Everyone thinks you have to buy the most expensive, elaborate toys out there to provide well for your children. I disagree.
I think having a few strategic classics will provide endless opportunities for imagination, learning, creativity, and fun! Today’s pick: a bucket! Buckets come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, with handles, without handles, there are so many to choose from. And what house doesn’t have a bucket? If you don’t think you have one, look closer. Mom’s Tupperware drawer is a good place to start. The cabinet of pots have many sized “buckets”. And dad’s garage must have a can or bucket of some sort that could be shared. Here are the activities I have used with buckets, baskets, barrels, pots, and containers.
- Throw a ball or bean bags into a bucket. Or even better, play basketball! To incorporate your child’s therapy goals into her play, have her stand on a “mountain” (aka: pillow, piles of blankets, sofa cushions, etc.) to challenge her balance while playing ball. This can also be used to practice her catching. You can stand by the bucket and toss her back the ball or bean bag.
- Make “soup” in your bucket with play food or animals placed on other side of room. I frequently have kids walk through an obstacle course for my bean bag frogs to make “froggy soup” and then we “stir” it up with a stick or dowel (or a pretend spoon if there is nothing else available).
- What young child doesn’t love the anticipation of dropping a marble down a spiraled pop tube or even a paper towel tube? It’s a great cause and effect learning tool waiting for the marble to hit the bottom of the bucket. To slip in his therapy goals, have him reach way up high to grasp the marble or to put in the pop tube to encourage extending his back. Or if he is working on strengthening his legs, have him reach up high onto his tippy toes for each marble.
- If you have multiple buckets, you could stack them up, have action figures hiding inside and launch the flying monkey or roll a ball at it to knock them all over. I have some kiddos I treat who will do anything to make something crash!
- Play dress up! Use a bucket as a top hat, or a purse, or a construction bucket of tools. Your child’s imagination will take him on all kinds of adventures!
- Go outside and play! Take that bucket outside with a shovel or wooden spoon and dig, dig, dig! Take it to the beach and make a sand castle, or collect sea shells! Use the bucket to sneak up on someone and pour water on them on a hot summer day!
- Help dad in the garage! I know as a kid, my brother and I loved to hang out in the garage with Dad. He would give us little projects, like sorting his nails, screws, and bolts. Doesn’t sound like too much fun to us adults, but to kids, they love to explore the grown up world. Have your kiddo sort anything into buckets or cans, whether it is nuts and bolts, beads, macaroni, beans, etc.
That’s just with a bucket! Imagine what your kids can come up with.
What activities have you used with a bucket? What are your kids’ favorites? Comment to share! And as always, have a great day!