Here are some of the activities we've been up to in the last week! I felt like a lot of these challenged Tyler just enough, and some took him just a bit out of his comfort zone, which felt good for both of us when he was successful! I often feel like he masters things far too quickly and I'm left scrambling to come up with more, more, more. These should last!
We worked on sorting shapes, using objects that were square, circular and triangular. Ty knows his shapes, but sorting isn't always his thing. I hoped to be able to gently challenge and convince him to give it a try.and did wonderfully. Though Montessori isn't into pushing kids to do what they don't want (learning is joyful!), if a child is avoiding a certain area, there are attempts to entice them. I felt like this went pretty well. He seemed proud of himself for completing the task!
On that note, I wanted to quickly show these soft shapes from Manhattan Baby. Ty's had these since he was born and they're a wonderful sensory experience with different textures, patterns and have a light jingly and crinkly sounds. You can think of them as early and safe geometric solids! I rediscovered these when I was gathering items for a garage sale and realized how very "early Montessori" they were!
Ty has never wanted to even attempt lacing beads until this week, telling me "no" whenever I demonstrated. They're still not his favorite work ever, but he can do it and feels quite proud of himself when he laces them all! This is a great skill for him to practice as it forces him to use two hands together in a really coordinated way, something he can be lazy about at times.
Along the same lines, Ty has really gotten into his Educo Baby Connects as well (kind of like pop beads but more complex). It used to be that I would have to connect them in some fashion myself and then he would work to pull them apart, but now he's enjoying putting them together! I didn't care for this product at first as the plastic is soft and seemed kinda flimsy, but they're working well!
Thanks to the Pink Tower, as well as just pointing out big and small in every day life and books, Tyler has a good grasp on the concepts of big and small. The next sensorial area I'm introducing is "tall" versus "short". Some of his mini cylinders are graded by height, but we haven't had a lot of discussion around them as I tend to let him work alone with these materials. Here I used some of his short and tall cylinders from his unit blocks. My intent was to have him sort by height, but he wanted to stack instead. I worked with it, labeling each block "tall" and "short" as he stacked them, then he began labelling them on his own.
We've also started working on "tall" and "short" with straws cut at two different lengths. After labeling the straws and looking at them side by side, we created two playdoh worms, one for short straws and the other for tall, and he put them in the appropriate place while verbally labeling them. This has made sorting a bit more fun for him! Next time I will visually label each with a picture and word card as well.
I've been a bit undecided about creating a letter tray for Tyler, but this week I made one using the sandpaper letter "b". In the tray are a: beetle, butterfly, button, wooden banana, magnet letter b, block, box, black and blue paint chips, balloon memory card, flashcard with a ball (if it were a real ball it would be far too distracting for him!), and his favorite, a bird. We work with this together right now, as I need to remind him to trace the letter and say the sound before handling the objects. He's really enjoys this and is great about saying each word over and over again on his own. I emphasize the "b" sounds with him and point back to the letter here and there. Though I do like this idea now, I feel I need to do something else as well. He isn't as into three period lessons as he used to be. Suggestions are welcome!