The ingredients of this bottle are rocks plus kindergarten readiness learning and fun. Just a minute or two on Pinterest is all it takes to find many super ideas for discovery or sensory bottles for kids. Since this month’s posts are learning activities with rocks, how about filling a bottle with rocks, stones and pebbles? An extra-wide empty sports drink bottle is more than recycling, it’s a reminder of the Olympics starting tomorrow as well.
At first, simply filling a bottle with rocks doesn’t sound like learning or play but a 3 year old was very engaged in this project. Here are some of the skills involved:
- problem-solving. The child has to think of how the rocks will fit thru the mouth of the bottle. Which way is best? Some rocks will not go in the first time but will if they are turned another direction.
- choosing. Kids have to think which rock will go next and make a decision.
- space and size. Children need to look at a rock and estimate if it will fit or not. While we may know that a rock will be too big this is not so obvious for kids. They need lots of trying and experimentation to build spatial brain connections.
- language. Some children will talk to themselves or others while they are working/playing, telling how this rock fits but not that one.
- fine muscle coordination. Small muscles in the hand and fingers get lots of exercise grasping and moving the rocks.
- attention and focusing. Kids will concentrate on this activity for varying lengths of time. The bottle may not get filled all in one go. Some kids may work at it for only a few minutes or a few rocks and will return to the activity later. Some may need some support to complete the project.
- pride and achievement. Kids will be quite proud of their efforts and will show others the full bottle. Sometimes playing can be hard work!
While this bottle isn’t as visually attractive as a glitter bottle, little ones can be part of the process to create a rock bottle. Learning and fun are certainly part of it, too. Grown-ups need to make sure the lid is screwed on good and tight! Is this activity appropriate for your child?