Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


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Montessori Toddler Activities

Here are some Montessori-inspired toddler activities that we are enjoying this week.  The activities including a focus on math, sorting (early math), art mixed with language, music, practical life and more specific language activities.  We are working on letter recognition and phonics.  And we are working on number recognition 1-5 and the basic concept of numbers.  Sometimes B (22 months) will seem to understand numbers and sometimes he won’t.  If he isn’t “into it” on any given day, I just move on.  B loves transportation and construction vehicles, so I integrated that into our art and language activities.

Here is a snapshot of our playroom and shelf this week.  Below are a few of the activities.

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Here is a number activity.  We enjoy placing the numbers 1-5 on our felt board and in the bathtub with foam numbers.  Here I chose to highlight the number “4”.  This tray has several different ways of showing the number “4”.  B loves the counting lizards from Melissa & Doug.

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Here is a basic sorting activity.  I am always so pleased with myself when I find a new way to display a sorting activity.  I found this little art bucket in Target.  It’s light and easy for B to carry.  Here he will place the blue popsicle sticks on one side and the yellow sticks on the other.  He loves it!

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Here is an art activity.  I added a small printout of transportation pictures.  I actually snagged this from Chik-fil-a!  It’s an eye-spy road game that came in his kids’ meal.  B enjoyed coloring the pictures as we talked about them and then we put down transportation stickers.

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Here is a language activity of sorts.  It’s more about vocabulary than learning to read.  They are sort of conversation starters and from there we talk about other things relating to the cow and butterfly, like where we saw a cow or butterfly and what they eat and the sounds they make.

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This last activity is simply a music basket.  I usually have a basket of musical instruments out for B to play with.  I rotate the instruments almost every week.  I swear I find my husband playing with them more than B, so I guess it’s for the whole family.  We go to a toddler music class once a week too, which is fun.  B is one of the first toddlers to jump up and put things away.  Otherwise, he’s shy and quiet (like mom).  The teacher noted the Montessori approach they use to set up and clean up!  She noted last week that the class had “normalized” meaning that they had mastered the concept of taking instruments out of the basket and returning them (without a fuss) at the end of a song.  Montessori is everywhere!

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Teaching Kids about Music

Our music teach was interviewed by our local newspaper discussing “The Art of Teaching Kids to Play Music“.  Several music professionals were interviewed and gave their take on when to start music lessons and how to get kids interested in music.  Our teacher, Phyllis Fulton, is the co-owner of Music Together.  How important is music in your home?  Is it a priority that your kids are involved in musical activities such as singing or a practicing an instrument?  I don’t know why but I have always thought that there wasn’t enough time to do both sports and music.  I always picked sports.  It didn’t seem like there were many kids that could do both and do them well.  I played the piano when I was young.  I remember that I really enjoyed it.  Yes, I didn’t want to practice like most kids but that seems normal now.  Once I got into sports – you name it and I played it – it just didn’t seem possible to keep up with practicing an instrument.  Was I wrong?  As I entered the working world I traded basketball and tennis for running and triathlon.  I also play golf when I find the time.  Music is not a big part of my life.  If I had a choice I actually prefer quiet over the radio or itunes.  And I don’t go around the house singing.  Actually I’m pretty out of tune when I sing.  So when I had a baby I decided I needed a little help exposing him to music.  I signed up for baby/toddler music classes.  I’m pleasant surprised by the results and positive effect on our family.  Not that I was expecting any negative effects.  I just wasn’t really expecting anything.  Also, I should say that I had to drag my butt to class.  I mentioned that I can’t sign, right?  But it was also the idea of being musical, which seemed very unsporty to me and maybe even down right sissy.  Well, as always seems to be the case, my child proved me wrong.  Music class provided him an opportunity to work on movement (he went from crawling to walking and now even dances), language (he signs his favorite songs) and socialization (he’s learning to meet other kids and be vocal).  What’s most amazing is watching him take everything in during class – the music, people, moves – and then demonstrate what he’s learned later on.  For example, after a few music classes we noticed that he waved his hands in the air and started dancing when we turned on music.  And when I play music class songs in the car I can almost always get him to calm down when he’s fussy.  Not only that but my husband found his musical side and bought a guitar!  He and Baby B love to play and now Baby B points out guitars whenever we see one or a picture of one.  I’m not saying that I’ve switched from music to sports.  Maybe there’s time for both.  At least now I see more value in bringing music into our home.  Not quite the Von Trapp family but close!  I’m not going to worry about whether he should play an instrument or when to start lessons.  I think we’ll just take it one year at a time.  I’m glad to hear our music teacher, Phyllis, agrees not to rush it.  Just have fun!  What do you think?  Is music a priority in your home?  Are your kids playing instruments or planning on playing an instrument?  Singing any one?