Play Everyday

365…ok 366 days of simple, inexpensive and wildly fun 2-year-old play!

{Discovery Box} Shake & Stack

Before you think I’m a pill junkie I should tell you I’ve been saving these pill bottles for years. I can’t recycle them with our local recycling center and thought certainly I can recycle them somewhere. Finding out where is still on my to-do list, but in the meantime I thought I could at least repurpose them and have some fun.

  • Empty Pill Bottles with labels removed (pill bottles work best because they can’t be opened)
  • Dry Beans and Pasta of Varying Shapes and Sizes

I had been squirreling my bottles away in a paper gift bag which made presenting today’s Discovery Box as a “sprize” a cinch.  I just threw some newspaper on the top on we were ready to go.  Before that I filled some of the bottles with different types of dried beans, pasta and even oatmeal and quinoa.  Each made a different sound when shook.


He was excited before he even pulled the bottles out…

He began pulling them out one at a time, shaking them then tossing them aside.  That was a most inefficient system.  Dumping would be far more productive.


His concentration was unbreakable while he focused on his tower…

Followed of course by lots of silly crashing!


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{Discovery Box} Oral/Motor

The idea behind the Discovery Box was found over at The Imagination Tree. These themed boxes, or sets of manipulatives, are a great way for your child to fully take the lead in your everyday play. I like to turn them into “sprizes” for the boy, whom without fail will surprise me with his creative uses of all the goodies that lie inside. Today’s Discovery Box is filled with items that I see as fun oral motor activities. When I worked as a Behavioral Therapist for children with autism, we included some of these activities in our sessions. I’ve since learned there’s not a great deal of research proving these have an impact on a child’s ability to produce certain speech sounds. These activities however, were always FUN and often times the highlight of an otherwise arduous therapy session. So let’s go have FUN! Considering this theme, here’s what I included

  • Balloons – different sizes and shapes
  • Straws – straight, bendy and crazy
  • Cotton Balls – for blowing back and forth (like table-top soccer) with or without the straws
  • Bubbles – we used our homemade bubble solution
  • Homemade TP Roll Kazoo

Other items that you may want to include:

  • Harmonica, Kazoo or other wind-powered musical instrument
  • Taffy or other super chewy treat
  • Party Blowers
  • Feathers to blow across a surface or keep in the air by blowing
  • Toothbrush, especially if you include a fun-flavored paste (even peanut butter would work!)
  • Oversized spoons with a snack (Noah thinks he’s SO funny when he eats his dinner with salad tongs)
  • Candles & Insense (trying blowing them out from different distances)

Everything’s more fun when you wrap it up like a “sprize”.  All I ever use is the Sunday comics pages.  It’s like my signature wrapping now (“This one must be from Auntie M!”)


Noah was able to spend this past Christmas with all 5 of his cousins.  He is the second youngest so anytime he couldn’t open a present quickly, he had 4 pair of hands willing to help him out.  One of our dogs, Digs, is a lot like an eager kid.  We’ve always given our dogs wrapped presents to open for Christmas and birthdays and Digs developed an uncanny ability to unwrap gifts with both hast and care.  Noah immediately handed over his surprise and said “Digs help!”.  Once Digsy started the unwrapping, Noah took over.



He went first for the straw and cotton balls.  We’ve played table top soccer in the past so I pulled out the piano bench for a quick game.


Next up: Balloons!  I had to start them to stretch them out.  He had fun watching them shoot across the room as the air was let out.


After dumping the contents in an already messy room he completely lost sight of the bubbles.  What joy to find them though!  I love that he almost always remembers to say please and I especially love the way he always signs it on that big round belly of his!  “Open please!”



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