Prep: 5-10 Minutes / Activity Time: 15-20 Minutes

Between 18 and 23 months, toddlers have the ability to use their eyes to guide their hands to do what they want them to do. Well-developed hand-eye coordination will one day help your child to communicate a written message. With this activity, your little one can pour, splash, stir, squeeze, and squirt her way to success!

  • flat, plastic storage box
  • variety of safe kitchen utensils (slotted serving spoons, ladles, scoops, cups of various sizes, sponges, funnels, basters, squeeze bottles, etc.) 

Step 1: This is a great outdoor or bath time activity! Fill a flat, plastic storage bin with water (about ½ to 2/3 full) or do this activity at bath time.

Step 2: Place a variety of safe kitchen utensils nearby. Include items that sink (metal measuring cups; saturated sponges), as well as items that float (plastic spoons; cups).

Step 3: Allow your toddler to freely explore the materials.

Step 4:  Encourage your little one to retrieve a tool or item from the water. She will have to coordinate hand-eye movements to successfully complete this task.

Step 5: Show your toddler some other things she can try. You might demonstrate how to…

  • Pour water from one cup to another.
  • Squirt water from the baster into another container.
  •  Squeeze the baster underwater to make bubbles.  
  • Pour water from a cup over a slotted spoon. Talk about how the water falls right through!
  • Put a sponge in the water and then squeeze the water out.

Step 6: As your toddler experiments with the different materials, talk together about what you notice/observe.

Step 7: Admire the patience, persistence and focus your child exhibits as she engages in this purposeful play.