I've been reading a lot of Montessori blogs recently, and I have to say, I find it very fascinating. I thought that I'd try a few activities in hopes that it would make my afternoons (our typical witching hour) a bit calmer. If you've never read about Montessori education or aren't familiar with the idea of tray activities, you may want to check out these links. These are my personal favorites, but by no means do I claim to be completely knowledgeable on this subject.
My Montessori Journey
All about Tot Trays
I've seen a lot of activities that involve transferring objects from one container to another. Not wanting to invest any money into this venture until I knew how the kids will take to it, I started with what we had.
I placed two buckets on the table for Pinky and filled one with cotton balls. I gave her a spoon and showed her how to transfer them one at a time to the other bucket. I was really surprised at how much she concentrated on this! She did a really good job.
After a few tries, she moved over to pouring them from one bucket to another.
Finally, she decided that she was baking pancakes instead of playing my game. She renamed it "cooking, cooking."
I didn't want Chaos to be left out, but I really didn't have any activity ideas for him. So, I gave him some Play-Doh to see what he would do with it. After watching him try to put the Play-Doh back in its container, I broke it up and rolled it into 4 balls.
He meticulously put all of the balls in...
Then put the lid back on. Then he would dump them out and start over.
He did this over and over until he discovered that Play-Doh tasted pretty good. That's when I decided his activity time was done.
I set up one other activity for Pinky to do on her own. It's the puzzle game "What Goes Together." I sat the pieces in the box and just left them accessible for her play with. She immediately sat down to try it. I had chosen about 10 of the easier pairs for her to start with since she had never tried it before. She finished them in no time! I will have to put out some harder pairs to try next time.
All in all, we had fun doing these new activities. I have a few more ideas in mind that I need to get set up. When I do, I'll be sure to post them.