Time Saver, Cost Saver, Super-Sized Fun Activities

Are you looking for activities that will save you time and money but that are big on fun and learning? Let us introduce the first 3 activities from our newly featured series. All materials for the activities can be found at home or purchased in dollar stores.


Find nesting sets of rectangular, square or circular gift boxes in various patterns and colours. Encourage children to explore; opening and closing, nesting and stacking possibilities and discuss colours and patterns.


  1. various coloured shapes cut from vinyl placemats to fit inside each box. Have the children sort shapes by colour, size and arrange from biggest to smallest.
  2. a surprise to the smallest box and play hot potato games
  3. a variety of interesting materials to each box to explore and discover
  4. bells, beans and other small objects. Place in the boxes and have the children shake and guess what’s inside by the sound it makes.


curlersFind bags of velcro curlers in different sizes, colours and textures. Encourage children to explore: putting together, pulling apart, matching and building simple structures.


  1. a coffee can with corresponding sized holes cut in the lid. Ask children to shape sort.
  2. a dowel with a platform (e.g. a new toilet plunger) and have the children thread curlers to the top of the handle. Count how many fit on the dowel.
  3. a felt board and have the children imitate patterns or make pictures with curlers.
  4. a skipping rope and have a group of children cooperate to string curlers along entire length.


IcecubeFind ice cube trays (with lids for better storage). These containers can be used to store self-contained sorting, matching, patterning or counting activities. Just add any attractive items like beads, lentils, beans, marbles, buttons, shaped erasers, koosh balls, pom poms, jingle bells, bear counters, etc.


  1. add strings or laces to the container and encourage the children to make their own necklaces. Beads could be put in a specific order in the ice cube tray and then strung with more ease.
  2. have the children use tongs to move the beans or other materials from the container into the ice cube trays. Good for developing manual dexterity i.e. scissor skills.
  3. attach letters or numbers to the bottom of the ice cube trays; provide other letters or numbers for a matching activity.
  4. create a colour pattern with pom poms on one row of the ice cube tray and have the children copy the pattern in the other row. Make pattern cards and have children recreate patterns in the ice cube trays.
  5. to help children refine their pincer grasp, have them take materials from an ice cube tray to glue on paper for a collage.

Ideas and activities provided by the Children’s Integration Support Services and Thursday’s Child Nursery School staff.