Skip to main content

5 Ideas for Toddlers that Love to Squeeze

I have mentioned before that Nora (2.5-years-old) is seeking activities that help to build her hand strength. She must unconsciously know that she will need all those muscles to be ready as she embarks on the sandpaper letters and eventually writing in the coming months.


This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

So, I have been making sure we have plenty of work available to her to help with this drive. I've identified two ways that she currently enjoys building hand strength -- squeezing and pinching.

These two are closely related (opening and closing of fingers) but slightly different. Squeezing is more of a whole hand motion where pinching is a much more refined (pincer) grip.

I'll highlight, pinching activities soon, but here are five ways that we have offered squeezing work to Nora.


Orange Juice

Not too long ago, I posted a video on Facebook of Nora making orange juice. It's one of those activities that she will return to over and over again because it has a built in reward. But, it does take a surprising amount of hand strength and persistence to get a drinkable amount of juice from the juicer.

Large Clips

Here, Nora squeezes open these larger chip clips and places them around the side of the tray. This has been a popular work for her. If you wanted to make this more difficult, you could add a color matching element. I have chosen just to isolate the squeezing motion for now.



Tongs

Another classic practical life work for toddlers is serving themselves a snack. Instead of scooping, try a small tong. Toddlers are very motivated to do practical, practical life so this speaks to them. Whenever, I get the chance to have her serve with tongs, I let her. Some of her favorites are salad, large chunks of fruit and green beans!

Spray Bottles

Here is another super practical work that really focuses on hand strength! Any sort of spraying -- we use ours for window washing -- really gets those hands moving. Spray bottles are also perfect for watering plants, or just playing with in the bath.

Water

There are so many great ways to transfer water by squeezing! I tend to stick with practical applications for toddlers -- we squeeze a rag for table or face washing. But, if you add an empty bowl, a toddler can transfer water using a sponge, rag or turkey baster.


As you can see, many of these ideas are truly practical ways that a toddler can get involved in their environment while still working on building that essential hand strength! When given the opportunity, I will always choose really real practical work for Nora. The little artificial transfer trays are cute and all, but they just don't speak to a toddler the way real work does.

Does your toddler love work involving squeezing? What have you done to fill this need? 

Comments

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2020

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2020 UPDATE: This list is updated for another year! Enjoy a variety of Montessori friendly finds from both major retailers and smaller shops!  So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, but only works for classroom settings. While there are many works that I recommend for home school use, you won't find these

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return.  That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains,  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. "A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be