Fine motor practice with scooping and pouring is a mainstay in the toddler classroom. Scooping, pouring, and transferring are three beginning skills to fine motor development. When looking at a continuum of fine motor skills, toddlers begin with scooping and pouring activities.
Here are all the benefits of scooping and pouring activities for toddlers, in particular, the importance of fine motor practice with scooping and pouring activities.
Engaging in scooping and pouring activities might seem like simple playtime for toddlers, but the significance of these actions goes far beyond entertainment.
These seemingly straightforward activities play a crucial role in a toddler’s developmental journey, encompassing a range of cognitive, motor, and even emotional skills.
Scooping and pouring lay the foundation for fine motor skill development. As toddlers grasp small objects, hold containers, and control the flow of materials, they refine their hand-eye coordination and dexterity.
The delicate manipulation required for scooping and pouring helps in strengthening the muscles in their fingers and hands, setting the stage for more intricate tasks like pencil grasp development and emergent writing.
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Benefits of Scooping and Pouring for Toddlers
Scooping and pouring is used as a means to develop fine motor skills associated with practical life skills, not to mention the value of sensory experiences in young childhood education. Fortunately, scooping and pouring activities are easy to incorporate into at-home or preschool education.
Scooping and pouring also has tons of learning benefits outside of motor work, too.
FAQ About Pouring And Scooping Activities
Parents often wonder if their child is on track developing appropriate practical life skills. Here are some life skills your preschooler should be working on.
~ Put on or take off a coat and zip it up.
~ Pulling on or off pants to use the toilet.
~ Put on their own slip-on shoes.
~ Put papers in backpacks and zip it up.
~ Throw away trash from snacks or putting away dishes after a meal.
~ Wash hands properly by themselves.
~ Showing basic manners like saying please and thank you.
Anything that can easily be poured and scooped up again. Some fillers for preschoolers and toddlers might include:
~ popcorn kernels
~ water beads
~ alphabet beads
~ shaving cream
~ soap foam
~ dried beans
The possibilities are endless!
Creating a sensory bin specific to spooning, scooping and pouring just requires a few basic materials. You need a filler, like those mentioned above. A bin to catch the filler and keep it contained. And you need some utensils to use for the scooping and spooning.
No need for fancy pouring toys, although they can add to the fun. That’s it! You’ll be amazed at how long toddlers and preschoolers will spend at such an open ended play activity.
Learning Outcomes for Sensory Play
Scooping, pouring, and transferring are activities are often tied to sensory bins. One reason is because you need a bin to catch all the loose pieces during the play, but secondly because the texture and noise of the filler provides such great sensory input it makes the activity irresistible!
Here are some important concepts your toddlers and preschoolers explore while doing scoop and pour activities.
Spooning, scooping, pouring, and transferring takes dexterity that is used in many basic life skills.
Scooping with a spoon allows your toddler to fine tune the little muscles necessary for self feeding and other essential skills.
Cause and Effect
When they tip the cup, the filler falls out. When they pour too quickly, they make a mess.
Toddler notice how the filler falls when skilled, poured or dropped.
And when that happens they also take notice of the noice the filler makes.
Offering different spoons and scoops allows preschoolers to explore weight as they scoop different amounts of filler. And how many scoops does it take to fill up the milk bottle?
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Scooping Utensils for Sensory Bins
The right scooping utensils can make or break a sensory bin. These are my all time favorite scoops and containers to use in sensory bins where scooping and pouring is my main focus.
When picking out pouring containers to add to sensory bins, try to offer different tops for the containers. Try screw top containers, swing top, cork top, and so on.
Scooping and Pouring Activities for Toddlers Benefits
I love a good rice sensory bin because of the life skills and fine motor skills practice for toddlers and preschoolers. They work on basic life skills that eventually transfer to make them more independent.
Here are even more benefits of scooping and pouring activities for toddlers and preschoolers.
Keriann Wilmot, pediatric occupational therapist and play expert says that sensory bins are an opportunity for kids to engage in dump-and-fill, hide and seek type of play. “This helps develop their cognitive skills.” [source]
Wilmot says that these activities have a way of helping children improve their attention to task too. Kids often enjoy them for longer periods of time than more structured games and turn-taking, which is great because the goal behind this skill in preschoolers is learning how to be attentive during group settings.
Self Calming Skills
Sensory bins can be helpful for kids who struggle to manage their emotions and behavior. “They are often used by occupational therapists as a way to help children calm down or self-regulate,” Wilmot says.
It’s important to remember that many sensory bin fillers are small and loose parts. Children should always be supervised while doing any kind of scooping and pouring activity, and during all play in a sensory bin.
Scooping and Pouring Activities for Toddlers
Scooping and pouring activities for toddlers serve as more than just playful moments. They foster early understanding of cause and effect, building the foundation for logical reasoning and problem-solving skills.
These activities also empower toddlers, instilling a sense of independence and confidence as they manipulate materials and witness tangible results. In essence, scooping and pouring activities are invaluable tools for holistic cognitive and emotional growth in early childhood.
Here are some of our all time favorite scooping and pouring activities for toddlers.
Sensory Bins for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Here are some more sensory bins that provide fine motor practice with scooping and pouring.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.