I've never met a toddler that doesn't love a little spray bottle!! Mini spray bottles are fabulous for developing hand strength and can be used for lots of practical life activities. Needs some ideas?
Mini spray bottles can be used in the home for toddlers and preschoolers for:
- Care of Self Activities
- spraying hair, to smooth it in the mornings or to add a leave-in conditioner.
- cooking, spray water on bread before baking.
- Care of the Environment Activities
- window washing, or mirror washing.
- in the kitchen to wipe counter-tops, wipe down tables, clean out fridge, general dusting, to put in a child's cleaning caddy.
- to spray and help clean the child's trike, bike, or balance bike with a sponge or cloth.
- a general-purpose cleaning spray for the bathroom.
- to spray plants to water them or to help clean their leaves.
- for a linen or room spray (for older children perhaps with a touch of lavender oil).
- Art Activities
- for liquid watercolour paints in the art area (even better if you have an outdoor arts area).
- for spraying a vinegar mixture on baking soda for art/science lesson.
- for spraying the pavement outdoors in hot weather, or to wash off chalk used on pavement.
- in the bath or water table for water play, could add colours for water colour mixing.
We can use colour coding to remind the child what the bottle is for, perhaps green for plants or as we do the yellow spray bottle is matching with the window squeegee for window washing.
For my toddler (27 months) we only put water in his spray bottles but you may want to put a little vinegar in the bottle or a little lemon juice. Vinegar and lemon juice are suitable for cleaning, vinegar will make the solution smell a little different which is a good reminder for the child that the water isn't for drinking, both vinegar and lemon juice will taste different.
Our mini spray bottles range from 120 to 250mls. One of the most important things to consider when selecting a spray bottle for a toddler or very young child is the distance to the trigger and how easy it is to use, can the toddler reach and use the trigger, many bottles have smaller capacity but a standard size trigger. It can be helpful to have your toddler in store when choosing a spray bottle.
How to select a suitable spray bottle for a toddler or preschoolers:
- 120-250ml capacity is good, enough to clean with and not too heavy for a toddler to hold with one hand.
- ensure the trigger is child size and the child can reach and use the trigger.
- a clear and/or transparent bottle is helpful so the child can see how much water/liquid is in the bottle, so they can see when the bottle is low or empty and a young child can see how the bottle works.
- look for models which have the spray nozzle that cannot be removed by the child (like the white and yellow models above).
These little spray bottles can be found in hardware stores, department and discount stores. Montessori stores often stock them and this can be useful as they can give specific guidance of which ones are best for toddlers.