Revamping a DIY Sorting and Counting Toy
As T-Bird is getting older and has now thoroughly mastered the challenges of the Hoop Tree, I wanted to spice things up a bit by injecting some colour and adding a colour matching/sorting game element. I considered painting the hoops and branches, but that would have been far to much work. Being lazy, I went for a quick 'n' dirty fix instead. We already have some larger wooden rings decorated with trailing ribbons, so, to make these a little different, this time I went with washi tape
It is really, really easy to do - I just wrapped different coloured tape onto each branch, then added strips of the same coloured tape to the rings so that these can be matched up to the branches. Choice of tape depended what I had in my stash - this is why only some colours have a variety of patterns and also why there is, alas, no orange (I had to substitute pink!) which has slightly ruined my intended rainbow.
From a sensory point of view, the washi tape has a great texture - slightly waxy to the touch - which also makes it stick out at funny angles that create lovely shapes on the tree. As the strips are two lengths stuck together (sticky sides in), it's also pretty tough - much more resistant to tearing or creasing than I thought it would be.
While colour matching is the most obvious way to use to the Hoop Tree, I also wanted to incorporate some additional play and development opportunities, so I made some deliberate design choices when putting it all together.
Using washi tape was much quicker and easier than painting with child-safe paint (ribbon would be a great alternative too, though) and as it is easily removable means I can change it up again later for different activities. One other thing I'd like to do is make paper green leaves, pink and white blossom, rosy apples and autumnal-coloured leaves to decorate the hoops, to give us an opportunity to talk about the seasons and also make the hoop tree into a prop for further imaginative play. For G-Man, we'll put letter labels on the hoops for a spelling challenge. And if all else fails, we may even take it down to the toy kitchen and hang a few mugs on it!
A note about safety. Play with everyday non-toy objects has widely recognised benefits for young children, however these kinds of activities should always be closely supervised. Use common sense to decide what you are comfortable letting your child handle, and decide for yourself what could be a hazard.
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Or take a look at some of our kids' play Pinterest boards for even more inspiration.