10 Activities with 1 Lakeshore Toy – Busy Toddler

Busy Toddler


FILL IT UP! FINE MOTOR JARS (sponsored) A great toy from Lakeshore Learning and 10 activities to try with it! Such a fun way for kids to play and learn.

Disclosure: I am a blog ambassador for Lakeshore and am compensated for my work. I received product free of charge, but all thoughts and opinions on the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars are 100% mine.

How many activities can you make with one toy?

Open-ended toys are the best toys for kids. These are the toys with many uses, limitless possibilities, and full of beautiful learning.

The truth is: all toys are not created equal – there are some toys that are simply better than other toys. You know when you’ve found a great toy, because it’s a toy with many uses and a toy that will grow with a child.

RELATED: Looking for more amazing toys? Check out this must-see toy list!


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Look for toys that have longevity and purpose

When you’re looking for toys, check for two things: how long can the child use it and how many ways can they play/learn with it?

Great, open-ended toys have an amazingly long life and uses beyond what we can even imagine.

This is a great toy. A great, open-ended, learn and play toy.

The Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars are (of course) from Lakeshore Learning. Lakeshore always has the most thoughtful, open-ended toys for kids. Toys that can be used as equally for free play as they can for at-home activities or in-class lessons.

These are the kinds of toys to fill your home with. The Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars grow with kids AND have years of potential use oozing out them.

Kids playing with the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars from Lakeshore Learning

Of course, open-ended play reigns supreme. This is a fantastic toy to add to your play shelves and let kids explore, build, and create with.

The toy comes with three jars and three lids. Each jar is specific to fit one of the three manipulatives (that’s a fancy teacher term for “math toys”) the Fill it Up! Fine Motor Jars comes with: plastic buttons, wooden pegs, or foam shapes.

The variety of these items (buttons, pegs, shapes, and jars) is plenty of entertainment for my kids (ages 4- and 6-years-old).

Kids playing with a math toy from Lakeshore Learning

Using toys in learning activities is one of my favorite things. It helps me get all the bang for my toy buck. Notice how the activities grow in complexity – this toy really has a long life span!

There is so much we can do with the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars. Here are 10 ideas to try with this toy:

Kids playing with a math toy from Lakeshore Learning

1. Sort and Fill

I stayed true to the toy with this first activity: dump all the manipulatives into a pile and have your child sort and fill through the slots on the top of the jars.

Never dismiss the power of sorting: this is an intricate skill where children are defining and distinguishing attributes in objects. It’s not as easy as it seems to us adults.

Kids playing with a math toy from Lakeshore Learning

2. Sorting by Color

Set down pieces of construction paper and dump out the manipulatives. Depending on your child’s age and skill level, decide if one or more jars of manipulatives is right or too intimidating.

Have them sort by color. This is a great chance to practice color vocabulary words.

Kids playing with a math toy from Lakeshore Learning

3. Sensory Sorting

Place the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars and pieces into a sensory bin (this one is rainbow rice).

Bury the pieces for a fun part-sorting-part-sensory activity – or just open it up to a free play activity with the sensory bin and the manipulatives.

Kids playing with a math toy from Lakeshore Learning

4. Run & Find

THIS was a fun one!!! On five pieces of colored paper, I wrote the numbers 1-5. I used that many colored manipulatives for this activity (1 yellow, 2 green, 3 red, 4 blue, 5 purple)…


It was such a great gross motor, counting, and sorting activity for my son (“I have 2 blues….I need to fine 2 more!). This was a way cool activity!

Kids playing with a math toy from Lakeshore Learning

5. Non-Standard Measuring

Did you know that measuring in early childhood DOES NOT involve rulers? That’s right! Instead, we want to help children learn the concept behind measuring and the steps involved in measuring, before we ask them to use a ruler.

The pegs from the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars make the perfect “non-standard unit of measurement.” Practicing with a few objects from our house to measure and compare data is a HUGE step in my son’s number sense development.

Kids playing with a math toy from Lakeshore Learning

6. Shape Molding

This was actually my daughter’s idea! She used the shapes in the set as models to her clay work (play dough is great too!). Having guides, she was able to practice making 3D shapes.

We also found out the buttons can be stamped into the clay (or play dough) and that is also a 10/10 winner.

Kids playing with a math toy from Lakeshore Learning

7. Patterning

What a fantastic skill to build in early childhood! The variety of objects and colors in the Fill It Up! Fine Motor Jars set makes it PERFECT for patterning.

This is a majorly important skill for children to develop in preschool and kindergarten – and toys like this go a long way in promoting its development.


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