Thursday, July 7, 2011

12 new Montessori-inspired works...and other thoughts.

After a productive trip to Hobby Lobby over the weekend (and a nice long nap by Tyler that allowed me to really get my Montessori-inspired juices flowing), I have twelve new works to share! Many haven't even been introduced to Ty yet and some of the photos I did take are pretty blurry, so I apologize for the lack of the usual in-action shots. Things are about to get a little hectic around here and I wanted to get this larger post out while I could! The activities are pretty simple and self-explanatory anyhow.

This is a ceramic bank and a bowl of pennies for Tyler to feed through the slot. He then removes the cork to dump them out. I like that the slot is on the side so that he has to hold the penny in a different way than many of his works, which usually require him to simply drop from the top.

This is a simple 1:1 correspondence work (i.e beginning math) with marbles and an ice cube tray. There are twelve marbles for him to work with so there are no extra, a Montessori-must.

I've had these cardboard suitcases around for a while, and after seeing how much he enjoys opening and closing one in his open/close basket, as well as how much he likes to nest things, I decided to let him have these to work with. He's somewhat into them. I am wondering if they are a bit too large.

I found these small wooden cubes at Hobby Lobby and have used them here for color sorting into glass ice cream cups. Tyler instantly had other ideas though, which I'll get to in a moment...

Glass gems aren't generally something that Montessori uses to practice pouring, but I got rid of his activity with these gems due to boredom and still wanted to find a way to use his little treasures. This has been on his table for several days now and not once has he tried to dump them all over the floor the way he started to do with the beans. He loves his gems and has shown respect for them!

He isn't quite using the handle to pour yet, but does well getting the gems in the bowl.

So...back to those little wooden blocks. When I tried to introduce the color sorting activity, Tyler instantly took off with the blocks and brought them here to use to pour. To him this made total sense for one reason or another and he's done well with it, so I've put away the color sorting activity for now. I am not a Montessori purist and love that he used a bit of creativity here!

I found these fun little creatures in the VBS clearance section at Hobby Lobby. I wasn't sure what I'd do with them until I realized that I had the exact shades of these in cups. A color matching activity was born!

More 1:1 correspondence. This container used to hold his unit blocks, but since his stacking interest has passed for now, I've found they hold his squishy/squeaky blocks quite nicely.

Another parmesan cheese container work! These fun and colorful stirrers were again found in the clearance section of Hobby Lobby. Ty had to realize that only one end would fit in the container, which was the biggest challenge at first.

These little containers were found near the unfinished wood area and I've used them here for shape/lid matching. I know Ty could do this, but he wants absolutely nothing to do with them for some reason. I tried to place a few interesting items inside with no avail. I'll try again in a few weeks!

This is a baking sheet with salt used in Montessori to practice writing. You can also use sand. I don't expect Tyler to practice his letters here, it's just a fun (and relaxing!) way to draw. I can't help myself from doing it myself from time to time!

Yesterday he also decided to use his feet to draw with which I was okay with, especially as a kid with sensory quirks. He surprised me as well by learning to shake the sheet back and forth to erase his picture and start again so I didn't need to guess when he wanted me to do this for him.

This activity was created quickly one evening when I was making dinner and a newly-clingy Ty needed a distraction (and couldn't help with dinner unfortunately). Here he simply places a funnel into an old juice bottle and puts markers through it, then shakes the markers out.

We've used his ramp to do some line work, here using some of his smaller pretend play animals.

His Pink Tower isn't new, but I wanted to share here that I've taken away half of his blocks with this work (every other one) to let him have more success with it. He did it correctly once with all ten, but I really felt that I wanted to step it back. There's a fine line in Montessori between a bit too challenging and too easy and I felt through observation that this was the right thing to do. He has stacked these correctly several times now. Success!

Laying them horizontally, and correctly, has now become easier too, but not so easy that it isn't interesting.

I cut, glued and laminated animals to both sides of a large piece of paper when he was a baby, thinking that he'd enjoy looking at it. I was wrong about that, and it went to the back of a closet, forgotten about. Ty recently found it and dragged it out, then grabbed animals that he has to match them to the photos! Next step is certainly going to be making animal nomenclature cards for an object-to-card matching activity.

I just had to share this little moment... After Ty was finished with breakfast the other morning, Ty decided to put the Cheerios that he didn't eat back in the box! I may be wrong, but this just seems like such a Montessori-kid thing to do. Everything has its correct place!

Linking-up with One Hook Wonder and Tot School.


  1. These are all really great ideas! My daughter is the same age as Ty, and I'm totally new to the Montessori scene, so it's nice to see some of it in action on your blog. I have a few of the same (or similar) things on hand that you have, so I may try to come up with a couple of activities for her. I also think we need to re-work how we keep her toys so they aren't all just thrown together but sorted for easier activity time.

  2. I'm always inspired to get to work when I see your activities!

  3. Toddlers seem to have such an overwhelming need for things to be just right sometimes.
    If I close a drawer and even a tiny piece of cloth is sticking out, I'm told in no uncertain terms to fix it.
    If something is put away somewhere it doesn't normally go, they will tell someone.
    They know exactly which clothes/shoes/cups are whos and if someone tries to mix it up, chaos ensues.
    And yes, they like to put left over things back in the container they came out of (even left overs that have been in someones mouth).
    They are teaching me so much. Eventually, with their help, my place will be as organized as yours is.

  4. Great trays! I LOVE making them, dont you? You did a wonderful job! I love the cheerios thing! He is definatly sounding like her is in an order sensitive phase! :) Happy Schooling!

  5. Kelly: I do find myself with an incredible amount of containers, baskets, trays and such...yet always seem to need more! Keeping organized certainly isn't should see the mountain of supplies and random things that are overflowing closet shelves and my dresser right now. No one sees that disaster! :)

    You are so right Selmada. Ty is like that too. We used to joke that he is neater than my husband but it's no longer a joke! My husband tosses Ty's books into their baskets randomly while Ty puts them in order by size and covers forward the way they're supposed to be. It's quite funny!

    Jessica, I feel the same way! It's usually the blogs of others that get me excited to do more!

    Thanks Stephanie! I do love it. Sitting in front of a pile of materials and objects and another pile of containers makes me a happy gal! I'm all about trying to be creative in fun ways and you clearly are as well. :)

    [ owner...still with the commenting issues]

  6. Thank you for letting me know that the little pom pom guys are on clearance, I need to get some of them!! I really like your suitcase activity.

  7. Fun week! I am so glad that they are going to be building a Hobby Lobby near me soon, I've never even been in one!

  8. I used to teach in a toddler/preschool and we used salt "writing" all the time. It was always one of the kids favourite activities. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. My daughter is doing better with writing since I have used the salt writing in a baking sheet.

  10. I love that you give Montessori ideas that use biggeer objects. Sometimes I am at loss as to what to use that is NOT a choking hazzard. One reason why I use very little Montessori in my home child care.

  11. Hi All,
    Please kindly advice if I can get the Montessori Peace Cubes in Hong Kong by any chance?
    Many thanks!