Everyday Items as Awesome Toys: STRAINER

Everyday Items as Awesome Toys: STRAINER

Everyday Items as Awesome Toys– The awesomeness of common items in play should not go unnoticed! In this series, we will explore one such common item each time and discuss five different ways to play with it.

This article is exploring the everyday item: Strainer


Strainers are practical and convenient additions to play toys for toddlers and preschoolers. Although strainers are available in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles; use the ones that are currently available around the house. Here are five easy ways to use them for play while building speech-language and other skills.


1. Pulp to juice.

strainer juice pulpKeep some fresh fruit pulp ready for this activity. Place a large bowl, a strainer (mid-sized or large, if possible) and a spoon big enough to fit completely inside the sieve. Begin the activity, by placing some pulp in the strainer and adding little water at a time. Let your child mix the pulp (with the spoon) and witness how the juice strains out. The outcome of this fun (and messy!) activity is drinking the freshly strained juice.

A yummy activity to build attention and concentration. Language use regarding consequences and time sequences (now /later, first/ next) can be strengthened here. By using a variety of fruits, language skills regarding colors, tastes, likes and dislikes can be explored also.


2. Bubbles Galore.

strainer - blowing bubblesUse a strainer as a bubble blower. Best strainers for this activity are the small holed steel ones. Create your own bubble solution (by mixing equal parts of water and liquid dishwashing soap) or use ready-made ones. Dip the strainer into the bubble solution that is placed in a bowl. Let the child blow gentle or let him/ her swing the strainer in the air to create several lovely bubbles.

The child can be involved in making the bubbles, or bubble solution. If you’re building attention, allow the child to pop as many bubbles as possible and attend to the activity. The child can strengthen his/ her oro-motor (blowing skills) here, also. Use a lot of language words that are fun and reinforcing – such as words like- fun, exciting, create/ make, blow etc.


3. Fish it out.

strainer - fishingBe prepared for some water spillage! For this game prepare the following items- plastic fish, strainer (large enough to hold at least one fish at a time), a bucket of water and a plate/bowl (to transfer the fish). Place all the fish into the bucket of water. Allow the child to take them out one at a time and transfer to the bowl/plate.

Eye-hand coordination, attention, concentration, task completion and language can be easily encouraged through the activity. Build a story around this activity to make story-telling and language building a breeze.


4. Sort ’em out.

Strengthen your child’s matching skills, color sorting, and motor skills through this simple game.

strainer ball sortingIn a ball pool (i.e. several colored balls placed within an enclosed area), allow a child to use a strainer to ‘catch’ and ‘scoop’ balls out. The strainer must be large here to give the child better ability to scoop the balls. Give the child clear instructions as to which balls to take out e.g. ‘Let’s collect all the blue balls’. Make the game more challenging by asking the child to scoop out balls of two colors and place them into separate buckets e.g. red bucket for red balls and blue bucket for blue balls. Challenge the child further, by asking them to complete the task within a minute.

The same can be played with mid-sized balloons.

Everyday Items as Awesome Toys

5. Color me.

strainer paintingPainting with a strainer can be so much fun. You can create different patterns by using two or three different sizes of strainers during the activity. Thick poster color or acrylic paint works best as paint, here. Place a large quantity of paint on an open plate. Dip the strainer on to the paint and let the child paint on paper/newspaper.

Teach the child the concept of colors, about creativity and build language about the activity, actions or colors.



Have other ideas, leave a comment about them! We’d love to hear from you.

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Everyday Items as Awesome Toys

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Tanushree Chandhok
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