Introduction: Dump & Fill Toy

The idea of dump and fill play can be very exciting for a toddler. They are fascinated by the idea that at one minute a container can be full and then a second later it can be empty. It is also the first step in learning to clean up. This is an essential stage of play development as it helps children establish new skills. Children are developing motor planning and muscle strength from the motor aspect of this activity. In addition, they are also developing cognitive skills such a visuospatial skills, which helps us to understand the world around us.

Any container filled with objects can be incorporated into dump and fill play. However, I believe this is a great choice because of the additional sensory feedback that it can provide. When the child is pulling the shapes off, the velcro creates resistance which can provide the child with proprioceptive input. The velcro attached to the pieces also adds a tactile component. In addition, the wooden shapes clanking into the plastic container creates great auditory input for the child.

This is a great (and easy to make!) DIY project. Enjoy!

Step 1: Step 1: Collect the Materials

What will you need:

  • A medium size container with a screw top lid.
  • Velcro- I used the one with the sticky back!
  • Small objects to attach to the outside of the container (I used large beads from a lacing kit. Other ideas include puzzle pieces, large buttons, or dice) **Make sure if you are using this with small children that the objects are large enough that the child can not swallow them.

Step 2: Prepare the Velcro

Cut the velcro into 1/2 inch strips (You may want to cut smaller or larger depending on the small objects you have chosen to fill the container)

Step 3: Step 3: Attach the Velcro

**Side Note:Two sides of the velcro: the hook & the loop

The hook: the rougher side

The loop: the softer side

Attach the hook velcro to the container (with the sticky back or glue, depending on the type of velcro you purchased) Make sure the velcro pieces are far enough away from each other for the shapes to fit.

Attach the loop pieces of velcro to the small toys.

Step 4: Step 4: Link the Velcro

Attach the shapes to the velcro on the container and you are ready for use!

Step 5: Step 5: Play Time

Use the Dump & Fill toy in play. Have the child remove the pieces and count them when putting them back in. Another option is to have them identify the object (For example: the shape, type of animal, color, number, etc.) The child can pull to remove the shapes, and they can also push them back on to re-attach them after play.