Disclosure: I am a blog ambassador for Lakeshore and am compensated for my work. I received product free of charge, but all thoughts and opinions on the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars are 100% mine.
How many activities can you make with one toy?
Open-ended toys are the best toys for kids. These are the toys with many uses, limitless possibilities, and full of beautiful learning.
The truth is: all toys are not created equal – there are some toys that are simply better than other toys. You know when you’ve found a great toy, because it’s a toy with many uses and a toy that will grow with a child.
RELATED: Looking for more amazing toys? Check out this must-see toy list!
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Look for toys that have longevity and purpose
When you’re looking for toys, check for two things: how long can the child use it and how many ways can they play/learn with it?
Great, open-ended toys have an amazingly long life and uses beyond what we can even imagine.
Meet the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars
This is a great toy. A great, open-ended, learn and play toy.
The Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars are (of course) from Lakeshore Learning. Lakeshore always has the most thoughtful, open-ended toys for kids. Toys that can be used as equally for free play as they can for at-home activities or in-class lessons.
These are the kinds of toys to fill your home with. The Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars grow with kids AND have years of potential use oozing out them.
There’s so much you can do with the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars
Of course, open-ended play reigns supreme. This is a fantastic toy to add to your play shelves and let kids explore, build, and create with.
The toy comes with three jars and three lids. Each jar is specific to fit one of the three manipulatives (that’s a fancy teacher term for “math toys”) the Fill it Up! Fine Motor Jars comes with: plastic buttons, wooden pegs, or foam shapes.
The variety of these items (buttons, pegs, shapes, and jars) is plenty of entertainment for my kids (ages 4- and 6-years-old).
I came up with 10 activity ideas to do with the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars
Using toys in learning activities is one of my favorite things. It helps me get all the bang for my toy buck. Notice how the activities grow in complexity – this toy really has a long life span!
There is so much we can do with the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars. Here are 10 ideas to try with this toy:
1. Sort and Fill
I stayed true to the toy with this first activity: dump all the manipulatives into a pile and have your child sort and fill through the slots on the top of the jars.
Never dismiss the power of sorting: this is an intricate skill where children are defining and distinguishing attributes in objects. It’s not as easy as it seems to us adults.
2. Sorting by Color
Set down pieces of construction paper and dump out the manipulatives. Depending on your child’s age and skill level, decide if one or more jars of manipulatives is right or too intimidating.
Have them sort by color. This is a great chance to practice color vocabulary words.
3. Sensory Sorting
Place the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars and pieces into a sensory bin (this one is rainbow rice).
Bury the pieces for a fun part-sorting-part-sensory activity – or just open it up to a free play activity with the sensory bin and the manipulatives.
4. Run & Find
THIS was a fun one!!! On five pieces of colored paper, I wrote the numbers 1-5. I used that many colored manipulatives for this activity (1 yellow, 2 green, 3 red, 4 blue, 5 purple)…
AND THEN I HID THEM AROUND OUR ROOM.
It was such a great gross motor, counting, and sorting activity for my son (“I have 2 blues….I need to fine 2 more!). This was a way cool activity!
5. Non-Standard Measuring
Did you know that measuring in early childhood DOES NOT involve rulers? That’s right! Instead, we want to help children learn the concept behind measuring and the steps involved in measuring, before we ask them to use a ruler.
The pegs from the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars make the perfect “non-standard unit of measurement.” Practicing with a few objects from our house to measure and compare data is a HUGE step in my son’s number sense development.
6. Shape Molding
This was actually my daughter’s idea! She used the shapes in the set as models to her clay work (play dough is great too!). Having guides, she was able to practice making 3D shapes.
We also found out the buttons can be stamped into the clay (or play dough) and that is also a 10/10 winner.
What a fantastic skill to build in early childhood! The variety of objects and colors in the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars set makes it PERFECT for patterning.
This is a majorly important skill for children to develop in preschool and kindergarten – and toys like this go a long way in promoting its development.
8. Ten-Frame Math
Ten-Frames are all the buzzword in early years math and for good reason. These are everything as we build math fluency in our littles. Making a ten-frame from tape, I handed my son dice (1 dice to start, 2 dice as they gain skills) and the foam shapes.
His job: roll the dice, count the pips, and put that many foam shapes into the ten-frame.
This is a critical activity to developing fluency with number sense. Playing this game every now and then A+.
9. Basic Addition
You’ll need two plates, playing cards, and the buttons from the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars set.
Have your child flip over two cards and place one under each plate. On the plate, have them place that many buttons.
Next, have them dramatically move all the buttons together into one pile (symbolizing that addition is the joining of two groups to make one bigger group).
10. What’s Missing Math
This is complex math game for young learners. Take 10 buttons. Have your child close their eyes. Hide some of the buttons under a bowl. When they open their eyes, ask them how many buttons are missing?
This uses complex fluency skills in addition and subtraction – it’s a tiny basic algebra problem: 10 – X = 8. We’re asking the child to “solve for X” but in a developmentally appropriate way.
Open-ended toys are the best – they can do so much!
A good open-ended toy, like the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars, will get you years of play and learning.
And you can find these kinds of great toys at my beloved Lakeshore Learning. Toys from Lakeshore are always this well-made and designed – there’s a level of care and detail in Lakeshore toys that make them stand out.
Lakeshore Learning will always be my go-to spot for school supplies and toys – and it’s been that was for me since 2005. The quality, the products, it’s spot on for finding the best toys to teach and play with.
There’s nothing like a Lakeshore toy – or the learning and play that comes from them.
Use my COUPON CODE 2521 at Lakeshore’s check out to GET 25% OFF a non-sale item at Lakeshore! Valid through 3/31/21 for one-time use in stores or online. Limit one coupon per customer. Not valid on items with shipping restrictions. Other exclusions may apply. Visit https://bit.ly/2NOLcqE for details. To learn more about Lakeshore, find them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.
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