Suited for: ages 1+ (adult supervision required for any children who are putting items in their mouths)
Equipment: iceblock maker (approx $2 from Kmart) and pom poms (from dollar shop)
Great for reinforcing pincer grip, language (e.g. 'in', 'out', 'on top', 'under', 'sparkly', 'scratchy', 'fluffy'), early 1:1 skills
I'm trying to find little activities to set up for Miss One in the afternoons. She has a little lull in energy around 3.30pm and this activity was a perfect quiet time, 1 on 1 activity that kept us both occupied for a surprising length of time!
Yesterday we had played with the iceblock maker set and spent ages putting the plastic sleeves in the trays, fitting on the lids, taking it all apart and swapping lids around etc. Miss One also discovered that the sleeves stack inside each other so we made towers as well.
Today I added some silver sparkly pom poms to the mix. Pom poms are a great sensory material, and the sparkly ones are a little bit scratchy and even more fun. I popped a pom pom in one of the sleeves and that was it- Miss One loved filling up the sleeves with pom poms!
She spent ages making different configurations, tipping them out and running her hands through the pom poms (a valuable activity in itself). She also loved helping to pick up the pom poms at the end and put them in the container (and tip it out and start again).
To extend this activity for older children, I would offer a variety of different colored/ sized pom poms so they can use the sleeves to organize and categorize them. Or use a sticker or marker to number each spot on the tray/ holder, draw corresponding numbers of dots on the sleeves and then get them to match them up. Then fill each sleeve with the correct number of pom poms.
Please note that I do not recommend leaving this activity unsupervised for younger children. I was actively engaged with my child the entire time to ensure she didn't eat the pom poms!
Tip: do this activity in the center of the room so the pom poms don't disappear under furniture.
Second tip: set it up on the coffee table or a low table to encourage standing while doing it, reinforcing those leg muscles!