A few months ago, your toddler might have carried objects from one place to another one-by-one in their hands. Somewhere between 17 and 24 months, they will start to get more strategic, using a bucket or container to be more efficient.
Their little bustling movements might not seem to have a purpose to you, but your toddler definitely has a plan 😉. They’re starting to use tools to solve problems—thinking ahead and inventing new methods to reach their goals.
Walking while carrying (or pushing) an object requires more coordination and motor skills than walking empty-handed. By holding onto a bucket or basket while walking, your toddler learns that they can carry several items from place to place.
The best containers for transporting have two rigid handles and a wide opening, like a basket. Toddlers also like to collect objects in baby strollers and small shopping carts.
Your child is also learning to put a group of items into a container, without taking any out until they’re finished. When they spend time putting objects in containers and taking them all out again, they learn how to increase focus and extend their attention span. They are also practicing more refined grasp and release skills while cultivating independence.
How to support your transporting toddler:
Show your child how to use the bucket to transport or carry things during play.
To practice walking backwards, ask them to help you carry the large bucket to another part of the room. Let them walk backwards, holding one edge of the bucket while you slowly push the other.
Place small items in a container
Give your toddler a group of items (maybe some beads from the lacing kit) and a container and encourage them to put all of the beads into the container. Mastering this skill may also make cleanup more fun 💫
Find and collect treasures
Give your child the container and take them on a walk outside or around your home. See if they want to pick up “treasures” they find along the way, and invite them to put everything they find in the container. You might be surprised by how long your toddler will be happy to walk, picking up treasure after treasure for their collection.
Build motor skills
They will build gross and fine motor skills—as well as curiosity—as they walk, squat, and collect discoveries.
Pack your bags
Allow them to help you pack a bag when you’re going on an adventure. They can put in diapers, wipes, water bottle, snacks, books, etc.