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Jars and Lids

Sweet Pea is 25 months old.


From: This was another activity from by the book  Teach Me To Do It Myself by Maja Pitamic.


  • 5 jars with matching lids.  (I just saved up different  jars with lids for a month.)



  • Remove the lids from the jars.
  • Set the jars out in a line.
  • Shuffle the lids and set them out in a second line in front of the jars.
  • Sit down beside your tot and show him or her the jars and lids.  Tell your tot that these jars are fragile and that they need to be careful with them.  You may also want to explain that aren’t allowed to play with any glass jars without your permission.
  • Pick up the first lid and hold it up next to the first jar.  Make a production of seeing if it is too big or small.  If it doesn’t fit, move on to the next jar saying, “Oh, this lid doesn’t fit this jar.”   Continue down the line of jars, “testing” each one against this first lid until you get to the matching jar.
  • When you get to the matching jar say, “Oh, this is the lid that fits this jar.”  Slowly demonstrate screwing the lid onto the jar.  Be very slow and exaggerated about this action.
  • Pick up the second lid and repeat the exercise.
  • If you think your tot has the idea, pick up the third lid, hand it to your tot and ask them to try to find the right jar.
  • Let your tot finish all 5 lids

Observations: I tried this activity twice about 3 weeks apart.  The second time went much better than the first, probably because I followed the directions for presenting it instead of just handing Sweet Pea a basket of jars and lids.

The first time I just showed Sweet Pea the basket of lids and jars and demonstrated screwing the lids on.  I didn’t line them up or make a production out of testing to see if each jar worked with the lid I was holding.  Sweet Pea did enjoy matching up which lid went with which jar.  However, she almost didn’t seem to understand that she was supposed to screw the lids on the jars.  I demonstrated a couple of times and even held her hands to show her, but she just had a really hard time doing with the turning action with her wrist.


The second time went smoother.  I don’t know if it was the extra 3 weeks (which is quite a long time if you are only 2 y/o)  or if my slower presentation made a difference, but she was able to actually screw on a couple of the lids by herself.


Notes from the Trenches: Sweet Pea dropped the jars a couple of times (despite the fact that she kept repeating to herself  “Be Careful.  Glass. Be Careful.”)   I would recommend doing this activity over carpet.  Obviously don’t use anything  fragile.  We used bean dip and jam jars which were very sturdy.

Make sure you have removed all of the label and glue from the outside of the jars.  The first time I used a jar that still had some residual glue left on the outside.  Sweet Pea was really concerned about  and had trouble focusing on anything else. She kept going back to the somewhat sticky jar and saying, “Dirty jar.”

Also, the Gerber baby food jars don’t work very well.  The lids don’t screw on very tightly.  They sort of  half  pop-on instead.


Rating: 3 Stars * (Fun, Easy,  Frugal)

5 comments to Jars and Lids

  • Robin

    Your website is awesome – it looks so professional.

    Great pictures on this post – and I love that SP was telling herself to “be careful. glass.” 🙂

  • This looks like a lot of fun. I’ve seen these activities on other blogs as well, but you described them in great detail. I noticed the same trend with Anna – some of activities are too difficult for her on the first try, because she concentrates on experiencing new object, etc. It also seems that she needs some time to “digest” this experience, and then next time she is a lot more confident in trying it. Sweet Pea looks so very pleased with herself here.

    • admin

      I’ve noticed the same thing for many of my lessons. The ‘intro lesson’ never goes quite like I expect and I think to myself, “Oh, she is way to young for this.” Then the next day she’ll want to do the same activity again and she seems to understand it just fine.

  • I love how you detail out how to do these activities. Thank you so much for sharing!

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