Monday, April 27, 2015

Montessori Work Shelf Update

This update is long overdue.
6 weeks ago, I wrote about adding a montessori-inspired shelf to our living room.

I've casually changed out some activities over the past 6 weeks. I'm not very systematic about it yet. I haven't fully committed mentally. I like the idea, but it takes time.

These pictures are back from when I first started the shelf. We have these little mini puzzles - the whole alphabet came in a set, per the recommendation of a friend. I was putting out one letter at a time, but now I have 3 or 4 out. She loves puzzles and is learning beginning phonics sounds (H is for hat, I is for ice, etc...) 

Mancala stones on the letter of the "week." (Week meaning however long goes by until I think she knows it and I remember to change the letter.) She likes to get the stones right on the dots, so she was getting frustrated with the mancala stones because they move so easily. I ended up putting them away and we did stickers instead.

 She really liked these stickers for a while. They're $1 for a big pack at walmart. She got bored of them after a couple weeks too so I put them away for now. They'll be "new" again later :)

One day we did play dough on a letter. 

She thought that was okay. 
She likes to color in the dots better. Or use pennies. Or cheerios. Or anything small and round. 
The number one fave is these dot paints though. I'm telling you, these are the bomb. 
I had seen these dot paint marker things around the interwebs and picked some up at Target. They stunk!!!! I thought it was user-error but turns out, brand matters. The library has a huge collection of them, all Do-A-Dot, all awesome. They let the kids use them on a letter of the week sheet at the end of toddler time. Addie loves these things. I ordered some of the original rainbow color ones with an Amazon gift card. It's 16 buckeroos for a pack of six which I think is kinda expensive. But, they are so fun! And I hear they last a loooooong time. 

Addie and I both think they're fun!! At first, she just put dots everywhere. Now she is very careful to fill every dot with a dot of paint. 

This was up for a couple days - pom pom drop. 

I saw this picture online. Obviously mine is way less cool. Maybe we'll make the fancy version together soon. We saw a giant rainbow decoration at a school the other day, and now she likes talking about rainbows. So, maybe we'll do some rainbow themed stuff. 
Speaking of rainbows and pom-poms, this is on my to-do list. 
Here is where you can get the printable and where the picture is from :) 
We got a new printer that arrived yesterday - can't wait to print up some fun for the shelf! 

Speaking of which, back to business. A lot of montessori-inspired activities at this age have to do with developing the fine motor skills required for holding a pen or pencil. (Well, that's what I've been reading anyway... I don't really know anything about montessori! haha! I only know what google tells me.) But, it's been interesting to see her get that! Sometimes she likes to do fast coloring and wants to hold it in a fist-type grasp. More often than not now though, she holds it like this.
She likes coloring. Well, she likes coloring in small spaces on of a coloring book and then she considers it done. Ha! Kids are funny.

Lacing cards or beads, putting things through small holes, putting beads on a plastic needle, all of that is developing the pencil-holding motion.

 She REALLY liked that for about a week. Then I took it off the shelf for a couple days, changed up the yarn and bead colors and the container it was in, put it back on and it was fun again. The plastic needle came in a two pack for $1.50 from Hobby Lobby, near the needle point stuff. (The wooden beads were also there - near the kids crafts. A bag with about 50 wooden beads was $2 I think.)

While in the needle point section, I picked up a tiny hoop for 60 cents and put some of that mesh stuff that goes in your kitchen drawers in it. They also sell plastic meant for kids "needlepoint" for these hoops if you don't have extra drawer non-slip mesh laying around, or if you want a fancy shape. She doesn't totally get this yet. Addie likes to put it through the front and then have me put it back through again. But the 4 year old sibling of a piano student I have LOVES this. She comes and plays with it every week during her brother's lesson, so I keep it out for her.

The end. That's what's on our shelf.
The newness and funness (I made that word up) of a particular activity seems to wear off after a week to ten days. For the first few days an activity is new, she'll go get it and do it herself over and over and over. That is so fun to watch.

Parents and teachers of toddlers, all shelf appropriate "work" and play ideas welcome!!