Little ones like figuring out the answers to problems, especially if there is a reward at the end. (For example: How do you escape the playpen? Where did mom hide the cookies?) You can encourage problem solving by creating situations where your child gets to explore and work out their own solution in a safe and stress-free environment. One way to do this is to make a sensory basket. If you have a basket (laundry baskets of any size or shape work well) and string or yarn, then you can create an activity that will encourage little hands to work out how to retrieve their toys.
Discovery basket instructions:
- Place some toys in the bottom of your basket.
- Tie the end of your string or yarn to one side the basket and cross to the opposite side.
- Loop the string through and around a hole, and then it pull taunt. Keep doing this over and over, forming a spider web-like structure through out the basket, with the toys ‘trapped’ in the bottom.
- When you’re done, tie off your string and let your child play! Their goal is to work the toys through the string and out of the basket.
Things to keep in mind:
- Small and soft toys will be easier to work between the pieces of string. Larger pieces with no flexibility will be more difficult.
- If you space the string far apart or leave slack in the string, the game is easier.
- You can recreate the activity with different patterns to the sting, different baskets or different toys.
- To challenge older kids, you can ask them to retrieve the toys without touching the strings.