My toddler loves to play with locks!! It's a lot like doing a puzzle, you need to put the key into the lock in just the right way. Using a lock and key is fantastic for the child's developing fine motor skills, coordination and concentration. Best of all many of these activities can be put together using materials found around the home. Here are five lock and key activities my toddler (at 23 months) is loving:
1. Cash Box - this is a favourite!! The idea is the toddler can post or insert the coins and then use the keys and lock to get the coins out. We've used a small lockable Cash Box that was only a few dollars, and presented it on a tray. We could also use buttons or even card discs for inserting into the Cash Box, but the coins make a nice satisfying sound.
Putting the coins in.
Unlocking the Cash Box to get the coins out.
2. Lock Box - all of my children have loved using a Lock Box, they offer the child the opportunity to practice different grips and hand movement to open different locks. This Lock Box is c/o Lovevery.
3. Real Locks - my toddler loves to pull his kitchen helper up to the kitchen door and insert the key. One of our previous homes had a low lockable letter box, my children loved to use the key to unlock and open the letter box every day.
4. Trinket Box - this is a lockable wooden Trinket Box (UK link), the key is very small but this adds to its charm and also challenges the child's fine motor skills. We can put a small surprise like a little bell or model animal inside the Trinket Box for the child to find.
This lock requires a full turn of the key, making it slightly more difficult that the above Cash Box.
5. Padlock - my toddler finds this challenging but also satisfying. The child is simply able to lock and unlock the Padlock. For older children you can add more locks and more keys! For now the one lock and key is enough. For size reference the Padlock pictured is 40mm.
This is a lovely extension idea with mixed locks and keys, for an older child perhaps two to three years+. Here I've simply collected spare locks I've found around the house including padlocks and a bike lock.
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