Continuing with activities I’ve created for Pip, here is how I made our fun Pull String Toy. I found this idea on Pinterest, and it was quick and easy to recreate at home! This toy is great for cause and effect, pincher grasp, pulling, using two hands separately (one to hold the container, one to pull)… I started using this toy when he was around 9 months old and we still pull it out to play!
Single hole punch
3/4” ribbons of different materials
Thin, flexible, plastic container (found at the dollar store!)
- Punch holes into the sides of the container. I did a triangle pattern like this: ◦.◦ I matched the pattern on opposite sides, and reverse the pattern for the opposing opposite sides: .◦.
- Feed the ribbons through the holes and into the opposite side’s holes. I criss- crossed some to give Pip a different “feel” when pulling.
- Tie off the ends of the ribbon with knots big enough to cause them to stop at the hole. I left a longer “tail” at the end of each knot to practice “pinching” when pulling.
Then just put the lid back on and you are set! I found I had to demonstrate how to play with this a few times for Pip to understand. But he loves watching the ribbons going back and forth!
With a Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology and many years of experience in the special education system, I’m quite keen on exposing Pip to a multitude of activities. I work hard to vary the modalities he is using in the activities I am providing. We love to do a lot of fine motor activities together, despite how anxious it makes others. Everyone is sure he will choke on the tools I give him! But trust me, I keep him supervised until I know he can be safe. And once he know how to be safe with them, he gains so much confidence with the activities!
What are fine motor skills?
Fine motor skill is the coordination of small muscle movements which occur in body parts such as the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes. – Wikipedia
What are some important movements?
There are so many! Pinching, threading, pulling, scribbles… there are so many different fine motor movements. If you google it you can find a variety of lists. Some will make you feel like you’ve done something right, others may make you feel like you’re failing your child. Try to find a middle ground *smile*
This simple activity can provide fun and some fine motor exercise for your little one! We play this game everywhere now, as I can always have the supplies in my purse.
What You’ll Need:
- Rubber coated metal clips (I get them at the dollar store!)
How to Play
- Always start each “level” by barely attaching the clips to the edge of something. You aren’t trying to “stump” your toddler right out of the gate! First you want to establish that they know how to get the clip off at each level.
- Begin with something hard and sturdy where the pulling motion is towards themselves or down (not up). The edge of a toy crate can work, or a counter/table. Show your toddler how much FUN it can be to pull them off! (Find that inner child!) The rubber coating should protect your items, as well as make it easier to slip off. Increase the difficulty along with your toddler’s progress. You can even try clipping them so that they would need to pull “up” once they have the hang of it!
- Attach the clips to a stuffed toy or blanket. Show your toddler how to hold the item with one hand, and pull the clip off with the other! This is great for core strength, stability and lateral motion – along with that grasping motion!
- Attach the clips to your toddler’s clothes! We have a lot of fun with this one! I’ll put a clip on the feet of his PJs, up the legs, in his stomach region and even on the arm of his shirt. He has to coordinate all of his limbs to reach the clip and then pull against it! Be sure your little one is somewhere “soft” when you start this one. They often pull so hard they topple themselves backwards! When Pip has to wait somewhere in his car seat or stroller I’ll pull out this activity for a few minutes of cheap entertainment!
More dollar store activities to come! Stay tuned!