Monday, July 5, 2010

Getting interested in sensory activities

When we began our Montessori journey, we mostly did practical life activities as Ian is willing to do by himself what his mom does. Recently, he has shown interest in sensory activities but for now just those which involve visual discrimination and that are related with practical life matters. Here is what Ian did last week.

Washing leaves. If you have a toddler I think this activity will be enjoyable for him/her since they love to do anything that involves water. If you want to try this you will need a small plant, a mist sprayer, cotton balls or cotton swabs, a child-sized sponge for spills and a bowl to put the dirty cotton balls. As Ian likes activities that involve plants I thought that this activity would capture his attention but, even he followed the sequence I taught him, he just washed two leaves each time. He sprayed water on the leaf, took it in his non-dominant hand and scrubbed with the dominant hand. It was a great delight to watch my little piggy treating the plant so gently.

Sugar packs tearing and pouring. The act of tearing paper is a really good exercise for strengthening the finger muscles. I tried to get Ian to tear tissue paper but he is not interested. At the moment, I have learned to take advantage of Ian’s interests to prepare activities which are fun and at the same time let him to improve his skills; I only have to remember that for toddlers playing and learning are the same thing. Well, each time we are at a cafe Ian likes to play with the sugar packs and emulate us pouring the sugar into our cups and stirring our coffee, so this gave the idea for a sugar tearing and pouring activity. This was set up with a tray containing a bowl with sugar packets, another bigger bowl for sugar pouring and a small bowl for empty packets. I clipped a starting point for Ian to tear.

Preparing popsicles. What a cool activity this was! ;-) A great opportunity to have fun and put into practice the skills of pouring liquids and putting on lids.

Matching plastic containers and lids. I provided Ian with two square containers and two rectangular containers of different sizes and their lids. Ian took his time to match size and shape and close the four sides of the lids.

Sorting fruits and vegetables. There are many opportunities for our children to learn while they help us with groceries. They may like to unpack them, wash, sort and put them in their place, while they extend their vocabulary. Here is a photo of Ian sorting lemons, tomatoes and guavas and learning where to place the fruit in the refrigerator.

Pairing shoes. I put all of Ian’s shoes in a box and asked him to pair and line them in his shoe corner. He is hardly ever interested in sorting objects, but sorting his own shoes made sense for him. That means that we need to find objects our children are most interested in, and use them for sorting.

Matching color with clothes peg. I pasted 6 pieces of paper of three different colors on a paper plate and set up a bowl with three pairs of clothes pegs for a matching and fine motor exercise. The tray was on the shelf since the beginning of the week but Ian just choose it at the end of the week and did it easily. I think Ian knew what the exercise was about as soon as I showed it to him and I guess he thought it was boring. Once again he showed me he prefers to put his skills into practice to perform a job with a real purpose.

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  1. Fantastic activities!! Ian is really getting a lot of work done, and having lots of fun. I especially like sorting fruits and vegetables.

  2. Thanks for linking to Toddler Tuesday. I really love all of the practical life work. Sometimes it's easy to get so caught up in preparing new "lessons" that we forget there's so much for our toddlers to learn right in front of us - thanks for the reminder!



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