- Empty tissue box or wipes container
- Several colorful handkerchiefs, silk scarves, or soft pieces of cloth
- Needle and thread (adult use only)
- Scissors (adult use only)
What to Do
Ahead of Time:
- If you are using a wipes container, slightly enlarge the hole in the top with the scissors.
- Carefully tie the scarves together at one corner with small knots that will go through the hole or slit at the top of the container used, creating a long length of scarves. Make sure the knots are very tight. Alternatively, you can sew the fabric pieces together end to end to create a chain.
- Make a large knot at the end of the chain to prevent it from coming out of the container.
- Stuff the scarf chain into the container. Leave a bit of the end piece sticking out of the opening.
- Put the box on the floor for the children to discover. Be sure to supervise carefully.
With the Children:
- When a child discovers the box, she will begin to pull the scarf chain out. She may experiment with how hard to pull the scarf chain.
- Comment on what the child is doing, "Oh, look! You found a surprise. Wow! Here comes another one. Oh, it's purple. I wonder how many there are. Keep pulling!"
- Talk with the children about the colors of the scarves, the patterns or designs on the scarves, and the number of scarves in the box.
- Be prepared to stuff the scarves back into the container many times. As the children explore the scarves, they will show interest and curiosity about objects and materials.
More to Do: Extensions and Adaptations
For Older Toddlers:
- Hold the container and encourage older toddlers to walk backward as they pull out the scarves. This is challenging for many young children.
- Read the book Butterfly Colors and Counting by Jerry Pallotta to a small group of children who gather to do the activity. Pretend the scarves are butterflies. GIve each child a turn to pull out one "butterfly." Count how many butterflies there are in the container.
- Place butterfly puzzles in the fine-motor area of the room.
- Make butterfly catchers.
- Go on a nature walk and look for butterflies.
Suggested Book: Butterfly Colors and Counting by Jerry Pallotta.
Song: "Do You Know a Butterfly?"