Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Works in Our (Not Very Montessori) Box

Just to quickly touch on something I mentioned in my last post. At this time, I have decided that the easiest way to incorporate works that are a little more involved, or are composed of parts which are choking hazards, is to keep them in a box, out of reach, in our kitchen. Jerome asks daily either for a work from this box, or for Playdough, and I try to always respond to these requests.

I know it would be more ideal if he could access everything on his own, but that stresses me out with the one-year-old, and I do not want to constantly be hovering over him when he is entertaining himself. At first I would just come up with activities as he asked me for work, but I have found that keeping a few prepared, and allowing him to make his choice from these, gives us the best results.

Here are a few of his favourites, although, to be honest, he asks for the mini motors 80% of the time when he chooses a work from the box. 

At the top I have some shape tiles, and simple tangrams. I will usually give him exactly the tiles that he needs for the picture he chooses. If I give him a larger amount of tiles, he prefers to stack them, scoop them, and otherwise manipulate them without the picture, and that is totally okay with me, depending on what he seems interested in that day.

Next is, obviously, a little bag of lego. He mostly loves to take the people apart and switch the heads and pants around. This is one he likes me to be a little more hands on with.

This is a collection of small erasers which he can stack, organize, or manipulate as he desires. I try not to be super controlling of how he works at this age, as I want him to feel free to explore and work as he feels.

The mini motors were actually Tharin's as a child. It is a tiny semi truck front which can hook on to a freight box. He loves to play with these, usually sitting at the table, so that Benedict does not get his hands on one of the very tiny trucks. 

The mystery bag is a favourite for both of us, and is one we need to do together. I will usually find random items, often at least an item or two that are new to his vocabulary, and I give him a three-part lesson first, (this is a clothes pin. Can you find mommy the clothes pin? What is this?) before putting the items in the bag. 

I will then ask him to find me the clothes pin, using only his hand inside the bag, and different variations of this. It has proven to be a great way for him to develop his sense of touch, to isolate it, to practice new vocabulary, and to follow directions. (I am sure there are more technical reasons this game is so beneficial.)

And there it is, at the top of the water station shelf in all of its glory.

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