Fine Motor: Bean Scoop

Bean scoop… so easy but such a fun addition to the week! A simple bag or 2 of beans in a large container along with spoons, cups, bowls & measuring cups!


This activity gets repeated a lot throughout the fall activity plans. I do that for a couple of reasons.

  1. Kids keep having fun! They enjoy getting to play again and again with materials that they don’t see on a regular basis.
  2. Your child will build upon what they learned & experienced last time they did the bean scoop activity. They will be able to do some of the same things they tried before, as well as try new ideas.
  3. If your kids keep enjoying the activity, they are still having fun and learning at the same time, why make it complicated? By keeping it simple we make it something that we can keep doing because we aren’t constantly preparing new play materials!

IMG_0549This time- since it was our first time I put the beans in a bowl and provided a small muffin tin and a small spoon to scoop beans into the individual sections of the muffin tin. Since we will do this several more times though, here are some other ideas to keep it fresh if your child needs some new ideas!

-The simplest variations to doing this activity are to offer new kinds of spoons and containers every time you do it. Also, help your child stay engaged by giving new ideas of ways to play or use the utensils to dig in.

-Your child can pretend they are cooking with the beans. Put 1 or 2 bags of beans in a large container and provide measuring cups, spoons, and smaller bowls. Give them ideas about measuring out different amounts of beans into the other bowls. They can also stir them and pretend to be making their own dish. Adds Early Science and Math concepts.

-Older 2’s, 3’s and 4 year olds may like to sort the beans. My 5 year old begged to get to do this activity this week too, and this is how she wanted to do it:


Let’s talk about what’s going on here:

IMG_0554Fine Motor: Of course, this is a fine motor activity so there is a lot of fine motor experience happening! The muscle movements can change though. For instance if your child is using their fingers to pick up the beans and move them they will probably be practicing the pincer grasp (thumb and forefinger together). If you give them measuring cups they will be needing to really engage their forearm muscles to dig the scoop down into the beans. Alternatively, using smaller spoons will require them to use more control to balance their spoonful of beans to transfer to the other container. Keep it fresh and offer different ways to do this activity! Your children will continuously have fun and they will be able to practice different types of fine motor movement!

Sensory: Do you remember the old sensory table in preschool? There’s a good chance you played with things like rice, sand, and maybe even beans. If your child is using their bare hands to move the beans they are also getting a sensory experience!

Early science and math: Using scoops, measures and spoons, and moving beans to other containers is giving your child early play experience with volume. What fits and what doesn’t? What happens when I fill the measuring cup too full? This scoop is bigger than the other one. How can I fill the bowl? Although they aren’t explicitly asking these questions, they are learning these concepts by early experimentation!

Happy Playing!



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