The Toddler 1 class at RisingOaks Early Learning | St. Brigid, started exploring woodworking this month. We started this with several wood cookies (slices of wood) and put out two different options for sanding, paper and blocks. The children came over to the table as chairs were available and used their fine motor muscles to sand the wooden cookies. We talked about how the paper felt very rough. We used this rough surface to make the wood smooth. Huxley enjoyed rubbing the different textures of sandpaper on the wood but was struggling to keep the wood cookies from moving. Educator Trish talked to him and helped him hold the wood still while he rubbed it with sandpaper. Holland and Cruz enjoyed holding and feeling the texture of the sandpaper, whereas Owen had fun stacking the pieces together. We all worked hard to get the wood smooth before we could begin the next step, which was painting the wood cookies using sponge brushes. The children rubbed and dabbed the paint on the wood to decorate them. Kara looked to Trish for approval and Trish responded, “you can paint the other side, if you want.” She then took her wood and flipped it over. Carter was squishing the paint out of his brush and he said, “like a vacuum!” as he watched the sponge suck the paint up again. Raiden enjoyed the feeling and even tasted the paint, but didn’t enjoy that. Next, we will let our wood cookies dry and then use them in the room as loose parts. Loose parts create learning opportunities for children to use their imagination while playing in many open-ended ways!