This activity will help your baby or toddler practice fine motor skills by picking up small household objects and inserting them into a hole in a container.
Learning Area(s): Physical Development
- Covered plastic container or metal can, with hole in lid (or plastic baby wipes container may already have a hole that works well)
- Objects that will fit in the hole, such as wooden clothespins, blocks, crayons, or cut straws
Show and explain to your baby how to pick up the object and drop it through the hole in the top of the container. Use hand-over-hand help if needed to guide the baby’s first attempts. Cheer for baby’s accomplishments and praise her efforts!
Older infants and toddlers often enjoy playing with “real” (not toy) items. Picking up objects helps them practice grasping and holding with their fingers in ways that will prepare them for later activities such as holding a crayon or pencil. Putting items into a hole in a container also builds their hand-eye coordination.
- Using a metal container with a plastic lid (with hole) makes a loud noise when the baby is successful in dropping objects into the can.
- The hole should be small enough to make it more challenging than having no lid at all, but not so small that it makes the task too hard for your child. Just make sure the hole is larger than the items your baby is trying to insert.
- If this game is too hard for your baby even after making a larger hole and using hand-over-hand help, remove the lid to make it easier.
- With older toddlers you can add a counting aspect to this game—count as each object goes into the hole and encourage your child to say the numbers with you.
- Another variation on this game is to attach the object (e.g., clothespin) onto the front of your child’s clothing and challenge her to pull it off before dropping it into the container. If using a clothespin, be sure to do this gently so that it does not pinch your child’s skin.