Sensory/Fine Motor Skills Play with Tapioca Pearls

I had some cooked sago (tapioca pearls) left over from a rather dismal attempt at making mango sago dessert—which I only tried in the first place because I didn’t know what to do with the can of condensed milk that the maid mistakenly opened instead of evaporated milk. Anyway, I wasn’t in the mood to do any further recipe experiments with the leftover sago so it seemed much more fun to let the twins play with the slippery little beads.

I just dumped the sago in the table where they usually do their water play, handed them a couple of empty bottles with small openings, and encouraged them to fish pearls out of the water and put them inside the bottles. That simple!



Of course, it was rather too simple that soon enough they were ready to move on to other things. So after a while, in addition to the sago and bottles, the water table had also contained cups, sponges, AND their clothes to boot, which they wanted to wash.

I stored the sago pearls in the fridge and brought them out to be played with again a couple of days after. To make things more challenging, this time I gave them spoons to use in scooping out pearls. This got them engaged a little longer, and also provided the opportunity for a bit of counting and problem solving: How many pearls have you got there? Only one? Can you scoop out two? Oh that’s a lot, can you shoot all that in the bottle? How many can go inside?


They could only successfully scoop the pearls when they were getting them from the container, but once all the pearls were already submerged in the water, they couldn’t fish them out anymore using the spoon and went back to using their hands again. Would be interesting to see their skills develop; I wonder when they’d be adept enough to spoon things from under the water!

As always, the messy play becomes an easy transition to bath time, which we often do outdoors these days because of the crazy heat. Out come the hose, the tub, the batya. We toss a few cups in the water, the one with holes in the bottom, and let them scoop and pour and spill to their heart’s content. Afterwards, the twins like pointing out the wrinkled pads of their fingers: “Kulubot!” they’d say (or, you know, their mangled pronunciation of the word).

I sometimes dread the time when you won’t be entertained so easily anymore, my girls. But for now, I’m enjoying the simplicity of your fun, of the sheer delight in your faces as you examine your wrinkled fingers and proclaim “Kulubot!”