Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Handmade wooden dowel toy

Being married to a Swedish man means that we have our fair share of IKEA furniture around the house (it also means that they are assembled in minutes without instructions).   It has been clear to us that Freddy (20 months) is currently in the inserting-dowels-into-holes sensitive period and we have several Billy bookcases without their full quota of dowels to testify to this fact.

What to do about this?  How to harness it?

Introducing the dowel inserting into hole activity!

Farfar knocked this activity up in minutes from an off-cut of beech kitchen worktop and a drill just slightly larger than the dowels (which were purchased in a pack of 100).  After a gentle sanding with coarse and then fine sandpaper the block was complete and ready to hold lots of the little 6mm wooden dowels.

The activity is completed by adding the lovely little American flag inspired basket from our recently received cultural exchange package from the USA to hold all of the dowels.

At the moment we are using the block in it's current form but there are many additional things that could be done to add interest such as:

  • Painting the block in rows or sections and colour coding the dowels to match
  • Inserting pipe cleaners or thin sticks standing upright in the holes for a lacing or beading activity
  • Using rubber bands or ribbons to trace out shapes with all of the dowels in place
  • Using screws instead of dowels (Freddy will love inserting screws with a screwdriver)

An excellent fine motor skills and concentration activity for a toddler!


  1. Du skriver så trevligt om alla aktiviteter ni håller på med.

  2. Hooray! I found your sweet blog! Loving all the handmade Montessori :)

  3. Thanks Jessie and welcome to the farm!
    Lots more handmade stuff is on it's way....


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