Productive Playtime = A Wipes Dispenser and Some Squares

Ironically, Micah got some nice, expensive, noisy and colorful toys during Christmas, but he preferred playing with the boxes and the wrapping paper. Can anyone else relate to this?!   If you are looking for a productive playtime activity that will last you through a couple of stages in your child’s development, I’ve got one for you.  With your empty wipes dispenser you can make a toy that is inexpensive, reusable and educational!

Chris had walked away to grab something from the kitchen and when he walked back, he noticed that Micah was unusually quiet (Micah often talks to himself while playing on his mat).  This is what he saw:

tissue box

YES.  Micah emptying out our tissue box and loving it!  Look at his concentration!  Secretly, I have been waiting for this moment because I remember excitedly going to Joanne’s (a fabric store) after Halloween and picking out shimmery, velvety and fluffy fabrics on sale (thanks to the super moms who make costumes for their kids) to put this project together. I already had an empty wipes dispenser and I just needed a variety of cut out cloth squares to put in it to complete our new toy. Voila! Here it is!

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Micah’s activity box!

After the stunt he pulled with emptying out our tissue box, I realized he was finally ready for this activity. He was going to learn a couple of skills through playing and I was excited to finally get to show him what I have put together. Pulling the various cloths will teach him how to improve his fine motor development. Feeling the various textures, his tactile “discrimination” (when a child uses his 5 senses to learn and experience the world around him) will be heightened.  By learning to open and close the lid, his little fingers will develop stronger muscles and also improve his eye-hand coordination. Who knew a child could learn so much with this box? Not only is this entertaining, it is also stimulating and productive.

In the beginning, he had a difficult time pulling the squares out so I helped him by sticking a tiny piece out.  His curiosity and excitement grew as he began to pull out the first square, then the second, then the third…etc.  He was surprised that they were all different.  He felt the different textures and quickly became engaged.  He picked them up, felt them, ate them, stretched some and waved them around.  Interestingly, sometimes, he would even pick up two different squares, one in each hand, and compare them.  He played with the squares for quite some time.  Just when we were getting ready to put the squares away, I popped the lid and he got excited, again!  The activity continued toward opening and closing the lid.  Literally, we were both engaged in this activity for almost half an hour – his attention was on the box and my attention was on him. It was fascinating for me to watch my son so contented with a box- a used wipes dispenser.  I paused and realized how simple life was for him. He didn’t care about the price, he didn’t care that it wasn’t fancy or even the fact that it was used. He was just enjoying the moment. The purity of his contented heart made me smile. I pray that he will always find joy in the little things life has to offer. I pray that he will be contented with what God provides…even if it’s just a box. I can’t wait to go and get more cloths so I can switch them out and surprise him! I hope your child enjoys this activity as much as mine did! 🙂 Have fun and get shopping!

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This is all you need!

What you will need:

Wipes dispenser

A variety of cloths cut into squares

Steps:

1. Use up the wipes and dry out the dispenser.

*Huggies make cute containers and the little “door”/ lid is easy to open. The rubber opening is also allows their little hands to go through without getting hurt.*

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2. Collect fabric pieces and cut them into squares. If you have old towels or T-shirts, you can use those too. If not, head to a fabric store and cut some out. It’s very inexpensive.

*For younger children (6 months-3 years old), find fabrics with different textures, so not only do they feel different but they also look different.  ex: corduroy, velvet, cotton, silk etc. This makes them excited to see what is coming up next!

*for older children: you can find scraps of different patterned fabrics with different colors.

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3. Choose 4-5 cloth squares. Don’t get over excited and put all of your different fabrics in because you don’t want it to get boring. Instead, rotate your fabrics every once in a while. This keeps the box exciting and mysterious.

4. Put them inside the box.

5. Present it to your child. You can help him/her by pulling a little piece out if his/her little hands can’t reach in yet. Teach them how to pull it out. Let the fun begin!

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Having lots of fun!

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