Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Toy Review Tuesday: Beans, Beans, Beans

Dried beans are proving to be quite a versatile toy at our house, especially since Elizabeth doesn't mouth toys anymore. In addition to putting them in a plastic container for a Homemade Tactile Sensory box (from an earlier toy review) to practice scooping and pouring and to provide sensory input, we are re-discovering the many fun and educational ways to play with beans.

Beans can be used for counting. One-to-one correspondence counting and other early number concepts like "more" or "less" or "few" or "many".

Beans can be used to make sock bean bags, which is something I learned recently from Elizabeth's visit with our local Parents as Teachers group. Elizabeth enjoys fine motor activities. Usually, whatever Elizabeth is doing, Matthew wants to try too (and vice versa). This activity hits many areas: fine motor control and coordination, pincer grasp, sharing and cooperation between siblings, and attention span.

The only materials needed are dried beans and socks. We used Daddy's socks. (He won't realize they're missing anyway - not until he reads this).

After filling the socks, make a knot so the beans don't fall out.

Then fold over to form a bean back sock ball.

Bean bag socks are great for:
- tossing overhand or underhand into laundry baskets (for a wider target) or small containers (for a smaller, more challenging target).
- a quick game of catch.
- balancing on various parts of the body like the head, arm, knee, and so on.

Our bean bag making activity then turned into a pretend cooking game. Matthew was handing Elizabeth pots and pans and plates as she filled them with beans and stirred with the spoon.

We also made egg shakers filling plastic eggs from last Easter with beans and sealing with glue.

Other good fillers for the egg shaker are uncooked rice and small uncooked pasta.

Related post:
Toy Review Tuesday: Homemade Tactile Sensory Box


nancy said...

Great tips! Thanks, I look foward to a new and thing to try.