Toddlers love little jars, toddlers love lids, and toddlers love surprises. This activity ticks off all 3 boxes!
I had a few old baby food jars that were rinsed and cleaned, with the labels off, and I knew they would make perfect little “treasure boxes” for Veronika.
I filled each jar with a small item for her to discover, aiming to make them as varied as possible. Two contained small toys (a plastic dinosaur and a Duplo figure), one was more sensory (fluffy pom poms), and one was a yummy treat (cereal to snack on).
She immediately wanted the lids off. I had left them loose, so she was quite pleased to discover she could twist them off herself.
She was well rewarded.
“Cereal!” she declared after opening the first, and immediately began snacking.
Her exploration continued. “Ooh, pom poms!” she said, peering deep inside. The two toys got a similar reaction. What could this be?
Then she discovered she could put the lids on and trap the toys, and do it all over again. Another toddler favorite: repetition!
For added sensory fun, we shook the jars. The Duplo was loud and the pom poms were very quiet. “Shh,” she said.
Then of course she practiced dumping everything out.
Picking up cereal pieces and transferring them back into a jar was great for her pincer grip development. Little jars like this are fantastic, and you can leave some around for solo play any time.
Since the baby food jars were glass, I made sure Veronika played over a padded surface. If you’re using plastic jars instead, leave them anywhere around the house! They can be “discovered” and played with over and over again.
If your toddler is older, make the containers harder to get into, like those with a zipper or buckle closure.