Sunday, August 1, 2010

Diversifying activities

Ian is growing every day and his interests have been diversifying. We still spend the major amount of time doing practical life and visual discrimination activities, but I've been looking for other activities in areas like: science, sensorial, language and math that could capture Ian's interest. Last week we did a "float and sink" science activity and this week we explored smells, stressed in language while working in matching activities and introduced patterns.

Here is the review of the activities:

Practical Life:

Arranging Eggs. Ian is always ready to help with eggs. He usually helps me peeling and cracking them and  this week he enjoyed transferring the eggs from the cardboard tray to refrigerator trays. He has learned to take the eggs carefully without breaking a single one. This activity has reinforced the concept of one-to-one correspondence.

Preparing mashed potato. Every time I cook I try to involve Ian as much as possible according to his skill level and this week I thought that he was ready to prepare mashed potato: he used the potato masher, pressed it down (he did not do a twist motion); shook salt and pepper shakers and said "too much!" :-) just as Daddy says to him every time Ian plays with the spice shakers; spooned the margarine and stirred it all up.

Sweeping into a dustpan. This is a house chore Ian wants to do by his own every time he sees me with the dustpan and brush. He has been sweeping rose petals and getting better at it.

Hair barrettes and headbands. I had seen this activity in My Montessori Journey. I am sure Daddy will say this is a girly activity :-), but I say it is a fun fine motor skills and sensorial activity ... and Ian likes it a lot!!!
I got two pairs of barrettes and two pair of headbands of the same color and Ian had to unsnap every barrette and then snap it onto a matching color headband. Unsnapping and specially putting the headband inside the barrette and snapping it, challenged Ian's concentration and fine motor skills.

Pre-Reading Skills

Matching picture to object. We've been working with matching pictures to silhouettes and I recently realized I should start with matching objects and gradually move to more abstract matching activities such as the silhouette ones. Well, while I was looking for pairs of objects to match, I set up two picture-to-object matching activities. The first set contained objects we found around the house (actually it was aimed at attracting Ian's interest) and the second one contained vegetables and fruits. I know for this activity I should use picture cards and teach Ian how to order the cards one by one from left to right, horizontally, before doing the matching, but for now the less formal the "lesson" the most likely that Ian will be engaged with it. Well, Ian enjoyed both activities and did them pretty well.

Sensorial (and more fine motor skills)

Color matching with dot stickers.  I was using color dots stickers to prepare material to introduce patterns, when Ian started sticking the stickers everywhere. So, I improvised a simple worksheet with color dots to give him something more interesting to do.

Pipe cleaner and beads.  The original version of this activity come from Itty Bitty Love. I changed it a bit and got Ian busy pushing pipe cleaners (of primary colors) into the holes of a shaker and then stringing same-color beads onto the pipe cleaners.


Spice Collage. As I told you in previous posts, Ian likes to mix chopped vegetables before I put the saucepan on the stove. Lately, I also let him spice the mix and I've noticed that Ian likes to smell the spice bottles and somethimes he ventures to taste the spices. Since then, I have been thinking of Montessori smelling bottles, but I think that Ian is not ready yet to pair or classify the smells, so I preferred to set up an art activity where Ian can explore multiples smells. All we needed for this activity was paper, spice bottles and glue and maybe a paintbrush. Ian dribbled glue on the paper (he was not interested in using the paintbrush to spread the glue on the paper), then he took his time to open each spice bottle, smell it, shake it if it had a hole top or otherwise pincer grip the spices and sprinkle them over the paper.
What I loved about this activity was how it encouraged Ian to touch, smell, see, and even taste.
It also is a great opportunity to get further practice with lids. Fortunatelly, I have different spice bottles, some require to be screwed and others lifted. Ian almost forgot what he was doing when he discovered the paprika can, he spent a lot of time opening and closing the three different tops.
Another thing that I liked about it was that it is easy to clean up. This reminds me of the experience of Nicole at One Hook Wonder with glitter :-)

Finally, I love the exquisite aroma of the picture!!!

Pre-math skill

Introducing Pattern. In order to build math readiness skills, I've involved Ian in activities aimed at developing number recognition and one to one correspondence. Now, I want to introduce sequencing activities so that Ian begins to recognize, describe, reproduce, extend, create and compare repeating patterns. I am looking for fun activities to get Ian into it, but first I wanted to know what is our starting point using this homemade material.

I noticed that even when Ian put the ring on the correct pin (according to the color) he did not do it sequentially. And when I put the pattern card in the tray, he did not follow it at all, he put the rings on any pin.

So, I prepared a playful  activity to start talking about patterns. I printed two sets of this Hungry Caterpillar Cut and Paste worksheet, colored both, used one to build the pattern and give the pieces of the other to Ian and I was surprised that he could alternate the blue and green pieces mostly well.

I am sharing this post in One Hook Wonder where you can see other toddlers learning according the Montessori Method.


  1. You have some really great activities for Ian. Love the practical life works!!

  2. So many neat activities! Thanks for sharing :-)

  3. I love the activity with the hair clips and bands!

  4. Very neat activities. What variety! Looks like Ianis enjoying all of the different works you have for him.
    My sons are attending an Eric Carle themed Summer Camp this week. Since your son looks like he enjoyed doing the Very Hungry Caterpillar work, you might like my post, as I have several links for projects tied in with Eric Carle books.
    Have a nice week,

  5. What a fabulous week! Again, I love how much you involve Ian in everyday tasks. I also loved the spice collage - I will be trying that with my boys. Down with glitter...heehee! Thanks for linking up to Toddler Tuesday.

  6. What a great activity! Just wanted to let you know I featured you on Tot Tuesdays this week!



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