Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fun Montessori activities

I've gotten into reading two Montessori blogs this past week or so. I've spent several evenings after the girls are put to bed, scrolling backwards through their archives and making notes off all the fun activity ideas they have. Seriously, I have a three page word document with links to things I want to try (I'll e-mail it to you if you want).

Anyway, the blogs are at:

I used to think Montessori was some kind of Catholic preschool. Now, I know that Montessori is actually the name of the woman that created it. I don't really subscribe to all that the true Montessori Method entails, but they've got some great activities for developing motor skills, exploring, experimenting, and just plain having fun.

So far, we've added four new things to our repertoire.

One is our bean bags. Over the course of three days, Caroline and I made a dozen bean bags from scrap fabric (a six inch square + 1 cup of rice). We've been doing lots of fun things set to nursery rhymes and songs. It's all so active, that I haven't gotten any pictures of them.

Another, is a garlic press to squeeze small sponges. I was wondering what to do with my sponge scraps leftover from making bread and fish for Bible Camp, and now we have something (my MIL is probably laughing right now). Caroline's played this for the past week. I also Incorporated the idea of "filling to a line" by putting a rubber band around the cup.

Part of the Montessori Method is putting all the items needed for an activity on a tray or in a basket that your child can access (including clean up supplies). So, Caroline had a towel to lay on her work surface and a towel to dry her hands. Plus, two cups, sponges, a plate for the wet sponges, the garlic press, and a container of water. Even now that we have moved onto a new activity, she understands that she has to put a towel down when we work with water - score!

Our new activity is mixing colored water with medicine droppers. I get a new medicine dropper every time we get an Rx from Walgreens, and I wash them in the dishwasher for the next time. We've got quite a stash built up.

I was mudding drywall while she worked and she came in, very excitedly, to get me to come see purple. This set up had three cups that I put primary food color into. Then she had her container of water, three empty cups for mixing, a "trash water" tub, and the medicine droppers.

And finally, an activity to share with Charlotte. We had a rice tub when Caroline was little and we'd been playing with that for a few weeks. But the rice gets all over the floor, even when using a rug or a towel. So, after reading the blogs, I switched to dry pinto beans. We are defiantly getting our $2.28 worth. I think the best part is that they mimic the pea pebble rocks that the girls love to take out of our side yard path. And when they get dropped, they are big enough for even Charlotte to use a pincher grasp to pick up. For this set up, I have the rubbermaid of beans, a large bowl, two measuring spoons that have deep scoops, some small cups, and a towel. I've even taught Caroline to fold the towel when we pick up. I added part of an egg carton today, and Caroline filled up each compartment. I'll probably put numbers in them at some point, to practice counting.