I thought I would continue with a few more basics today for my friends out there that have shown an interest in Montessori but are just getting started.
Currently Judah is 21 months old. I started doing “lessons” with him when he was about 14 months. By lessons, I mean very simple stuff (even more simple than this). I think every child works on an individual basis depending on so many things: independence, maturity, busyness, how long they can sit in one place, and personality. If your child is very relaxed you might be able to start lessons like this at 16 months. If your child is busy, like Judah, you might be able to start these at 20 months. Or sometimes even later. It really just depends. You know your child better than any Montessori specialist or teacher. What I can tell you is that the earlier you start doing lessons with your child (even if it’s two minutes here and there) the better and longer level of concentration and attention span they will have as they get older. Just like anything else, if you grow up doing something at an early age, like cleaning up after yourself for example, as you get older it becomes second nature and doesn’t even feel like a chore.
(For those of you that asked, I’m sorry I didn’t cover that in the previous post – I’m still new to all this! Oops! I’ll get better!)
rice, beans, water or any other material that can be poured
HOW TO DO IT:
I give Judah two small cups that fit easily in his hands. You can also use measuring cups, pitchers or anything else that they can pick up and pour with. The object is just to get them comfortable with pouring; working towards aiming the materials into the next cup, understanding balance and concentration, the concept up filling and emptying and it gives so much practice to hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
I fill one of the cups about halfway with rice. I show him at first what to do and how to pour. I show him that you can put the receiving cup on the tray and pour, or you can hold it and pour. For the first time, I will guide his hands as he does it, but after that, I just let him go at it. This is going to make a mess, so if you’re not ready to clean up something messy, this is not the activity for you. But, it’s also good to know that each time they do this lesson it gets a little less messy.
We like to use the learning tower for lessons like this because it seems to keep everything more contained and he’s less likely to get down with a cup full of rice.
Once they get the hang of this, try water (you can make it more fun by adding some food coloring to the water), or give them a funnel for their cups. Something with a handle, like a pitcher can change things up as well.
rice, beans or similar
HOW TO DO IT:
This is very similar to the rice pouring only now you are transferring using a spoon.
Put two bowls on your tray and fill one half way with beans. Show the child how to use the spoon if they are unfamiliar with a spoon and how to transfer the beans to the second, empty bowl.
Again, you can change up the tool to create a brand new lesson. Try different sized spoons, tongs, chinese soup spoon or chop sticks if you’re studying Asia – there are so many cheap, fun tools that you already have around your house most likely. You can fill the bowls with water and use an eyedropper or a sponge to transfer liquid.
ONE TO ONE RATIO:
Ice cube tray
16 of any small item (marbles, foam shapes, clothespins, etc)
HOW TO DO IT:
Find 16 of the same thing. For this specific lesson, I found these little guys at the thrift store when I was waiting in line for $.50. I’m not even sure I know what they are for!! I think they are scrapbooking supplies, but either way, they are now used for counting! Judah loves them and kisses them when we do this lesson.
Put the 16 small items in a bowl and start by taking one out at a time. Show your child that you have one in your hand and then place it in a spot in the ice cube tray. Do that for each one (I know, tedious). If your kid is anything like mine, he will try his best over and over again to put all sixteen in the same little compartment. This is a difficult concept for little ones to grasp. What you are working on is the one-to-one ratio. Understanding that only one goes inside each compartment is hard! I tell Judah that we are putting our little guys to bed and they each have their own “bedroom”. It took him a couple times to fully understand this, but once he got it, he enjoys doing it over and over again.
If you are not new to Montessori, I’m sorry if this seems dull. I can remember when I first got started and all I could find was complex lessons for much older children. So, I want to make sure that I start from the beginning and work my way up!
If you are new and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I would love to help! And if you have tried any of these lessons so far, I would love to hear about it!!
HERE ARE A COUPLE MONTESSORI BASIC REMINDERS:
-Always put lessons on a tray. There are many reasons that each lesson has its own tray, but one of the most helpful ones is that this allows your child to take out and put away their own lessons much easier than if they had to make multiple trips holding bowls and cups and spoons, etc. Their little hands can’t hold as much as ours!
-Work on putting away the first lesson before getting the next one out. This is SUCH a fundamental lesson that will be used for the rest of their lives! Don’t let this one slip! If your child starts this at a young age, you will spend much less time yelling at them to clean their rooms when they get older. Lead by example! Don’t get another activity out until you’ve put the first one away.
-Getting messy is ok! Sometimes all I can think about is the mess we have to clean up at the end, instead of all the learning he is doing in the process. If you have to pick up some black beans or rice off the floor when he’s done, then turn that into a lesson too! Judah has a hand vacuum that he knows how to use and he knows when he is done doing one of these messy lessons he has to help me clean it all up.
HAPPY MONTESSORI MONDAY!
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