concept to learn. Eventually, he got it and when he did, that's all he wanted to do.

Now, he's an expert at putting blocks away into a container with a wide opening. While it's important for him to continue practicing this skill, I think it's also important to offer challenges and change it up a little while keeping it interesting.

Clothespins In A Milk Jug
Clothespins in a Milk JugClothespins in a plastic milk jug was the perfect homemade toy for the challenge. I just needed wooden clothespins, a clean 1/2 gallon plastic milk jug, and lots of clapping. Matthew enjoys this game. The very first time we played it, he and I sat on the kitchen floor for at least 25 minutes dropping clothespins into the milk jug. Taking clothespins out of the milk jug will be another game when he's older.

Links In A Can
Links in CanAnother similar (in concept) homemade toy/ activity that we like is plastic links/ rings in a can. I used Fisher Price links and a clean, empty can of almonds. I cut out slot in the plastic lid just big enough for the links. Matthew just loves it! We took this with us to lunch at a restaurant on Father's Day and it kept him busy after he was done eating. It gave me a chance to savor my meal!

The Verdict
Simple, economical, and fun. Both toys help develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and focus or concentration. I view them as a step short of shape sorting (that's a tongue twister!), which will require more accuracy and shape recognition.

There are so many toys, both store-bought and homemade, that help develop these skills. Another good one is the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Piggy Bank. What similar toys do your kids like?

About 'Toy Review Tuesday': Every Tuesday, I write about our experience with a toy, while trying to incorporate thoughts on how it may help a child with Down syndrome. This review is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product nor do I intend to put pressure on parents to purchase the toys reviewed. Questions, sharing your own experience, or any other helpful insights are welcome in the comment section.


Lori said...

Great job Matthew!! He sure seems to like getting that praise, which is a great thing. A clap, smile or cheer always seemed to get my daughter to work really hard.

These are excellent ideas and you did an awesome job demonstrating and explaining it! I will certainly be sharing this post with others who have little ones working on these skills.

heidi marie said...

trying to catch up on posts! love the game ideas, will have to try them out. it's funny...henry is 15 months right now and has found in interest in dumping things out. he spent quite a bit of time dumping out hangers from a clothes basket then one by one putting them back in.

i really like your father post. very sweet. thanks for the award, too!!!

Beverly said...

Mathew does such a great job! He is so cute! We made a lot oh home made toys too. The Wipe plastic containers are great for putting things in too and to pull out from.

Unknown said...

Lily said "he's good!" We love the clapping!

ds.mama said...

These are two great homemade toys Ria. And I like the price :-)

Adrienne said...

Great ideas!! He's doing awesome! And thanks for the award!

To Love Endlessly said...

Those are fantastic ideas! We have the piggy bank, but Marissa doesn't know how to use it yet. Clothes pins are great for fine motor skills too. You can have him clip them onto the side of the bucket or box. And, the links is great too. I used to use pennies in a slot w/ my older kids. I never thought to use links for the little ones. :-)

Monica Crumley said...

Great job, Matthew. That looks kinda hard to do, but you're doing it! I love how you clap and squeal when you're proud of your successes.

Cheryl said...

Great ideas! I love your blog :)

Ria said...

Thanks ladies.
Beverly and Perplexing Situation, thanks for the additional ideas!

Lisa said...

Sheridan loves the piggy bank, and I love your creative ways to challenge the skills! I'm constantly grabbing things from around the house to help Sheridan generalize his skills (and push him to do more difficult tasks when he's ready). I love these ideas... especially because we could all go broke from buying so many toys!