Montessori-style activities allow children the freedom to grow and learn at their own pace. Be sure to arrange learning experiences that follow simple guiding principles, especially when doing practical life activities. Begin with free play and add a few smaller activities or toys at a time, so as not to overwhelm the child. Keep some activity ideas stored and rotate them in and out of your lessons to keep your kids engaged and continue practicing their motor skills.
Give your child various magnetic and non-magnetic items on a tray. Then, hand them a child-safe magnet to see what happens. Eventually, the child will start to realize the similarities between the magnetic objects and be able to separate them into two categories. Repeat with new objects for continued fun.
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2. Scent Jars
Encourage your child to always use their 5 senses to explore. Use glass jars with lids so they can see inside. Add items with strong scents such as; lemon rinds, flower petals, and herbs. Have them describe what they smell or think of as they smell the contents!
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3. Wash Your Toys
Kids love to practice the art of scrubbing- especially with different cleaning tools like a bottle brush and a bottle of dish soap. Add in some fluffy bubbles and you’ve got the perfect recipe for exploration! Give little ones tools like a toothbrush, a washcloth, a scrubber, and a whisk.
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4. Pound that Beat
Kids love to pound things, so give them tools to practice eye-hand coordination, cause and effect, musical beats, and rhythms. The peg-and-hole toy with a hammer is a great option, but you can practice this with just pans and a wooden spoon or even toys they already have like a mini xylophone.
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5. Kitchen Help
Whenever you’re ready for a snack, invite your child to help prepare the food along with you. They can begin by washing fruits and veggies, then peeling them, and even cutting pieces of a softer item with child-safe knives. Wash berries, peel oranges and bananas, and empower them with simple cutting skills!
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6. Laundry Duty
Teach little ones to participate in household tasks, such as laundry. Even the youngest children can match socks and learn to simply fold hand towels. They can work up to the more difficult folds by watching you. Hanging clothes on hangers is another simple skill they can practice while developing their motor skills.
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7. Writing in Masa
Set up a baking pan or tray and add some masa, corn flour, or semolina. It should be enough that you can run a finger through and see the bottom of the pan. Invite your child to draw, practice shapes, and write numbers and letters.
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8. Design with Shapes
Create an assortment of colored shapes, and give them to your child to make designs. You can use all the same shapes or give them multiple shapes at a time. Eventually, you can upgrade to the idea of tangrams; seeing if they can match pictures to shape cards.
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9. Color Mixing
Invite your child to explore colors! Add a few drops of food coloring to jars with water- red, yellow, and blue. Then, give them an empty jar or test tube, and a dropper or pipette. They’ll love to explore the different colors and experiment with mixing the amounts of color.
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10. Set the Table
You can buy silicone placemats with the outline of the plates, cups, and utensils on them for easy matching. Invite your child to help you set the table by matching your household items with the drawings on the mat. Eventually, their daily activities can include setting the table!
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Whenever you need to measure something, invite your child to join. Begin with a ruler to measure smaller items, and work your way up to a measuring tape. Trace your child using chalk and measure how tall they are or what their wingspan is. Work your way up to using measuring cups while baking.
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12. Nature Study
Being in nature is a large component of Montessori education. Read books about nature and teach your child how to use field guides. Make them flashcards of leaves and flowers and see if they can find their matches outdoors. Bring along a magnifying glass to peek at bugs.
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13. Holiday Celebration
Whenever there’s a holiday approaching, keep an eye out for symbols; hearts for Valentine’s Day, coniferous trees for Christmas, and spiders for Halloween. Find activities that help you work with those shapes and symbols and encourage kids to point them out and start to count them as you’re out and about.
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Wooden puzzles make the best challenges for little hands and minds. Pick up different varieties of puzzles wherever you can find them. Traditional jigsaw pieces work well but look for uniquely shaped puzzles such as cube puzzles, and other challenges. Lacing puzzles and peg-in-hole puzzles are different and fun for exploration and problem-solving.
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15. Cards on a Ring
Better than traditional flashcards, little ones can carry cards on a ring with them wherever they go. Explore famous artists and their artwork throughout the week. Learn letters and numbers in different languages. Create animal classification cards, a collection of picture cards, botany, earth science, and more with simple blank flash cards.
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16. Moon Phase Oreos
Have your child begin a moon study moon by looking at it each night. Then, begin to chart the changes by having them trace the shape in the air, and then match it with drawings on flash cards. Oreos can be manipulated to remove the cream so it resembles the moon shape.
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Tacky glue, stick glue, squeezy glue- whatever it is, your little ones are sure to love it! Set up a station for glue-time fun with paper in a tray, shape cards, and a glue stick. Or, if you’re brave, give them a cup of liquid glue and a paintbrush or cotton swab.
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