The other day, my husband was putting together L’s new chair in the living room. L, of course, wanted to take part. She busied herself finding all of the screws and putting them in the holes, constantly getting in the way of my husband and causing him a lot of frustration! I immediately knew she was showing us a developmental need that we could easily fulfill. The next day, we went to Target and bought her a wooden toolbox by Melissa & Doug. I love this brand, because all of their toys are made of wood — a natural, aesthetically pleasing material. If anything breaks, it is easily fixed with a little wood glue. The toolbox was $14 and comes with so much that I can easily make it into 6 different works, or more!
We are beginning with an in and out work using just the wooden screws and the toolbox. I removed all of the other pieces and presented it like this. L can put the screws into and out of the holes, just like she was doing when she was “helping” her daddy build her chair. This is a variation on the other in and out works I’ve presented, as these holes require to screws to be placed in horizontally. L loves this work!
Another way you can use this work is as a twisting work. Place the screws in one bowl and the nuts in another. The child must take one screw and one nut and twist them together. This could also become a color matching work, as the child must put the yellow nut on the yellow screw, the green on the green, and the red on the red.
An even more advanced variation on this work would be to put the screw through a hole and then twist the nut on. I probably wouldn’t present this to L until she’s 3 or 4.
The toolbox also comes with nails and a hammer. The nails are thicker than the screws and require more pressure to put into the holes. This could become a hammering work, with just the nails and the hammer in the toolbox.
Finally, this could be presented as multiple language works. The first would be as pictured, just like a nomenclature basket — the purpose is to name each tool. I could also take pictures of each piece and make this an object to picture matching work.
The possibilities with this “toy” are endless and work on several different developmental skills! You obviously could not put each work out at the same time, but you could adapt the toolbox to grow with your child as she gains new skills. I think this one was well worth the investment!