Thursday 24 November 2011

New Shelf Toys

(Goblin is 25 months)
My week with Goblin starts on a Thursday after my 3 day working week. So I refreshed Goblin's shelves last night in anticipation of fun today. 
I left the stacking blocks because he enjoyed them so much at the weekend. And I added some cocktail umbrellas in polystyrene; the gnome counting game; his button peacock; a tong and pompom game; and on the second shelf Goblin's counting fish; a salt tracing letter tray; some building blocks and an X ray matching game because today I planned to do the letter X with Goblin. Goblin was interested in the umbrellas and delighted when he discovered they opened. But I dramatically overestimated his fine motor skills and ability to be gentle. The umbrellas lasted about two minutes.  
I didn't mind. This was a learning experience for me, and there were tons in the pack so I'll just wait a while and introduce them to him again when he's had a bit more practice with less fragile objects. 
I do like the way that when Goblin discovers I have refreshed the shelves he goes through and plays with everything. But 'everything' did not include the button peacock. He just isn't interested in button practice. Last week I revitalised the button snake by cutting the felt squares into animal shapes. Even when I took it down off the shelf and got him to name all the animals - which he loved - he just wasn't interested in trying to button them on to the ribbon. 
I guess he's either not ready, or it doesn't look like fun - poor unloved button toys. 
What Goblin did LOVE was the salt tray. The idea is to place a sandpaper letter in the top half and salt or sand in the bottom half, then the child traces the shape of the letter in the salt. 
Here is a picture taken from showing what it's supposed to look like if your child does it successfully:
I don't have sandpaper letters so I used a flash card. I showed Goblin how to trace an X. He had a go and made a few lines. 
But then he picked up the flash card and scooped the salt from one side to the other. When there was enough in each side he got his digger and used that to scoop salt. He really enjoyed this indoor 'sandpit'. Not its intended use but I liked that he found his own way to play with it. 
The game I was most excited for Goblin to try was the X-ray matching game I'd made. I used google images to download pictures of X-rays and then the solid images of the same things. Its a variation on the matching game using shadows of the images. Goblin is really good at matching images to their shadows so I wanted to see how he did with this. 
As well as x-rays and tracing an X we did some of the printable's that I downloaded from the 1plus1plus1equals1 blog. Goblin is getting much better at following the shape of the letter but even when I show him how to do it he does tend to draw from the bottom of the letter up rather than the top down. I've been sure to always have at least one tong based game on the shelves because Goblin really seems to enjoy tonging stuff. This week we have a rubber soap dish with suckers, mini pompoms and craft tweezers. 
He started with the craft tweezers and did quite well but eventually resorted to his fingers. The pompoms are so small that even with his fingers its great fine motor practice. 
Later in the day he moved to his bigger tongs and used them to tong his counting gnomes and an entire train with nine carriages into his flowerpot.  
 I'd put the turkey baster on the top of the shelves along with the other tongs we weren't using. Goblin found them and came running up to me demanding water. So I poured him a jug of water and food colouring. He ditched the turkey baster quite quickly because its really quite difficult. But he spent ages pouring the water into the two bowls I'd given him, and then pouring the water from the bowls back into the jug and starting again. He hardly spilled any and when he'd decided he'd finished nearly all the water was still in the jug. Its great to be able to see clear examples of Goblin improving in certain skills and this is definitely one of them. He was being much more careful and slow than he used to be.
Before his nap he decided to play with his train set. This is another thing he has got better at. Some of the track pieces are quite tight curves and if you pull the train across them too fast it derails. In the past Goblin has just got really frustrated and derailed the train every time. But today when I said "be careful and go slowly over that bit" he actually did go slow and the train stayed on the track. Another new thing I noticed was when he got round to the side on the track I was sitting on he passed the train to me and said "turn" - meaning it was my turn. I think they must be teaching turn taking at nursery. It was great to see him initiate it but I certainly can't take the credit for it. 


  1. Great activities, I'll have to try the sand one - Master D is most likely to do the same as Goblin though and start using his truck in it!

  2. yeah its probably a bit too early for Goblin to be tracing letters but I figured it wouldn't hurt to introduce him to the idea.

  3. My little one has developed a love for her train these days too and is also much better with it. The salt tray looks like fun. It's great how children can be so creative!

  4. Love the X-ray matching game. So creative! Thank you for sharing! :)

  5. Hi again! Thanks for your comment and happy 2012 to you too! If I find a use for little boxes, I will let you know. And you let me know if you find a use for seventy billion yogurt cups :)

    I am starting a tray linky party and hope that you will come over and share!


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