Kids love to pour things out. I figured if I gave Bl (15 mo) a pouring activity, he might get all his pouring practice out before he got around to dumping his lunch all over the table. Didn’t quite work, but he still seemed to really enjoy it.
Here is an easy & fun version for the little ones (although Br(3) took a turn at it as well):
– 2 cups (I used 2 double-handled cups, the same size, to make it easy for him to grip & hopefully encourage him to go both directions – work on both brain hemispheres!)
-dried beans (for this first time I used dried lima beans as they were the biggest I found. larger pieces don’t “stick” as much together, so are easier. As the Bl gets better at it, we’ll move to smaller things-smaller beans, lentils, rice, salt, water… oh the messes to come )
-tray (the one we used was from The Dollar Store)
I initially put the tray in front of him, with the intent of “modeling” how to pour it from one cup to another. Before I had a chance, he was already fascinated with just transferring beans one at a time between the cups! Once he seemed to bore of just transferring, I modeled slowly how to lift the cup, then, once it is fully over the other cup, turn it to pour the beans into the cup still on the tray. I also modeled picking up any beans that spilled & putting them back in the cup.
There is a great “control of error”- the lima beans spilling out of the cup on to the metal tray- he could easily & successfully remedy (picking them up and putting them back in the cup). Bl definitely noticed and was interested in picking up those pieces that spilled. I know Montessori philosophy is big on “self-correcting activities”- activities where it is obvious to the child when a mistake is made & they can correct it themselves without an external entity having to point it out.
While simple, this activity is great for a number of other reasons. Pouring activities help build both physical & cognitive skills. I found this explanation on the value of pouring activities at the site “Simply Montessori” that I liked. It also helps build skills necessary for independence. At 15 months, there aren’t a lot of things Bl can do independently yet, but this is an activity that can help build the skills necessary so he can!