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Studies at Home for Twos: Week Two

Erin Seagraves
May 25, 2020

This is the third post of a five-part series, Studies at Home for Twos. Each Monday, for a total of four weeks, Erin Seagraves, author of many resources in The Creative Curriculum®, will be sharing guidance to engage your child in a hands-on study of containers at home.


Welcome back to Studies at Home for Twos! Last week, you and your child went on a container hunt to find and collect containers around your home and then investigated how to open and close those containers.

Learning Through Play

As you explored and played together you were supporting your child’s receptive (understanding of words) and expressive (ability to speak or sign words) language skills, fine-motor skills, their ability to persist and problem-solve, and much more. That is the magic of learning through play.

Reflect on what your child noticed about containers last week. What containers did she identify? Did he point out what was inside? Did they enjoy putting items in the container and then dumping them back out? This week we will build on these curiosities to investigate What do containers hold?

Week 2 Activities: What do containers hold?

Outlined below are five activities to explore with your child. You may choose to do one each day or a few activities one day and none another day––whatever works best for you and your child! If you notice your child losing interest in an activity, take a break and try again later. Repetition is an important element in young children’s learning, because each time they engage with the materials they are building on what they know. Additionally, if you do not have the suggested material for an activity, feel free to swap it out for something you already have on hand.

Activity 1: What’s in Our Containers?

  • Collect containers from around your home that look different and are used for different things, such as a trash can, a bowl, and a wipes container. Write the items’ names on a sheet of paper.
  • Show your child the containers and say, “These are all containers that we use. Can you tell me what is inside each container? I will write your words on the paper.”
  • Help your child name what goes inside each container, such as trash in the trash can, wipes in the wipes container, and food in the bowl. Write your child’s responses on the paper next to the container’s name.

Let’s Write it Down!
Writing down your child’s words helps her make a connection between the words she says and the marks you make on the page. This builds an important early literacy skill––understanding that text is meaningful and can be read. You can build this skill in other ways throughout the day such as by pointing to the words as you read your child a story or pointing out the familiar words on food packaging.

Activity 2: Filling Water Bottles or Cups

  • Give your child an empty water bottle or cup he typically drinks from. Ask your child to tell you what is usually in the bottle or cup.
  • Wonder aloud about how to fill the bottle or cup with water: “I wonder how we can fill our bottles with water.”
  • Model how to fill your own bottle or cup with water and then invite your child to fill his bottle or cup with water.

I Can Do It!
Filling their own water bottle or cup is one way that children can learn to take care of their own needs. While this may cause some spills in the beginning, keep in mind that helping clean up is another task in which your child can take the lead. As children practice more and their confidence grows, the process will become neater and your child will have mastered a new skill!

Activity 3: Containers for Sand or Water

  • Show your child a few containers they can use to play in sand, mud, or water such as measuring cups, food storage containers, or clean yogurt or pudding cups.
  • Explore the containers with the children. Demonstrate how to pour sand, water, or mud from one container into another.
  • Talk about which ones hold more and which hold less: “This container only holds a little water, but this one holds a lot of water!”

Where to explore?
This activity can take place wherever it is most convenient for you. Your child can explore water in the bathtub or sink, sand in a sandbox, or mud in the backyard, or any of the materials in a container indoors.

Activity 4: Let’s All Help Clean Up!

  • After playing with your child, invite them to help you clean up. Point out items that belong in containers, such as blocks, toy cars, or balls.
  • Invite your child to help you clean up the items by looking around the room and putting them in their appropriate containers.
  • Say, “Now all of the toys are cleaned up, and our area is tidy!”

Where Does This Go?
Sing this song to the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down” with your child as you clean up together.

It’s time to clean up all the toys.
All the toys.
All the toys.
It’s time to clean up all the toys.
We all get to help!

Where do all the [blocks] go?
The [blocks] go?
The [blocks] go?
Where do all the [blocks] go?
Here in the [box].

Activity 5: Container Sort!

  • Invite your child to play a game with you in an area of your home where things are stored in containers such as your child’s bedroom, a playroom, or the kitchen.
  • Show your child two or three containers that hold child-safe items and ask, “What is inside of these containers?”
  • Empty the contents of the containers into a small pile. Say, “Can you help me put the [toy animals] back in their container?” Invite your child to look for the items in the pile and put them back in the container. Continue the activity with the other two containers.

Sorting With Children
Two-year-old children are just beginning to understand how to sort or organize items based on how they look. At this age, children can often match two similar items. In this activity, you are encouraging your child to focus on looking for one type of item at a time. You can continue to support your child’s sorting skills by asking them to match items throughout the day such as looking for both of their shoes or pairing their socks when they help you put laundry away.

Thank you for taking part in our Studies at Home for Twos! I can’t wait to see what you and your child discover about what containers hold this week. Share your discoveries with us in the comments below or via social media using the #studiesathome hashtag—don’t forget to tag us!

Check back next Monday for our next investigation question:
How are containers the same and different?

For nearly two decades, The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos  has supported teachers and caregivers as they create responsive daily routines and meaningful learning experiences for the youngest learners. Now, with Expanded Daily Resources for Twos, teachers can nurture children’s innate curiosity and interests by promoting engaging hands-on investigative learning.

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