Toddler Shifting Objects – Gross Motor Skills Activities

Toddlers Shifting Objects In and Out of Containers

Toddlers flapping hands when excited and pointing and waving at different things is only natural. However, parents should help their tots progress to more complex tasks such as shifting and pouring activities. They give them a sense of achievement and help develop cognitive and motor skills

Filling and emptying containers is one of the activities that can keep toddlers occupied for a long time. Yet, it’s more than just a play; it is addressing their curiosity and letting them grow.

When Does a Toddler Start Filling and Emptying Activities?

Between the ages of 7 and 9 months, the motor skills of toddlers begin to develop. During this time, a toddler will start picking things and release them. His gross motor control is at the developing stage and he will enjoy container play. Initially, he will be better at the emptying part. By the time he turns 1, he will be able to pick up toys from the container, but putting it back might be difficult for him, so it’s upon parents to teach a baby how to put things back. By the age of 15 months, he will be able to take things out of the container and put them back too.

Is Your Toddler Filling and Emptying Toys from Containers? It’s Good!

When your toddler begins dumping toys from containers, you know your house will never be tidy as it used to be. There will be toys in every corner of your house. You will be tired of cleaning your place and would even want to scold your child. But, don’t! This activity is crucial to develop his gross motor skills. There are other benefits too, find out why you should encourage this activity in your toddler:

  • Pouring, shifting objects, and emptying containers are important cognitive exercises for your kids.
  • When kids start this activity, they realize that one object can hold other smaller objects.
  • By filling and emptying toys from containers, toddlers learn about different shapes and sizes. At this age, they can be taught why a square can’t fit into a circular slot etc. You can use a shape-sorter is a good toy to encourage this kind of activity.
  • By dumping things out of the container without anyone’s help, they gain a sense of independence.
  • By trial and error, they understand which object would fit where. They learn the difference between big and small; it improves their orientation skills.

Key Takeaway: Apart from filling and emptying toys from containers, toddlers also take part in certain other activities that develop their motor skills. Know about these activities-

  • Kids start playing with puzzles; playing with toys that fit together and building games interest them. It also improves their confidence.
  • Engaging kids in art activities, like brush and finger painting or painting on paper, drawing with chalk, or playing with clay is also good. These activities improve hand-eye coordination of kids.
  • Once your child grows a little old, you can also teach him more challenging activities, like cutting with child-safe scissors and gluing things on paper.
  • Kids become dexterous as they grow old and they can open and close cabinets on their own. So, keep them away from danger.
  • To encourage and improve his motor skills help your child when he is stuck with some activity.

5 Filling and Emptying Activities for Toddlers

Filling a container and emptying things from another may not seem much of a daunting task to an adult, but it is a challenging task for a toddler. Obviously, your child is happy on completing his task, but what goes unnoticed to is how such a small task plays a significant role in his development. Indeed all these trivial activities are important for him. So, here are some activities that you can engage your toddler into:

1. Shifting Activities

Encourage your toddler to shift objects from one place to another. For this purpose, you can use containers that are easily available at home, such as small plastic jars and bottles. Ask your toddler to hold and move objects. He will learn to follow your instructions and it will improve his muscle strength too.

2. Pouring Activities

Pouring activity is very good for children. It improves their concentration, gives them a sense of independence, and develops hand-eye coordination. Get your child nested containers as he’ll enjoy the challenge of trying to fit them into each other.  Later, you can use two bowls and fill one with small objects and also give him a scoop. He can transfer the contents to the other bowl either by using his hands or the scoop. Another benefit of pouring activities is that they help children develop an analytical mind as they realize when they should stop pouring.

3. Sandbox Activities

You should allow your toddlers to play in sand. Give them a small bucket and shovel, and ask them to fill the bucket with sand and later empty it. If you don’t have sand in your backyard, get it from some place and fill it in a plastic tub and let your child just play. Teach them to dig and draw different shapes in the sand. Let them explore!

Sandbox activity

4. Water Activities

Toddlers love to play in water. So, you can promote filling and emptying activity in water too. You can use a bathtub and give him containers for filling. Also, give him a spare bottle or a measuring cup to let him fill that container. They can also try this activity in kitchen by filling ice trays with water. This will develop self-regulation skills in them.

5. Kitchen Activities

To improve gross motor skills of your toddler, you can also engage him in kitchen activities. Give him cereal box and ask him to fill cereals in it. Or you can give him fruits and ask him to transfer fruits from one basket and to another. But, while he is doing this activity, do keep an eye on him as he might mess it up. This activity is sure to improve his hand-eye coordination.

Before your toddler starts doing any of these activities, it is necessary that you teach him hand flapping, it is a very common action. Then you can teach your child to wave. By taking his hand move it from side to side and ask him to pay attention. Once your child can perform these two actions, you can guide him towards more challenging activities mentioned above, like pouring and transferring objects.

Also, during the course of practice, it’s always important to remember that no two children are alike. Some kids pick up the filling and emptying toddler developmental milestones quicker than others, so don’t rush or push your child into it. Guide him patiently and try to introduce new activities to stimulate him and to develop motor skills in him.

If you’ve tried any other shifting/pouring activity with your toddler, feel free to share them with other moms!

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