I was reading an old craft book with Nugget this afternoon ("How to Make Flibbers, etc.") when we came to instructions about putting cloves into an orange, which they called a "Sweet Pete". After I read it, it occurred to me that she might be able to do that -- and we just happened to have one about-to-be-thrown-out orange!
It's pretty simple. We used a skewer to make it easier (the book called for a toothpick), and Nugget did a fabulous job of pushing it into the orange (with me holding the orange for stability). She made a small hole, removed the skewer and placed it on the ground.
Then she picked just one clove from a bowl, turned it around so that she was holding it by the top, then pressed the pointy end into the hole.
She stuck with this for quite a long time, and covered a lot of the orange with cloves. It's sitting on our table, smelling fabulous.
I was really impressed with how Nugget handled this. She watched patiently while I demonstrated the first clove, then followed the process carefully each time. A few times she caught herself not putting the skewer down before picking up a clove, but she corrected herself. Also, there were some skills here that she's only recently mastered, like pushing the skewer into the orange in a controlled way and maneuvering the clove around in her fingers so that it was positioned correctly.
I think this was the best activity we've done in a while, and it just came out of nowhere. I'm going to keep my eyes open for more similar activities to exercise her new fine motor skills. Her ability to follow directions is also really promising for doing more complicated things in the future!