"For I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in You...You make it Beautiful Somehow"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Learning and Playing with Littles: Spools in a Can

I find that it is always fairly simple to come up with ideas to teach/play with Jack. I can stick a tub of packing peanuts in front of him and he has a blast! Luke on the other hand is not as simple. He sticks literally everything into his mouth! Everything. Dirt, bugs, grass, rocks, toys...packing peanuts. You name it! 
I try to allow him to experience all of Jack's activites, but after the sixth time I have pulled the packing peanut out of his mouth he starts to scream at me in frustration. He just wants to taste it momma! 

I have decided to do a least one activity each day this is designed specially for Luke. One that he can look at, touch, listen too, and taste, till his hearts content. The activity that I am going to share today was a HUGE hit with Luke. He stayed focused for literally 30 minutes! That is a looong time for an 11 month old to stick with one task!

Here is what you need:

-Cleaned out coffee or formula can (something that has a plastic lid that snaps on)
-3-4 Empty thread spools (or extremely large beads...ones that your little one could not full get in their mouth or choke on)

Prep: Use your scissors to cut a hole in the top of your plastic lid. Set scissors aside (far away from little one's reach). Sit down with your baby in a clean and quiet area. I find that my boys always focus so much better when I have all distractions turned off (tv or music). It also helps to have all toys or other items put away. 

I started out by allowing Luke to explore independently. I handed him the can and he looked it over, banged it on the floor, and stuck it in his mouth (of course.) Next, I handed him one of the spools. He looked it over, and stuck it in his mouth. 

Then, I modeled for him how to put the spools, one at a time, into the hole. He was completely fascinated when they "disappeared".  He immediately grabbed for the can and looked in the hole to see where it had gone. It cracked me up how he was leaning over the can to look in.

After showing him a few more times, I handed the spools back to him and let him try. I couldn't believe how fast he caught on! He would put each one in (not easily...but he kept working at it till it went in), then looked inside the can to see where they had went. Once all three spools were in the can I would take off the lid and allow him to take them out.

Then, I put the lid back on, and we would start the process all over again. 

 After a few minutes he realized, that when the spools were in the can he could shake it and it would make a loud clanging noise. He looooved it! He would smile so big at me and shake it harder.

He had this same goofy look on his face the whole time...a wide open mouth. I couldn't believe how hard he was concentrating to put the spools in the hole!

He got excited every time he shook the can. After a while he started yelling while he was shaking the can. Singing maybe?  Who knows. (Surely it can't be because the rest of his family is loud :-) )

See the face again?! It was so cute! I have brought this game out a few more times and he immediately remembered to put the spool in the can and shake it. 

This activity is so simple, yet so much fun! Plus your little one really is learning! They are learning how to follow directions, practicing fine and gross motor skills, as well as making connections (i.e. when I put the spools in the can and shake it, it makes noise.) Plus, plus look at the concentration on that face! Plus, plus, plus, you are keeping your little one busy for thirty minutes! 

What is sensory about this...
Let your little one feel the rippled edges of the can.
The can feel the smooth sides of the spools.  
They can listen to the sound of the spool hitting the bottom of the can.
They can listen to the sound the spools make inside the can when they shake it. 
They can taste everything. 

So grab an empty can and a few spools and have some sensory, learning, fun! 

For another awesome sensory idea check out our Treasure Basket.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127: 3-5


  1. Thanks for the idea! Ill have to try that!

    I just get tired of putting everything back in the can. We have a bowl with balls and he loves emptying the bowl so I can put all the balls back in!

  2. What a great idea! I'll definitely have to try this with my 10 month old! Thanks for sharing! :)


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