Fun with Toothpicks

There is so much fun to be had by experimenting and playing with toothpicks.  You’ve seen a few ideas in our latest video, but here are a few more tips on how to use it for the different age groups.

It’s always a good idea to cut of the top and bottom part to ensure your child does not get hurt when playing with the sticks.

3-6 Months

  • Your baby can lie on his back.  Use it as an instrument and shake the container on either sides of his head – see if baby can follow the sound.  

    

  • Tummy time – we all know how important it is for our babies to do tummy time.  Shake the bottle 30cm in front of your baby’s eyes for him to follow from one side to another, up and down and in the shape of a lazy 8.  Remember that it’s not necessary for your baby to be on his tummy for long periods of time, a few minutes every now and again is perfect.

       

  • You can also use the toothpick or spice bottle to roll over your baby’s body.  Whilst doing this, name his body parts.

    

7 – 12 Months

  • They can use the container with toothpicks as an instrument.  Shake it whilst sitting down to the beat of music. Dance with your baby while shaking the “instrument”

     

  • Throw out a few of the toothpicks on the ground and let baby pick them up.

 

  • While your baby is sitting – put the bottle on your baby’s side, in line with his hips but far enough for him not to be able to reach it with the closest hand.  The idea is that your baby should press onto his closest hand to go over with his whole body and reach the bottle with the hand furthest away from the bottle.  Seeing as most baby’s go into the crawling position using this method (on not to the front) , this is an excellent exercise that you can do with any object to get your baby into the crawling position.

         

13-21 Months

  • At this age your baby should be able to start putting things back.  Let him try to put the toothpicks back in the container (but use the biggest openings first).  If he is struggling, rather throw the toothpicks on the floor or on a plate and let him pick it up and throw it into an empty container with a big opening.  Once he can do this, try something with a smaller opening like a shampoo bottle.  Put the toothpicks on your baby’s one side and the bottle on the other – this way he will need to cross his midline when throwing the toothpicks in the container. 

        

  • Close the container or bottle in which your baby threw the toothpicks, put on some music and use it as an instrument. 

         

  • Stick the toothpicks in an apple and let your toddler take them out one by one (they can also try to put them back into the apple).

        

22-36 Months

  • Throw out the toothpicks onto the floor and let him pick it up and throw it into the small openings of the toothpick container or a spice bottle.  Let him try to open the bottle by himself to throw out the toothpicks again

        

  • Let your toddler count the toothpicks.

     

        

  • Your toddler can use a toothpick to eat small pieces of food.

     

            

Fun using a Colander

We used a colander in our latest video to do some fun and educational activities with.

Here’s a few more, age appropriate activities you can do using a Colander

3 – 6 Months

  • Thread pipe cleaners through the colander to make it nice and colourful.  Your baby can lie on his back.  Hold the colourful colander 30cm away from you baby’s eyes and let her follow the object with her eyes. Move it slowly from left to right, right to left, up and down (not too far up though) and also move it in the shape of a lazy 8.

     

  • Make sure none of the pipe cleaners have sharp edges that can scratch your baby (rather put both ends into the colanders holes).  Use this object to tickle baby all over her body. Whilst doing this, name her body parts.

    

  • Put the colander in front of your face.  Play the “where’s Mommy, there’s Mommy” game.  This helps with object permanence (Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any way).

7 – 12 Months

  • Put the pipe cleaners in the Colander.  Let your baby pull it out one by one.

     

  • Put the colander in front of your face.  Play the “where’s Mommy, there’s Mommy” game.  This helps with object permanence (Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any way).

13 – 21 Months

  • Your baby can try and put the pipe cleaners in the colander. Some colanders holes are very small in which case – you can put the pipe cleaners in.  Leave only a small part sticking out. Let your baby pull out the pipe cleaners.  When you put them back, leave a smaller part for baby to pull on

     

  • Tell your baby to put the colander on different body parts.  “Put it on your head… on your feet etc.”

    

22 – 36 Months

  • Your toddler should put the pipe cleaners in the colander.

     

  • Whilst doing this – let your toddler name the colours of the pipe cleaners

  • Give instructions to your toddler.  Put down the colander on the floor and tell him to “stand behind/ on top of/ to the side of/ in front of” the colander

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