Pour, spill, fill, empty, start again, and decant using sand, water, marbles, stones, corks, lentils, the possibilities are endless! Pour them into a box, a bin, a bucket and then empty them. Children love this decanting activity which is not only an endless source of pleasure for them but also a rich source of learning.
What is 'transferring'?
It is to move materials (solid or liquid) from one container to another, and to pass this material again into another container, smaller or larger, of a different shape, etc... And repeat the steps to see what happens! It also involves emptying, filling, spilling.
These are materials that can be decanted:
- Semolina, rice, seeds, sand...
- Milk or compote jar lids
- Pieces of torn newspaper or magazines
- Fabrics, pompoms etc...
For the safety of young children, it is essential to start with large items that cannot be put in the mouth as a whole but can be chewed or sucked on safely. Parental supervision is advised at all times.
To experiment, you need containers:
- Of different sizes (small bowls, basins, buckets and any other container that can be recovered!)
- Of different styles: with or without holes, like sieves, but also funnels, watering cans, etc.
- Of different materials and colours: plastic, metal, wood, glass / transparent or opaque ...
And then utensils for scooping or picking:
- Spoons, ladle, ...
- Various clamps
- Pipettes, ...
An evolving and progressive activity
From 9 months, the child can simply "patrol" a material: touch, try to catch, observe... This is the sensoriality and pleasure of touching and discovering textures with different physical properties.
From the age of 12 months, the concept of decanting can be introduced: the child takes the elements with his hands to put them in another container. As the child grows older, the size of the containers can be reduced to gradually increase the level of difficulty.
Starting at 16 months, we can start offering the child tools for decanting. He can use cups and soup spoons, for example.
For older children, increasingly fine and complex tools can be offered: pickle tongs or tweezers, for example.
The benefits of the activities
Decanting activities develop:
- Fine motor skills (coordination, the precision of gestures, use of a tool);
- Autonomy, by learning to help oneself;
- Concentration skills;
- Logical thinking: solving a problem, cause and effect relationship, discovering dimensions (by separating matter in different containers, the child grasps the notion of division, then also the notion of gravity, when water or semolina is spilt).
- Finally, according to Maria Montessori, decanting games help the child to learn how to keep clean. Indeed, children explore the notions of "inside" and "outside", those of "filling" and "emptying". Items, which from a psychological point of view, can be related to toilet training. Indeed, retaining and releasing the sphincters are learnings which are done progressively, and which can be difficult to manage and understand for the child. Through his experiences, the child transfers what can be played in his body, at a given moment. And with all this, the child gains self-confidence and takes a lot of pleasure in it.
Transferring activities in our playgroup
La Petite Crèche is well equipped to offer transferring and pouring activities and to support the children in their relationship with the items surrounding them.
Pictures of our equipment (top to bottom and left to right):
- Water games
- A sensory table
- A gravel box
- A sandbox
- The child naturally needs to be able to manipulate as he experiments with the materials in his hands.
- Beyond the pleasure he takes in playing with the different materials, the child develops his fine motor, concentration, and autonomy skills.
- These activities also prove that it is possible to propose interesting games with few and simple means within everyone's convenience!