Tools of the Trade


R was 16 months old at the time of this activity


Three Little Pigs by Sheryl Bone – R loves the board book version of the Three Little Pigs.  I started reading this book to her back when she was 11 months old and she would love to do the “huff and puff” part with me.  She still loves doing it now!  Repeated readings are so important for kids since they help kids to develop the concept of print and develop reading-like behaviour.  Reading like behaviours include holding a book in the correct orientation, flipping pages, and “telling” the story.   The child does not need to read the words when s/he is beginning to read, instead, encourage young children who can speak to “read” the pictures.


1. Gearing Up!

IMG_8238I pulled out our tub of Gears Gears Gears and added some play tools from Home Depot.  R thought it was necessary to include her mega blocks princess with the activity.  She enjoyed watching all the gears work together, and especially enjoyed hammering, sawing, screwing and plier(ing)?!?  R got a lot of fine motor practice during this activity.  She put the plastic screw drivers into the centre of the gear and used it as a crank to turn the gears.  She had a tough time putting the gears on the board so that they would interconnect, so for the mean time, I made the interconnecting board for her.  The construction portion of this activity is more developmentally appropriate for older children, but lots of learning and discovering still went on!

Extension Activities:
a. Work on colours.  Ask the child to build a yellow (or whatever colour) gear construction.
b. Problem solve.  Place one gear at one end of the board.  Place a second gear away from the first gear (do not make them interconnect).  Ask the child to figure out how to add more gears to the board in order to make the second gear move.  Using the different connectors in the gears bin, you can build vertically also.  This way, you can create more and more challenging tasks for the child.

2. Cup Stackers

IMG_8205Using plastic cups, strips of card stock and a mirror, I offered R an invitation to play.  She had loads of fun!!  I often did most of the stacking, while R had a major laugh knocking down the cups; especially, when I would over exaggerate my heart ache over the toppled tower.  Sometimes she stacked and other times she nested the cups.  I’d add the cardboard strip and she’d continue to build

Extension Activities:
a. Encourage counting.  As new cups are added, count them aloud with your child.
b. Offer the following open-ended question to your older child: How can you build a strong tower?  Ask the child to verbalize his/her thinking.

3. Straw House

IMG_8189Using straws and connectors, I built a rectangular house for R.  I added some scarves over the straw house to make it more house-like.  R had a great time in there!  She gathered her stuffies and babies inside and “chatted” with them.  She would at times cuddle one stuffy and “speak” with another one.  She pretend to feed her babies and hugged and kissed the.

For R’s fine motor skills development, I handed her one connector and multiple straws.  I guided her as she attached the straws to the connector.

Extension Activities:
a. When the child is developmentally ready, have him/her build his/her own straw and connector structure. The child can use the poster provided in the box to create some of the suggested builds.
b. Explore buildings on the internet and around your neighbourhood and save pictures of your child’s favourite buildings. Print off the photos and offer them as inspiration for building with the straws and connectors.

Check out the rest of the Building Structures Theme:
1. A Bubbling Build
2. Tools of the Trade
3. Stomping Around Town
4. Dramatic Castles, Sticky Houses and Thread-able Noodles
5. Sponges, Sticks and Pegs

4 thoughts on “Tools of the Trade

  1. Pingback: A Bubbling Build | Toddler Tales

  2. Pingback: Stomping Around Town | Toddler Tales

  3. Pingback: Dramatic Castles, Sticky Houses and Thread-able Noodles | Toddler Tales

  4. Pingback: Sponges, Sticks and Pegs | Toddler Tales

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s