Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stacking Madness!

While building blocks aren't a Montessori material, it's hard to find a lot of official Montessori activities for this young age, and few parents have only Montessori works in their home anyhow. Blocks are wonderful for creativity, hand-eye-coordination and are self-correcting in a way...when they fall down it's usually because you've made an error!

Ty has now hit his second stacking phase. At around 11 mos, he really enjoyed stacking simple wooden and squishy blocks, impressing us with up to six block towers, but it didn't last long. Blocks became boring and his block center was often ignored. I couldn't figure out how to entice him.

In an attempt to cure his block boredom, I gave him unit blocks for Christmas. He was occasionally interested in building with the cylinders, but it wasn't a popular activity. After a few weeks I took them out of rotation. When introducing them again after about three weeks, I decided on a whim to only use 4-5 of each shape to avoid overwhelming him with a large basket of blocks, and to sort them in this container by shape. Aha! He took to this instantly!

I've found Tyler building some pretty creative towers using many shapes at once, (the most interesting not caught on camera of course) and he takes his work quite seriously. There were a few days when the poor babe would bawl when his tower would fall, then, still crying, would instantly start again. Determination!
Happy with his work!

I like that with the unit blocks he is handling true shapes and getting a real understanding of them and how they fit with others rather than just looking a photos of shapes in a book. This is a very Montessori idea in-line with the geometric solids work he will do as he gets older.

Stacking beads from his bead tree. I've noticed him stacking object from his treasure basket as well!

Interesting way to stack these cups! To be quite fair, I actually have trouble stacking these cups myself. This particular brand seems to be a bit flawed in its fit. Great for nesting too though, a favorite activity.
Color recognition, talking about size and shape...despite the difficulties stacking, I do love these simple cups!

A no-cost way for kids to have fun stacking is to save food boxes and containers for them. I keep these in a kitchen cupboard, though you could use box or crate to store them in as well. Great for keeping a little one busy while you cook! [Note: Tyler's a decent builder, but he didn't build these towers, I did!]

Another no-cost way to keep a little stacker happy is to provide big boxes for them to stack (i.e. diaper and shipping boxes). How fun to build a tower almost as big as you are...and to knock it down! Older kids would likely enjoy making forts. I keep a bunch of boxes in our basement and Tyler is a huge fan. You can buy a set of cardboard blocks that are more attractive, but these work just fine for us right now!  

What items get stacked in your home? I'm sure Tyler would love some new ideas!

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