Cotton Ball & Spoon
When I was teaching PE we would end the school year with the “Fruit Bowl Olympics.” I’m not quite sure where the name came from but the tradition of the Fruit Bowl Olympics has been around for at least 15 plus years at the school and students would talk about it and look forward to them almost all school year. They’d get quite competitive with musical paper plates (no way we could round up enough chairs for 80+ girls), potato drop, beach ball pass and others. I don’t know what made me think of them and the silly, relay games we would do but when I thought of the cotton ball relay with a spoon I knew I wanted to try it with the girls and modify it to make it work for toddlers.
You don’t need much to do this: cotton balls or those little small puff balls for crafts and spoons of different sizes — we used regular spoons, mixing spoons, mixing cups, and even a ladle.
Assuming I had cotton balls I went to get them out and realized we had none – so Plan B of using the small craft puff balls was what we moved on to. I would actually recommend them if you have them — they were colorful, perfect sized for little fingers to work on picking up and putting on the spoons, and they could pack a handful of them into a measuring cup easily. It also evolved beautifully into matching with Norah and she was putting all matching colors together.
We experimented with how far they could walk and keep their cotton ball on the spoon without it falling off. When it would occasionally fall off Norah would let out a little squeal, pick it up and put it right back on and keep going. She was way more into it than Stella and tried all the different utensils I brought out. Stella had fun just playing with the little puffs and filling the measuring cup with as many as she could hold; a few times she would walk and hold the spoon but with much less purpose than Norah.
I gave Norah different destinations to walk to, “walk to your bedroom and touch your door, ” “walk around the kitchen table and touch the fridge.” We also talked about how using two hands made it easier than one and how you had to hold the spoon level so they didn’t roll off. We played around with carrying it high and carrying it low; she walked backwards, forwards, or sideways and even did a little squat down to pick something up off the floor – and managed to keep her puff on her spoon! This is great for balance, hand eye coordination and their fine motor development to name a few.
Get Outside & Go For a Walk/Hike
This is just a reminder/motivation for you to get outside and take your kiddos on a nice long walk or hike and explore around where you live. Kids need plenty of time outside to run, climb, hike, fall, and get dirty. We started of 2012 with a hike up to the top of the butte on my in-laws property. I was a little nervous navigating the hike up the hill with rocks and plenty of obstacles that could have sent myself or my 3 year old rolling down the hill but she was a determined little girl and held my hand and kept plugging away. We made it to the top and grabbed a seat up where we could overlook Black Butte Lake. I forget and take for granted how close we actually live to this little lake — what a view! December and January have been extremely dry (we need the rain to come!) so I’m trying to take advantage of getting some outside playtime in before the rain hopefully settles in for a nice, long stay.