Pouring is another fun transferring activity that provides life skills and prepares the muscles of the hand and wrist for writing. Start with two similarly sized pitchers small enough for your child to handle. Creamers are good, as are small liquid measuring cups. Keep your eyes open at thrifts stores, dollar stores and places like TJ Maxx for attractive creamers and such. Nice looking objects will make the activity more enticing! However, you will notice the ugly plastic measuring cup in the pictures below. Sometimes you just need to use what you have. Fill one of the pitchers with beans. I used somewhat large beans here (my youngest is just two), but you could also try smaller ones like lentils and see how your child does. Demonstrate slowly placing your fingers around the handle, moving the pitcher over the center of the other one, and slowly pouring the beans. If you spill any onto the tray, pick them up with thumb and forefinger and drop them into the filled pitcher. Now pour the other pitcher using the opposite hand. Then let your child try! There may be some spillage, but no worries. The whole point is to help them learn to do it. Once they’ve mastered beans, you can move on to pouring rice. After rice they can try water. Whenever you let them use water, provide a rag or small sponge so that they can clean up any spills themselves.
Here my son is pouring water from a small pitcher into juice glasses. You can use a small pitcher like this and keep it in the refrigerator filled with water or milk for your child to pour his own drink. My older son (almost four) can actually pour milk from a gallon jug now if it’s half or less full. He needs to steady it with his left hand, and you can show your child how to do this, too. It’s all about progression to more challenging movements. Give them enough practice with the easier activities before they move onto more difficult ones. There are lots of fun variations like pouring with a funnel or pouring from a tea pot into tea cups. You can use colored water (if you dare!). Children can also get less formal pouring practice with a tub of rice or a basin of water outside.
They really love this kind of real-life activity, so set something up and give it a try! Soon you’ll have a little helper for meal and snack times!