Of all the lovely playthings we can provide our little ones, they seem to love the humble plastic lunchbox, laundry basket or storage container the most.
Playing with containers can be immensely beneficial for your baby’s fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination and cognitive skills, such as cause and effect, so let your baby go wild!
Here are some of our favourite ideas of how you can enrich their playtime (and it’s a great distraction while you prepare lunch):
Dumping and filling
Give your baby plenty of opportunities to fill a container and empty it again. Provide small toys (not too small), balls, or even household items like silicone cupcake cups for them to put into a container and take out. Filling and dumping engage fine motor skills (picking up items) and gross motor skills (picking up the container to empty it or pushing it around the house).
Lunchboxes are ideal for stacking. They are large enough not to fall over easily, and if it’s the same brand, they usually fit into each other. Empty lunch boxes or cups are great nesting activities too.
Using two containers, provide some items from around the house that your baby can sort. At 11 months, he probably won’t be able to sort by size, colour or shape, but he might naturally attempt to place equal amounts of objects between the two containers. Putting each container slightly to his left and right will encourage him to twist a little while sitting up, therefore engaging his trunk muscles.
Fill smaller containers with different food (like pasta, rice or a few spoons of sugar). Let your baby shake them and explore the different sounds each one will make. Add some glitter or pom poms to each to make it extra fun. Make sure the containers can’t accidentally open while shaking them - who has time to clean up that mess?
Once your baby is comfortable standing up against the couch or even taking a few shaky steps, fill up a container with heavy objects (books, full water bottles, etc.) to keep it from tipping over as your baby pushes it around the house. This activity is ideal for early walkers, so save this idea for the future if your baby's not there yet.
Start the development journey with MonkiBox. Montessori-inspired toys designed to give your child the best start.