Keep it simple! Yeah, right. Well, these quick, cheap activities may help and have been a big hit this week for my 22 month old little man. My mom gave us her old orange juicer – the simple, glass jar kind. B loved twisting the orange halves and making juice. He liked sampling the oranges too for a little QC (quality control). This activity helps with learning a practical life skill (making juice) and fine motor skill (twisting). I guess a little science too, maybe? Where does juice come from? Anywho.
B also loves to sprinkle. I guess he sees me sprinkling seasonings into pots for dinner. He’ll come running over to where I’m cooking and ask to shake in the seasonings. This led to some interesting meals. So I started collecting a variety of shakers for his own use and enjoyment. I know sandpaper letters and salt trays are an important component of Montessori work – early writing and reading. Here I combined sprinkling and the salt tray idea into one activity creating a salt/colored sprinkle dish. I first added a thin layer of salt to the bottom on the plate. At first, B felt the salt and moved his fingers around. Then I added some colored sprinkles and let him shake the sprinkles onto the salt.
B loved shaking out the sprinkles and swirling them in the dish. He wanted to try all the colors we had. The dark green and red showed up nicely on white salt. I think this activity might cover multiple Montessori categories – art (colors), practice life skills (shaking), and sensorial (feeling the salt and sprinkle crystals)! I didn’t have any issues with B trying to eat the salt or sprinkles but he did want to dump some on the floor. As with almost all our activities, I did this one with him. At least I sat next to him and watched while he played (worked). I try to give words to the activities he is doing but not direct his play. NOT an easy task!
The last activity is a quick, homemade salt letter that I made on a piece of construction paper. You can purchase Montessori sandpaper letters at Amazon. Yes, the salt sort of came off as B traced the “b” with his finger but it worked for the most part. I used a glue stick to draw the letter and then sprinkled salt over top. We had this long toddler-sized discussion about whether it was a “p” or “b”. B won and declared it was a “p”. I can’t tell if that was stubbornness or genius on his part. Hmmm.
Here is an example of Montessori sandpaper letters you can buy from Kid Advance Co.
Here are some more sandpaper letter ideas and explanation from Living Montessori Now.