When Travis was in preschool, he had a whole “tool shop” apparatus of screws that pointed up through a wooden board, onto which he could attach all manner of washers, bolts, twist tops, plastic caps, and more. It was fun, but it was also complicated! For pure toddler fun, try this much easier variation to keep little hands busy, using only a few different sizes of nuts and bolts.
This is definitely an activity for older toddlers who are past the stage of putting objects in their mouth. And even so, be sure to supervise play closely.
I gave Veronika several nuts and bolts in two sizes, first just setting them down for her to explore with all her senses. I pointed out the size comparison to her, and we sorted them by big and little.
Next, I showed her how to twist the little nuts down the ridges of the bolts.
She quite quickly loved screwing these off and on. At first she thought she could simply push on the nuts, so it was a good lesson in perseverance when she realized that twisting was necessary.
This mess-free game is great exercise for little fingers, and sure to keep mischievous hands busy!