Mummy School

Simple Home-made Toys for Training the Pretoddler

I have been pretty intentional about teaching my 17 month-old pre-toddler in the area of high chair and mat time training.

Many children at this age does not yet have the imagination or creativity to play by themselves, and neither are they patient or focussed enough to stay put and remain where we would like them to be for an extended period of time.

With a new gained sense of mobility, parents often find them roaming around in the house and getting into all sorts of troubles and accidents. Their new and burgeoning gift of curiosity would also often land them in places undesirable and dangerous, requiring constant parents’ intervention and supervision.

So with the help and encouragement of Ang, a dear friend and mentor to many families in practical and hands-on parenting, she taught me how I can put some easy, yet thoughtful activities to teach self control for my little pre-toddler.

I started putting together these home made learning toys to help Little Missy sit, focus and concentrate about a month ago. We are gaining an increasing measure of success at home and outside, allowing me to finish off my chores/ projects, attend to my other children, or just to have a decent conversation with my husband, which all contribute towards a great, harmonious home atmosphere.

Many of these activities have been adopted straight out of Ang’s blog, others modified and adjusted from other homeschoolers and the rests improvised from what we already have at home.

To organise her table time activities I simply lay them out attractively in a 3 tier IKEA kitchen island for easy access and convenient storage, located next to her high chair. I then train her to stay put on the high chair after her meal while the rest of the family are still eating/having circle time or while I am cleaning up after dinner.IMG_3094When I have new activities I simply add them onto the tray or change them without having to look for them all around the house. I will share how I organise her mat time, playpen and room time activities in the next few posts.


This is a simple exercise of pushing and pulling popsicle sticks into the tissue box and out of the hole at the bottom. This is great for little ones’ fine motor skill activities.


This is an attractive activity for young babies in learning how to transfer the pom poms using a spoon or a ladle.


This is using the same concept but learning how to put one object into one tiny space of the egg carton, which will help towards understanding 1-1 correspondence later on in school.



Using mochi containers is a great way to help with transferring exercise and learning 1-1 correspondence. Here I introduce both bells and large pom poms to help Missy’s interest remain high.


This is a great posting activity that has kept my baby occupied and focussed both on the high chair and in church. I simply made two different sized slots in an old honey container and provided her different materials to post. As you can see in the picture, the holes are getting torn from over usage.

The great thing about this easy to do toys is that you can toss them away and create new ones without spending hardly anything and cluttering your house. You can tailor them according to their age, developmental growth and learning curve and adapt them as their interest wanes. Best of all, you stay in control and on top of their learning requirements and the boundary where you want them to be.


Another posting activity but this time round with  magic corns. Since the magic corns can stick to each other when you glue them with water, I can increase the level of difficulty by stacking a few together which requires her to push them harder through the hole.


This is a pegging activity where little hands can learn to put the dolly pegs into the box through the hole. I bought the pegs from the equivalent of a $2 shop and it takes my child a few tries before she understands how to push them in!IMG_3041

Above is a photo of a contented and confident 16 month old who’s learned how to peg successfully!


This is a little  push and pull little game. The eggs are stringed together and are hidden inside the bird house. We made the bird house last year and is a perfect match to this string of Easter eggs. I hide all the eggs inside the house and leave one little egg dangling out. When Missy’s curious hand pulls that single egg out, the remaining follows! It’s a bit of a surprise to her and then she needs to learn to push them back into the hole and not be tempted to put them inside her mouth as I discovered her doing this afternoon! (She thinks they are chocolate eggs!)

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