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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Snacktivity: Cheerio Stacking

As you know by now, we love to do activities around snack time that we call snacktivities. This keeps them busy so they aren't just mindlessly eating and instead putting their minds to work!  In this case we are putting their fingers to work and working on fine motor skills.  We also worked on our math skills by counting the cheerios as we stacked them.  It helps reinforce the one to one number correspondence. Cheerio stacking is an activity we do often because it is so easy to set up and D, J & E request it often.

This activity requires minimal set up and you will probably have everything on hand.
You will need:
- Cheerios
- a paper plate or bowl (we used paper boats)
- play dough
- dry spaghetti noodles (uncooked)

That's it!  Only 4 things!  And I'm sure they are all things you have on hand already if you have a toddler. Now here’s what to do:

Step 1: Roll the play dough into a ball. I use about half a regular sized container and then put it on a plate or in a paper boat that we get at smart and final.  I like to let D, J & E choose their colors.

Step 2: Put a single piece of spaghetti into the play dough. For younger kids I would break off about a 1/3 of the top or else it is too tall. The first time we did this activity I only did one piece of pasta, but we have since expanded the activity by adding additional pieces of varying lengths.

Step 3: Pour Cheerios onto the plate.  Show your little one how to put a Cheerio onto the spaghetti noodle. The tricky part of the activity is that they have to be careful not to push too hard or the noodle will break. Be prepared and have extra noodles on hand to avoid any meltdowns in case this does happen.

Ready for fun!
So proud of their stacking abilities! 

Cheerio stacking is a lot of fun and as a bonus it has really improved their fine motor skills.  I also love seeing how excited they get as the stack of Cheerios grows. They enjoy counting as they put each Cheerio on the spaghetti noodle.  This time they were saying “Oh wow!” and “Awesome!” as their stack grew taller and taller!  I love them!
Jake focusing very intently

Dylan is having fun while stacking his Cheerios
Emma was also very serious while finishing up

Since this is a snacktivity I let them snack as they go. Dylan typically snacks a lot before he really gets into the activity, but once he gets going he can build quite the tower of Cheerios!  They love to add Cheerios to all the different spaghetti noodles and it looks like an abstract art project when it's completed. However, we finish our Cheerios throw out the noodles and put the play dough away for next time!  
Dylan was very proud of his tower!
Good work Jake!
Emma was so proud of her finished masterpiece!

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