Integration and exposure are the main goals of homeschooling for Owen, our little guy with special needs. This simple activity was a perfect way to tackle both, AND hit some fine motor goals simultaneously.
I borrowed some of Jayme’s small plastic toy animal tube toys, and stuck two each in several different sized containers. I added water and a few drops of food coloring. When the color mixed, I stuck them all in the freezer overnight.
When it was time to free the animals, I covered the table in bath towels. I grabbed a dish basin for extra ice, pulled out a handful of butter knives, and explained the rules to the kids.
Their job was to free their two animals completely. They could use the knives, or any other tools they could think of as long as they were being safe. I passed out the ice chunks and started to work on mine.
Jeff was the first to go search for a different tool. He brought back a hammer, gave his ice two good hits, and exposed both animals. A knife quickly broke through the little pieces that remained. I set him to work helping Sydney–since she decided it was too cold.
Owen loved playing with the ice. He was fascinated by the edge of the animal sticking out. He picked up ice chunks from everyone else and ate them. Finally, using hand over hand motions, he was able to help hit with the hammer. He eagerly grabbed his animal and warmed the remaining ice off by mouthing it.
When all the tube toy animals were free, we picked up the ice and tossed it into the dish basin. The towels went in the wash.
A simple activity to get more out of regular toys, and encourage fine motor skills.