Summer Time: Pouring to Improve Attention, Fine Motor Skills, Independence, and Language

Summer is here!

That means warm, sunny days, and lots of playing outside. When play moves outdoors, there are many wonderful opportunities for children to involve their senses, create memories, be with nature, and communicate.

One simple activity that naturally occurs when children are playing in pools, lakes, or in the ocean is pouring. Give a toddler a cup or a bucket and you’ll notice that they love to fill it and then pour it out.

For toddlers, dumping and pouring are developmentally appropriate. According to Montessori principle, pouring liquids occurs after a child can pour solids. This is because it is much easier to transfer or pour solids from one bowl or container to another. When my daughter attended a Montessori school, she started pouring liquids by using a sponge to soak up water from one bowl and squeezing the wet sponge into another bowl. This kept her occupied for at least 15 minutes at a time – quite awhile for a toddler, especially an active one!

So, if you have an active toddler and want to work on building his or her attention, start with this sensory water play by  transferring liquids from one bowl to another using a sponge.

Once your child has become quite capable of transferring liquids with a sponge try having them pour from a pitcher into a bowl.

pouring, language, attention, fine motor skills, and independence

pouring, language, attention, fine motor skills, and independence

Photo Credit: Baan Dek

Then, once that skill improves try challenging them by pouring from a pitcher into smaller cups.

pouring, language, attention and indepenence

pouring, language, attention and indepenence

Photo Credit: Nongbri Family Pix

If you are a speech language pathologist or professional who works in early intervention, it is quite easy to incorporate pouring play routines into your sessions. And, doing so is a great way to improve attention, fine motor skills, independence, and language.

If your goals are to improve language try modeling target words like:

Oops (spills will happen), pour, squeeze, wet, my turn, and splash.

What are some other words you can target?

Have fun!

Here are some other summer themed posts you may like:

Baby Beluga: A Book and Song to Improve Your Toddler's Language 

At the Beach: A Toddler Summer Book to Improve Language