I’ve tried several projects with Veronika using pipettes, which is a great tool for preschool fine motor skills, but it’s become clear that Veronika’s two-year-old fingers aren’t ready for it quite yet. The perfect toddler alternative? A large kitchen baster! The large bulb and large tube are perfectly-sized for a two year old learning to squeeze and understand how a pipette works.
As an invitation to play, I put the baster on a tray with a plastic container filled with water. I then laid out smaller bowls for her to transfer the water back and forth, and tinted the water yellow and blue for added fun. (This meant she’d get a color mixing lesson, too, when they combined to make green).
Just as with a pipette, the baster works by squeezing once to fill with water, then squeezing a second time to release it. I was glad I took the time to focus with Veronika on these steps, because her confusion was quite clear at first.
Soon, she worked up to the idea of squeezing, lifting up, and then waiting a moment before squeezing again to see the liquid come out. She was delighted to realize the water had colors.
And sure enough, we made a little green!
After a few tries, her energy seemed to flag and she simply wanted to use the small dishes to pour water back and forth. I thought that might be it for the baster but then…
…she picked it up gain! Now she had a knack for the tool, almost like her brain had been working on solving the problem in the background.
She also discovered that if she squirted the baster into the container of water, it would make bubbles. Big ones, little ones, lots of them or a few; this final discovery kept her busy and happy for quite a while.
I highly recommend baster play for your toddler, too!