Starter: Nuts and bolts
Part 1: Knowing screw type activities
The nuts and bolts toy provided in this pack are classified as a screw-type toy where it features two items meant to be screwed together. Generally, nuts and bolts are available as loose parts or as a block-type activity. Loose nuts and bolts are suitable for toddlers as they can use both their hands to screw the parts together. On the other hand, nuts and bolts as a block-type activity are more appropriate for older children where the activity requires to screw bolts into a block.
Screw-type toys provide various benefits to your child’s development. Some of these benefits include developing/strengthening:
- Bilateral coordination as your child uses both his/her left and right hands to complete the task
- Concentration as the task requires your child to maintain focus throughout
- Wrist and hand strength, important for developing good writing skill later on, as your child manipulates the nuts and bolts through a sustained screwing action
Part 2: Setting up the activity
Including the basket or container in the play set-up makes it easier for your child to return the materials to the basket after play. From there, he/she will be more likely to return the basket onto the shelf where it came from.
Part 3: Facilitating the play experience
If your child is not already familiar with nuts and bolts, you may need to take some time to explain which part is referred to as ‘nut’ and which is referred to as ‘bolt’. Then, demonstrate how the bolt is screwed into the nut through a repeated twisting hand action until it is firmly secured. This also helps your child understand that nuts and bolts are paired items that come together i.e. you can’t have bolts without nuts or vice versa because they are both needed together in construction.
After demonstrating on a pair of nut and bolt, hand your child another pair for him/her to try. You may need to remind your child on the twisting hand action and encourage him/her to keep going until the bolt is secured. Here, we are focused on guiding the child on the twisting technique. Once your child is familiar with this, you may then proceed to mix up all the nuts and bolts for your child to sort according to colour or shape before twisting them in.
Additionally, the nuts and bolts can be imprinted onto the foam paper to reveal different shapes. This contributes to building arm strength as a certain amount of force is needed to make the shape print appear on the foam paper.
You may use this activity performance checklist to help guide you better when facilitating your child during play.
Part 4: Storing
When your child has completed the activity, prompt your child to place all items back into the basket as how it was placed before. Then, guide your child to return the basket to the toy shelf. This teaches him/her independence and responsibility before, during and after play. At the same time, your child can also revisit this activity independently at a later time without necessarily needing you there to guide.
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