Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Big Look at our Week

Due to time constraints, I decided to combine all of our activities into one larger blog this week. Here's what we've been up to!

Montessori-inspired Works

Though Ty's not a big talker yet (i.e. not counting on his own out-loud), he loves for me to count things for him. He will touch each object if there are more than a few, in real life or books, and want me to count them, sometimes getting up well past fifty! When counting-out things on his own with his fingers, you can just see him counting in his head. I've taken his lead on this one and developed a counting activity for him. I have a woodworking project in mind that incorporates the sandpaper letters and will suit him even better I believe, but it's going to take a lot of time that I don't seem to have at the moment. This has worked okay for now and is currently his favorite work.

I made number cards up to twelve, with corresponding circles for him to place pennies onto. He's not ready to do this completely on his own yet, so we then count the pennies together.

He also enjoyed counting pennies by dragging them from one side of the tray to the other, with me counting out loud for him. While it's neat and quite cute to hear small children memorize how to count, Montessori believes it's much more meaningful for them to also understand what each number actually means (i.e. show me three pennies). This is easy to do in everyday life with a variety of objects. We started long ago with Cheerios on his tray during meals.

This is pretty simple work that isn't all that challenging for Tyler, but there's something about it that he really enjoys. He simply puts marbles into one of his glass containers, dumps them back into the basket and starts again. It keeps him busy for a good while!

This is more stringing onto dowel work that I've shown a lot of here, but with more of a challenge. Instead of the dowels being fixed onto a board, Tyler must hold the dowel (the stems of flowers from his spring display for now) with one hand and work to string the object with the other hand.  I have provided several different objects for his to string as well: the jumbo beads, spools of thread, and his Educo Baby Connects. 

He was a bit upset with this activity at first as it wasn't as easy, but he was also bored with the easier stringing and not doing it, so this is the upgrade!

Tyler has loved his collection of river rocks since he was an older infant (found at the dollar store), but I didn't really know what to do with them that was more productive than dumping them in and out of containers as he's not into sorting them. This week I decided to use a thick cardboard tube (from foil) for him to put the rocks into. This is another activity that makes him use both hands. One to stabilize the tube and another to insert the rock. 

Practical Life

I'm so proud of Ty for starting to use a cup this week! I can't tell you how many times I've tried this, knowing that he could do it, but all the silly boy wanted to do was play with the water when the cup was introduced. He still plays in it a bit, but is interested in being a "big boy" nowadays too. He's quite pleased with himself!

It's funny how many times I see Ty doing his own practical life or Montessori type things all on his own when playing. Here he transferred water back and forth between two containers. Earlier I had spotted him with a small container in each hand doing the same thing, which impressed me!

 My husband's guitar has sadly sat in the basement the last couple months, but upon its happy return, Ty realized that thanks to his Melissa and Doug Latches Board, he knows how to open the case! It was easy to see how great and "big" this made him feel!

I don't show enough Practical Life activities, which tells me I also may need to focus on them a bit more in our home, but here is Tyler taking it upon himself to clean his table.

Maria Montessori talked a lot about child sized furniture in her books, and the children moving it themselves. Here, after we used his chairs for an activity in the living room, Tyler pushes his chairs back to the his table in the kitchen where they belong.

I freely admit to not having Ty as much work in the kitchen as I should. I am spoiled with an independent child who can easily play and look at books the entire time I'm cooking a meal, so I don't call him in to see if he'd like to help. This needs to change! Here he transfers frozen berries from a bag to a bowl for me.

Ty isn't much of a spiller when he carries his plates anymore, but accidents happen to all of us. Here Tyler takes responsibility for his spill. If asked, I would help him at this age, and I think it's also good to model assisting others if needed or asked, but he feels good doing this on his own.

[Vertical Work] Art

I recently read about the benefits to children working vertically and have been incorporating it in our home this week. These sort of activities encourage dexterity/hand skills, shoulder stability, arm strength, and extends the wrist, which creates a proper hand position for writing later on.

This sticker work is much like the contact paper art that Tyler still enjoys. I simply taped some construction paper to the wall and stuck stickers onto the edge of the wall. The stickers used here were tricky to get off of the sheet, so I stuck them half on the wall and half-way off of the edge so that he can easily take them off.

We are lucky enough to have a kiddo who doesn't draw on the walls, so taping some paper to the wall (with a decently contrasting color to make paper and wall easy to see) and providing a basket crayons on a chair next to it has been a lot of fun! For some reason this different angle has made him get more creative with using more than one crayon at once.

While we don't have an easel, we do have this little desk that I "won" from an area Freecyler that that holds alphabet letters that he can pin vertically. I decided to use it here for painting. You can also affix a large piece of paper to a fence and paint that way.


Tyler's interest in music has seemed to be even more intense lately, so I've worked to give him additional opportunities with instruments, music exposure, and we've now incorporated a family music/circle time into our day which I plan to blog about soon.

I can't believe we let my husband's guitar sit unused for so long. Ty learned to strum with a pick just before his first birthday and showed us this week that his skills have really improved. Instead of strumming one just one way, he's now going back and forth with ease. This is now an almost daily activity.

Ty and I went to our second annual Beatles Festival! Though none of the bands played his favorite song "Oh Bla Dee Oh Bla Da" while we were there, we had a good time hearing some excellent bands! I love exposing him to live music. A few weeks ago we attended a parade and he was entranced by the marching bands.

Other Fun

After a bad storm blew off the lid to his sandbox cover and soaked his sand, I took the opportunity to teach him how to build a sandcastle! He loved it!

I found this metal Tonka Truck for $7 at at consignment store! I was so excited! Ty likes to fill and dump with rocks and to push it all over the yard and neighborhood. I still remember playing with this toy when I was a kid which makes it extra special. 

Linking-up with Tot School.


  1. Great Work! Looks like you guys had a good week! Dont worry about not getting enough kitchen time in! I think we all feel we can do more with our kids! :)

  2. Great activities!!! He sure had fun.

    Just popping in from tot school.

  3. Love the number cards idea! Great activities!

  4. I love your activities. I have an easel but my little girl is not very tall and has a hard time with it. I really like the idea of putting the paper on the wall and at her height! Thanks!

  5. What fab activities-can't believe how much he participates in the activities considering how young he is! I struggle with my 3 year old!

  6. Looks like you guys had a busy week or so. Thanks for sharing the vertical play benefits, I am going to try to incorporating some with my daughter as well.