When L was about 12 months old, she discovered an unattended tissue box within reach at my mom’s house. She quickly took advantage of the situation, and when we found her she was in the middle of emptying the box tissue by tissue. Needless to say, she was very pleased with herself. I thought it was adorable — mostly because we were not at my house and I didn’t have to clean up the mess. But when we got home, L tried her hardest to reach every tissue box she could see. Recognizing her interest in this activity but unwilling to let her destroy all of my tissues, I quickly put together this work:
I found some old handkerchiefs that the previous homeowners had left behind, and stuffed them into an empty wipe container. I took the very top off the container — because I didn’t want her to learn how to really open a wipe container! — and cut out the rubbery center so she could see the handkerchiefs inside. The result was very much like emptying a tissue box, but with two key differences: 1. it didn’t make Mommy mad, and 2. it was free!
L enjoyed using the handkerchief pulling work for a couple months, but then I found that it was often left neglected on the shelf. I decided to re-purpose the wipe container to fulfill a new interest of L’s.
We take our dog for a walk as a family every day after dinner. We frequently pass a church with a few unfinished sign-posts. Every time we get there, L bends down, picks up tiny pebbles, and drops them into an open sign-post. She will do this for so long that we finally have to pick her up and go home. So I decided to replicate that activity inside, with this:
I used some decorative glass pebbles that I had and put them in a bowl beside the empty wipe container. L can pick up the pebbles one by one and drop them into the container. If I was still in a classroom environment, I would be restricted to using larger materials that don’t fit in a choke tube. However, I’m home with just one child, and I know she won’t try to eat these pebbles. Young children are drawn to tiny objects, and I am happy to provide them in a supervised setting. If your child still puts a lot of things in her mouth and you’re not sure she won’t choke on them, use larger objects to drop into the wipe container.