Veronika’s latest box from Panda Crate was about the way toddlers learn hand-eye coordination, as well as visual tracking skills, visual discrimination, and more. In other words, there are so many ways to learn to use our eyes! I would recommend this crate for toddlers aged 22 months and up.
One: Wood Rainbow
The first item was a beautiful 3-D puzzle of three interlocking pieces that formed a rainbow. First, we placed it on the ground and I encouraged her to trace the smooth arced shape. It was easy for her to fit the pieces together lying flat…
…but could she do so once they were upright? She could!
It’s fun to sing any rainbow song you know as your toddler makes it all come together. You can also talk about bigger and smaller, with regards to the various arcs. Veronika invented her own way to play with the pieces, too, building little forts and houses for her toy figures, and I loved seeing her imagination at work!
Finally, there is a wooden ball in the crate and she could bowl this at the rainbow and knock the pieces over for some classic cause-and-effect.
Two: Spin-and-Slide Board
This was a busy board in miniature, and let me first say that it is perfect for car rides and I give Panda huge props for it! One side features a scene with a bird and pinwheels, and the reverse had a caterpillar and ladybug, all with gears that spin and knobs that slide.
Veronika was enamored with the images, which were great for counting (1 bird but 2 pinwheels) or playing “I spy”. This is going to be in the diaper bag for car trips from now on!
Three: Ramp Racer
Back to that wooden ball; it also paired with a wooden ramp in the crate. Your toddler can simply have fun rolling the ball down, or aim it at a tunnel made of the rainbow puzzle pieces. Next, Veronika practiced rolling the ball up, or rolling it on different surfaces (rug vs. smooth floor) for an early lesson on big concepts like friction.
She loved using it as a playground “slide” for toy figures, too!
Four: Butterfly Drop
This item was a fast favorite, and I was so glad to see it included because it was a mini at-home version of an activity she loves at our local children’s museum.
Toddlers drop the provided wooden butterfly into the frame and watch it bounce down on the pegs. Of course those toddler eyes are honing their visual tracking skills, while mesmerized! I challenged her to catch the butterfly at the bottom, to insert it right side up or upside down, and more.
Plus we talked about the great noise it made on the pegs: plunk plunk plunk!
Five: Board Book
The book this month featured Poppy Panda giving chase to a duckling. Veronika loved the story, demanding many reads and reading it solo, so I can’t complain!
The Wonder booklet featured lots of helpful parental info, like playful ways to hone visual tracking (think: trains on tracks, ramps, balloons, and threading), and pediatric advice on children and glasses.
We followed up with a few Beyond the Crate activities:
Pillow Path: This classic way to build a toddler’s gross motor skills and spatial awareness never gets old. I lined up our couch pillows in two lines with an empty “corridor” between and held her hand as she ran through.
For more of a challenge, next she walked on top of the pillow bumpers! Of course then she wanted to play on the pillows and roll around for quite a while.
Bubble Burster: Bubbles also never grow old!
To tie in with the Look theme of the crate, this time we focused on tracking the bubbles with our eyes and popping them with fingers.
On a Roll: This suggestion was exactly like a recent rolling game Veronika and I played; we made a diamond with our feet and rolled a ball back and forth.
The sing along this month was a shortened version of Five Little Ducks, an old favorite. Act it out and pretend to be ducks: your toddler is the duckling and you give chase, or vice versa!
To round out the fun with books all about looking and noticing, we read:
Busy Firehouse by Rebecca Flynn
I Spy Little Book by Jean Morzollo
I Can Play by Betsy Snyder