10 ways to use Cheerios

Most toddlers loves eating Cheerios as a snack, but did you know there are so many more ways to use Cheerios? And they're all a ton of fun! Those tiny Os are perfect for helping toddlers play games, practice new skills, make fun crafts, or learn things about the world around them.

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For toddlers, just about any fun activity is an opportunity to develop skills and practice what they have learned. With all activities, especially those using food, be watchful of what they put in their mouths to keep them safe and sound.  Here are 10 great ideas for using Cheerios beyond snack time.

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1. Counting with Cheerios: Help introduce your younger toddler to numbers by counting all the Cheerios on her tray. You can also let her transfer Cheerios from one bowl to another, counting along as she moves them.

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2. I-Spy bottle: Fill a recycled plastic water bottle with Cheerios, and add some other items such as colorful pom-poms, small toys, and letter magnets. Bring the I-Spy bottle along with you on car rides to help keep your kiddo entertained.

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3. Cheerios dot placemat: Let older toddlers create a dotted picture with paint daubers. When painting is dry, laminate for use as a placemat. For a fun activity, encourage your little one to put Cheerios on each dot on the placemat.

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4. Food faces: Use Cheerios and sliced fruit to make funny faces on your plate, or on top of a piece of toast.

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5. Make your own snack mix: For a fun activity, present your toddler with a variety of snack mix ingredients in individual bowls, such as Cheerios, nuts, pretzels, raisins, and let him measure out handfuls of each ingredient into a baggie to make his own signature snack mix. For younger toddlers, demonstrate how to grab goodies and put them into a bag – this is entertaining all by itself! Don't forget to make a big show of zipping the bag and mixing everything together before snack time!

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6.  Cheerios share packages: Help your toddler fill small snack-sized zip-top bags with Cheerios (or your snack mix!) to bring along with you when you go to the playground. With other parents' permission, encourage child to share a snack with other kids who are playing.

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7. Targets for potty training: Anything that can make potty training entertaining is a great trick to have up your sleeve. Your early potty trainer will have fun aiming when you drop a Cheerio into the potty and encourage him to hit it. 

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8. Fun fine motor skills practice: You'll be amazed at how focused a toddler will get when stringing Cheerios on a pipe cleaner. This helps your kiddo develop her pincer grasp, as well as hand-eye coordination. Also try sticking pipe cleaners or uncooked spaghetti into a mound of playdough and then putting Cheerios onto them.

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9.  Cheerios sensory bin: fill a plastic shoebox with Cheerios and add scoops, bowls, spoons, and other toys. For extra fun, add themed items, such as dinosaurs, construction vehicles, or rainbow colored toys.

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10. Cheerios Bingo: For a fun 1st birthday party activity, use Cheerios as markers for bingo cards. Each child gets a simple bingo card and a cup of Cheerios. Buy printable bingo cards online, or create your own with simple images that toddlers will easily recognize, like fruit, animals, or clothing items.

Heather Mann is a mom of 4 boys who designs clever crafts with a frugal twist at Dollar Store Crafts.