Simple fine motor activity for 2-year olds

I love finding things around the house to use as ‘toys’ for Kate to play by herself. I got an old jewellery case from one of the older girls and gathered loose buttons from the sewing box, and viola! A splendid activity that kept her occupied for half an hour.

Assorted buttons

She carefully filled the container then tried pouring the buttons back into the little box. Most of it fell all over the table and she had a nice time picking them all up. And she did it on repeat mode. Nice.

She was so proud of herself.

“Look, mum!”

After she was bored of the buttons, I brought out a box of mini pegs. If I’m not wrong, I got it from Typo. Great fine motor skills and concentration going on over there.

I was surprised she decided to use her left hand to try it out as well, even without me prompting her.

I also noticed she used both hands to get the peg in a good position, which makes it a great activity for crossing the midline, which encourages communication between the right and left brain.

I was busy doing my own thing and when she called out to me to come see what she had done, I was impressed that she put the materials together!

Sane tip: I prepare it during her nap and take it out when she wakes. I simply rotate the materials every once in a while by walking around the house and picking up suitable items.

Save tip: When I had #1, I made up most of her toys myself. As we started to have more kids, I was too busy to think about toys. I’m finding it fun again to let Kate play with such versatile materials, which is way better than mechanical toys.

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Simple crafting with kids

I tried to do some craft with Kate a couple of months ago but she ended up making a mess and I wasn’t able to handle it. I got grumpy and annoyed at the whole mess and told myself to wait a bit. I forgot all about re-introducing it to her as we were always going outdoors during our mornings together. A post I came across on FB which I re-posted on my timeline reminded me to get started on craft with her. It’s been many years since I have done craft with the older kids and I organized the materials I found around the house in these see-through containers (from Howard Storage) so that I would be inspired to work with her regularly (even mummy needs motivation to get started).

Simple materials

I filled the little tubs with bits and pieces of scrap and unused stuff from the older kids and from our last scrapbooking session. Some ideas include

  • Buttons
  • Aluminium foil
  • Cut straws
  • Ribbons
  • Beads
  • Small pom poms
  • Coloured paper squares

One very useful tip I picked up from that post was to use a tray. This way, it not only contains the mess but it sets a boundary for the child. Somehow, psychologically, it also put me at ease. (art and craft = mess = stress) I found that so long as her work was contained in that tray, I was happy. (Tray was bought from Ikea).

Contain using a tray

I got this glue from Spotlight (around $15). It washes out in water and is non-toxic. I wanted something really mild as Kate doesn’t like glue on her fingers and will constantly ask me to use a wet tissue to clean it off if she gets it onto her fingers.

Kids Glue

I taught her how to apply the glue onto the foam and to turn it over to stick it. She insisted on applying glue to both sides of the coloured foam. Use nylon or plastic brushes (not those with natural bristles) as it is easier to wash out.

Lots of fine motor skills at play

This kept her busy for a good half hour… And ta-da! Her masterpiece. Her siblings returned from school and they all exclaimed, “Hey, what’s that? Nice!”

Kate’s first proper craft session

Don’t forget to display their work. No matter how strange it may look, they will be very happy to see that we acknowledge their efforts.

Sane tip: I used to plan elaborate craft sessions with the older kids and end up disappointed when they didn’t want to ‘do it properly’. Now I realise what is important is the process, not the outcome. I prefer to do simple set-ups and let their imagination and creativity flow and be totally present with them in the process. Lots more fun and less stress.

Save tip: Lots of things around the house can be recycled for crafting. Paper that is used to wrap our clothes bought in the malls, ribbons from birthday presents, ticket stubs and knick knacks from the older kids’ goodie bags are just a few examples.
Update: A reader left a tip on our Facebook page that a cheaper alternative is to make homemade starch glue. Can give that a try!

Happy crafting with your kids!

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Where’s it gone?

At 10 months, your baby’s separation anxiety may start to become obvious. She would start crying when she sees you leaving. Our natural instinct may be to sneak out when she’s not looking (I was definitely guilty of that!) However, that will only make her more insecure and clingy. The best way is to tell her firmly but gently, “Mummy has to go to work now. Grandma or Auntie will take care of you and mummy will be back tonight”. Give her a kiss and leave. Do the same routine every time. She will know what to expect and will be more secure. This will also help when she needs to start childcare or kindergarten next time.

This is an activity to help her understand object permanence – that when she can’t see the object, it has not disappeared. She will realise that when she can’t see mummy, mummy is not gone forever.


2 plastic cups or bowls
1 toy or any object (which can fit under the cup)

I used 2 plastic cups and a silicon muffin cup

Step 1: Turn the 2 cups upside down in front of baby.
Step 2: Show baby the toy.
Step 3: Place the toy under 1 of the cups.

Step 4: Observe what baby does. She will probably lift up both the cups. She will be surprised to see that the toy is under one of the cups.

After she has figured that out, you can start making a game out of it and let her guess which cup the toy is under. If your baby is able to put the object under the cup herself to let you guess, you know you’ve got a cheeky little genius on your hands!

I found it!

If your baby is able to play this game for 5-10 minutes, it’s enough.

Sane Tip: In the beginning you may not know how to play with your baby, but after you start to do some games with her, you will get to know her better and will even start to have fun with her!

Save Tip: When baby is young you don’t need to buy expensive toys. Just look for things around the house which you can turn into ‘toys’ for baby.

~   mummywee – parenting 6 kids without going mad or broke  ~