Totally Tubular

Duration: any

Age: toddler, parent

Skill for Bub: Muscle builder, Just for fun, Mind builder


Pieces of PVC pipe and a few golf balls create a toddler-friendly game that’s not only fun, but also helps develop fine motor skills.

Toddlers want to participate in any activity their parents or older siblings are doing. Play a board game and watch the interest on your toddler’s face. However, experts agree that toddlers are too young to sit and play board games. What interests them most is what the family is doing – the movement of the game pieces, the colour and the activity going on. Parents should encourage this involvement by helping the child “create” their own unique game.

Simple pieces of 3-inch PVC pipe in various lengths (inexpensive and available at home supply stores) and a few golf balls are all that’s required for a fun game just for the toddler set.

  • The lengths should range from about 2 feet down to as small as 6 inches. Make sure you childproof the pipes by cleaning them thoroughly and smoothing out the edges (you can even cover the edges with duct tape if you want).
  • Lay the different lengths side by side on a hard floor, and have your child and other family members roll the balls through the pipes at the same time.
  • Ask your child questions about the “experiment”: Which one made it through first? Why? Do the different pipe lengths make different sounds? Your toddler will quickly learn which pipe delivers the ball quickest and how if he pushes it harder or softer, the results change.
  • For solo play, let your child roll the balls through and then move the pipe so the ball rolls into a plastic cup lying on its side, or let him try and line up the tubes to make one long pipe. Manipulating the tubes and the golf balls helps develop his fine motor skills.