Dyed Sugar Cubes

My son has crazy good dexterity, and his hand eye coordination has a tendency to amaze me. Not even 2 years old  and he can pull the outlet covers out of the sockets (which he doesn’t do much of, thank G-d), and build intricate towers out of his blocks with crazy balancing techniques. I truly enjoy watching him at work when he’s playing a fine motor or manipulative game, and I often wonder if this is going to be a factor in the hobbies and career he will choose someday.

But that’s getting ahead of myself. For now, he’s just a boy exploring the world.

Wanting to find a new fine motor activity,  I decided to let him experiment with eye droppers, colored water, and something to absorb the liquid…which ended up being sugar cubes.

I set out cups filled with water, and added a few drops of food coloring to each of the cups. The sugar cubes were placed on a paper plate in front of my son (who, surprisingly, did not try to eat them), and I gave him the eye droppers.

Having never seen eye droppers before, he had to spend a few minutes learning how to use them. I showed him what to do and eventually he was comfortable with it after a little trial and error. Once he got the hang of it his concentration was hooked to dying the cubes.

For older kids this might be a great science experiment when learning about absorption. For now, it was just a fun way to play with colorful liquid.

And then we did a bonus activity…We pulled out a light box.

Now, our light box is actually something my grandfather built for me when I was a kid so that I could trace stuff while crafting. At the moment I use it for activities like this. Being the extremely handy person that he is, it is a super sturdy and well buil2878756t design that I could not replicate.

There are other ways to get your hands on a light box that doesn’t require the blessing of a handy dandy family member though. You can buy something, such as an unnecessarily fancy and expensive piece. Or a children’s light box that is on the smaller and cheaper end (or something in between). Chances are you will actually have far better luck looking for a light box that was meant for artists. They are much cheaper and more often than not better quality. Just be aware that some boxes do get hot enough to burn.

There is also the option of creating your own, with less skill necessary than what my grandpa used. Pintrest is filled with ideas such as these.

Typically a good light box could work in a well lit room (our box is certainly bright enough), but to make it extra cool we retreated into our laundry room (which can be completely dark with the door shut). Wanting to protect my box from sugary gunk, I put a piece of parchment paper over the surface. Considering just how bright the light is, it also helped to filter the light and protect little eyes.

The sugar cubes looked very neat with the light shining through them, and we were definitely intrigued for a good while. Kiddo spent a lot of time lining them up in various formations, and designing intricate tower structures. That was also an excellent fine motor activity!

It was a  fun experience with an easy clean up, and I felt good incorporating a new fine motor challenge (working the droppers), as well as new ways to play with colors. It’s definitely something I would do again, and I’m sure my son will be very excited when he sees me pulling out the droppers and food coloring!

Rope and Noodles

My son is entering into a stage where his fine motor development has crossed into a whole new level. It’s surprising to me just how much he is able to do these days, and I’m starting to wonder what little things I could do to encourage him.

Puzzles are an everyday thing. Blocks are a favorite game. Eating in and of itself is a motor development activity.

But I wanted to get creative, so I went ahead and put together my own little toy for him. The best part? It is super, super cheap. All you need is one pool noodle (which you can find at the dollar store most likely. Depending on the season). Cut the noodle into a bunch of little “O”s. The only other thing you’ll need is a piece of rope, and there you have it.

Babies and toddlers love these sorts of activities. My son sat on the floor  stringing the “O”s through the rope for a good half-hour, while I sat on the side lines cheering him on.

Pipe Cleaner Fine Motor Activity

Once again I was in search for a new activity that promoted fine motor development. In all honesty it’s kind of scary how coordinated my son is when it comes to his fine motor skills (I don’t know how long certain child proof measures will last…), but that’s all the more reason to find something that occupies his little fingers.

Here’s an activity that’s  super easy to put together, appropriate for quiet time, no mess to clean up afterward, and encourages fine motor coordination.

It is as simple as a pile of pipe cleaners and a colander. Not only was my son intrigued by the challenge of putting the pipes through the holes, but he also discovered that it makes a silly hat as well!