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Transfer activities are any activity where the child is transferring objects from one vessel to another.

In most toddler classrooms, children transfer small objects like pom poms, balls, marbles, dried legumes, or water between bowls or pitchers (more on specific activities below). 

These types of activities are wonderful for developing hand strength, coordination, and concentration. 

Here are some simple transfer activities you can set up at home: 

Hand Transfer Activities

Purpose of Hand Transfer: To develop and strengthen the hand. Using smaller objects will also develop the pincer grip.

  • For children, setup two baskets (or bowls) with all the objects in one basket and the other empty. Encourage your child to move the items from one basket to the other using their hands - balls, large pom poms, marbles, cereal, or any other small object, like cars.

    Spooning and Tonging Activities

    Purpose of Spooning/Tonging Activities:to develop and strengthen the hands, wrists, fine motor coordination, and equilibrium (balance).

    • Spooning - for spooning activities, set out two bowls and add dried legumes, cereal, rice, pom poms, marbles, bells, or any other small object to the one bowl. Offer your child an appropriate-sized spoon to move the objects from one bowl to another.  See our complete activity set up here.

      Montessori transfer activities

    • Tonging- set up two bowls or one bowl and a suction cup pad or bubble popper. Add pom pomsmarbles, or another small round object to one bowl. Offer your child a set of small tongs and demonstrate how to transfer the balls from one bowl to the other (or suction cup pad).  See our complete activity set ups here

      Transfer Using Tools

      Water transfer:

      • Set up two bowls (or containers) and fill one with water. Offer your child a sponge or the jumbo eyedroppers. Demonstrate how to transfer water from one bowl to the other using the sponge or eye droppers. You can add food colouring for more fun if your child is using the eye droppers. 

      Pouring Activities

      Purpose of Pouring Activities:to develop fine motor coordination, equilibrium (balance), concentration, and focus. These activities also help children improve the use of two hands working together, which is necessary for dressing and many food prep activities. 

      • Pouring from Jug to Jug - Dry Transfer - set up 2 matching, child-sized jugs/pitchers on a tray. One jug has a dry ingredient in it for child to pour back and forth, like dried legumes or rice.  See our complete activity set up here

      • Pouring from Jug to Jug - Wet Transfer - use the same setup as above but one jug has water in it for child to pour back and forth. This activity is helping to prepare the child for pouring water from a jug into a glass, i.e. serving themselves a drink.  Around 12 months you can offer your child the same activity with a very small amount of liquid.  See our complete activity set up here

      Extension Activities

      There are many ways that transfer activities can be extended, like pouring into a funnel or transferring objects into an ice cube tray. Both of these require more fine motor control than just transferring to a larger opening. 

      Transfer activities also naturally occur when preparing and serving food. 

      You can incorporate transfer activities into snack & meal times by:

      • Serving meals family style and inviting your child to serve themselves.
      • Using child-sized serving utensils, like small tongs.
      • At snack time, provide your child with a bowl full of fruits or veggies and a pair of tongs for your child to serve themselves from a bowl or plate.
      • Offer your child a small jug so they can serve themselves water.


      You can find more transfer extension activities in our at-home program here