Tube Fun

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The last time I was at the hardware store, I stocked up on a few items that could make a quick activity for a toddler once put together. A snowy day at home was the perfect moment to pull out those items, and this “toy” came together in moments!

First up was a length of clear plastic tubing, which is usually available in bulk at the store and you can ask to have it cut to size. I asked for two feet, although next time I might make it closer to three feet. Make sure your tubing is wide enough for marbles to roll through; that’s about 1 inch for regular marbles, but I have small decorative marbles at home that fit in 1/2-inch tubing.

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Next, I used hot glue to attach a rubber cork (also available at hardware stores) into one end of the tube. Fill the tube with the previously-mentioned marbles or beads, then glue a second rubber cork in the other end. The toy is ready!

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Veronika actually managed to pull the second cork off, but luckily the hot glue had created enough of a seal that the tube still worked without the marbles rolling out. From here, she loved holding it up to watch the items slide around.

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She also turned it into a belt.

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Or kitty ears, or a necklace!

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If you prefer, you can add a little vegetable oil into the tube before gluing on the second cork; just make sure your corks are very secure if you choose to go this liquid route.

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Snack Switcheroo

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Veronika had to work for her snack today! Kids seem to universally love that old magician’s trick of hiding an item under a cup and then making it “disappear”. This variation involves hiding a snack under a cup before shuffling cups around, but the point is for your toddler to find it at the end. Doing so actually helps hone your toddler’s visual tracking skills, and the bonus to this version is the yummy reward to eat!

Any small snack will work fine for the game; I used crackers, but raisins or pieces of cereal are other good options.

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I first hid a cracker under one cup in a cluster of four, making sure she saw where it was, then said to Veronika, “Where’s your snack?”

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I slowly shuffled the cups (you don’t want to make this too hard for a 2 year old), then took my hands away and repeated the question.

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She was instantly a little ham and loved the theatrics involved in the game! “Is it under this cup?” she would ask, lifting up for a reveal.

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She giggled when the cracker wasn’t there…

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…and was consistently surprised and delighted when it was. Her surprise showed me that she still hasn’t learned to visually track the correct cup, but clearly today the game was about her enjoyment and theatrics. All in all, it turned snack time into an activity that fed both bellies and brains!

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