To play constructively a child must, first, be able to put one object inside another and then later on how to take things out of a container. How do these skills develop?

Bringing the hand to the mouth is probably the first experience a child has with putting one object into another. The first three months of life are spent practicing the skill of bringing the hand to the mouth. A child then progresses to putting one hand inside another hand, or moving the hand between holes or slots in a crib, toys or furniture. The hand goes inside, or under a blanket, or into a container. Eventually, a child learns to grasp and hold an object in his or her hand. The child continues this learning by bringing an object to the mouth. These are the child’s initial experiences of putting something inside something else. Usually the child will put things into a container before they are able to take things out of a container. 

The mouth and the hands play key roles in understanding sensory feedback from items in the environment. Children are learning about size, shape, texture, taste, temperature, smell and construction of objects.

Jack Putting Things In Using a Little Room.

Notice Jack's hands going in his mouth, objects going in his hands, and the hands bringing objects to the mouth. He is beginning to use two hands at midline and bringing an item to his mouth. As he encounters a variety of objects in this space, he is developing an awareness of spatial relations. Bringing the hand to the mouth begins while in utero as a child begins to develop important skills related to suckling and swallowing. It is an important skill in developing the ability to play constructively.

 

jack little room

Watch a video of a child in a Little Room.

Zain Taking Out and Putting In

It is very important aht the adult et up the environment so that a child can achieve the next developmental steps. In this video we see that initially the environment was not set-up so that Zain could get objects in his hands or put objects into a container. Watch how as the environment changes to a more appropriate one, Zain’s skills also change. Initially the containers were located on the floor. Although this made good sound, Zain was in a wheelchair and unable to reach the containers. The environment was changed by raising the containers within his reach, and the balls were changed to O-balls and various other materials that had openings. This allowed Zain to more easily grasp the objects, drop the objects into a container, and then retrieve the objects. These small changes to an environment allowed Zain to repeat his actions and work on two other essential elements to constructive play-- taking things apart, and putting things back together.

One Object Inside Another- Holding Container for Zain

Description: In this video, Karen, a dance and movement therapist, holds and positions a container for a boy with cerebral palsy so that he can be successful. He is learning to put his hand inside a container to pull small Orbeez out of the container.

ZainReachOut
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One Object Inside Another- Setting Up the Environment to Promote Success of Learner

Description: The adult must set up the environment so that a child can achieve the next developmental steps. In this video, notice that the environment was not initially set-up so that the boy could put objects in his hands, or put objects into a container. Watch how as the environment changes to a more appropriate one, the student’s skills also change.

ZainInOut
Downloads: Transcript (txt)