Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


Using Puzzles for Scissor, Sorting and Tracing Activities

Maybe you don’t need to consign those old puzzles just yet…

This Melissa & Doug puzzle is not a challenge for my toddler anymore.  It’s perfect for my 8 month old.  I found a way, however, to expand its use and let my toddler get more out of it.  Here are some ideas for this puzzle…


1.) We drew shapes on construction paper so that the shapes and colors matched the spots on the puzzle.  First we practiced cutting the shapes to match the puzzle pieces.


2.) Then we matched the cut out shapes with the puzzle holes.  (You can also count them as you go.)



3.) Last we used the big puzzle pieces to practice tracing shapes with crayons.  The big knobs were very helpful!

I wonder what else we can come up with for our other puzzles!

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At Home Montessori Toddler Activities

Here are some toddler activities that we have enjoyed recently!  My little guy is 22 months but there is a wide range of ages that would enjoy these activities.  What are your favorite toddler activities?

In this activity, B is matching colored chip clips with the same color cups.  He can pinch them onto the side of the cup or just place them inside.  This pincer exercise is a little easier than regular wooden clothespins and the color are interesting.  I found these chip clips in the grocery store and the cups are from Ikea.









Here is another pincer activity with chip clips.  If the toddler is just learning this type of work, he or she can pull the clip off and place them in the cup.  Ounce they have mastered pulling off the clips, they can work on putting them on the side of the cup or basket.










Here are two color sorting activities.  Since B is getting efficient at this activity, I added lids to the work.  The orange, yellow and green canister lids that I picked up at Michael’s are challenging but manageable to get off.  The second color sorting activity is a little more challenging because the bugs have some different shades and patches of other colors.  Also, bugs are just fun!

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Here are two practical life skill activities for your toddlers.  The first is placing stirring straws in two different shakers.  The second is a tea set.  B has really enjoyed the tea set recently.  He transfers water between the dishes.  He spills it all over the place but we clean it up together with a dish towel.














We have recently enjoyed simple memory games.  Here I put the red bear under a cup and let B find it among some other cups.  B thought this was pretty funny!  Silly bear.  It’s like advanced side and seek.









Finally, here are some fun pictures from around our work/play room and house.  B loves transportation so we count vehicles.  He also loves it when I put up new pictures that I have cut out from magazines.  He’ll point to pictures and we talk about them.  I also bought some sunflowers.  Just thought they looked pretty!  Come on spring!

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Toddler Activities: Numbers, Vowels, Big and Small!


Here are some toddler activities we have on our Montessori shelf this week!  B is 21 months old and is working on numbers, vowels, and the concept of big verse small.  He does not seem to yet get the idea of counting but it’s a long-term process. I’ve seen that slow introduction of ideas works well for him.  It took several introductions of sorting before he started doing those activities on his own.  I use a very gentle, no-pressure approach.  (Otherwise, I get frustrated too!)

B loves the organization of a Montessori shelf.  He knows to get one thing out at a time.  It’s fun to see what activities he picks first when I put out new trays.  Here are two activities with numbers.  I found wooden pieces at the craft store and wrote numbers on them.  He plays with them or we count things (stickers, cars, etc) and put the number next to the items.  I also made some number cups.  B can sort and count the buttons inside each cup.  We do this together and he needs lots of help but it’s VERY fun.  He loves the feel and colors of the buttons.




B is learning his vowels.  He can make the vowels sounds.  He REALLY enjoyed putting the vowel wood chips on the mat.


Next is a practice life activity – folding napkins.


Next is an activity were we sort big and small animals!


And finally here is a video of the shelf work on YouTube!

ENJOY!  And please share your favorite activities!

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Toddler Activities with Egg Cartons

It is especially fun to create toddler activities with recycled trash!  Cheap, homemade (of sorts) and DIY are some of my favorite descriptions for toddler activities.  So, egg cartons are perfect!  I keep a stack of different kinds of egg cartons in my craft cupboard.  They are great for sorting, counting, and art activities.  They are also great for holding small items and organizing your drawers or cupboards.  Ice cube trays also serve similar purposes.  Here are some basic activities with egg cartons but you can do so much more!  One-to-one correspondence activities such as placing wooden balls, puff balls or wiffle balls in cartons are early math activities.  You can also color code the egg baskets or assign numbers or letters.  You can use them for more complex sorting or use them as paint dishes.  I still remember uses egg cartons when I was in elementary school for painting projects.

Here is B (21 months old) is placing wooden balls in a 6-egg carton.  He did NOT like the activity with puff balls so try different materials and don’t get discouraged.  I usually have to introduce an activity several times before B wants to try it.  We counted each ball as he placed them in the carton.  I’ve seen other people write numbers or letters on the balls and in the cartons for a matching activity.  We’ll build up to that.


egg carton activities from forcingthebloom

egg carton activities from forcingthebloom












Here is B with a 12-egg carton.  He enjoyed filling it with wiffle balls.  No puff balls, please!  Maybe it’s boy thing?   A major part of the activity is taking the carton off the shelf and putting it back when B is done.  He knows he can’t get something new until he puts everything back.  The practice of moving things on and off the shelf helps with body control.

egg carton activities from forcingthebloom

egg carton activities from forcingthebloom












Here are some more ideas from other Montessori mamas using egg cartons !

Living Montessori Now  – Color Walk

Our Natural Journey  – Repurposing Egg Cartons

Kindergarten Basics – Upcycle Egg Cartons to Building Blocks + links to many other egg carton ideas!

Gift of Curiosity – Math with Egg Cartons + several other cool Montessori activities

Any other ideas?  How have you used your egg cartons?

We’ll revisit this theme again in the Spring!  Say, around Easter time!  You, me and that crazy Easter bunny.  This will be the first year B really gets to open Christmas presents and will understand the idea of an Easter egg hunt.  Can’t wait!  Have a Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Tree from forcingthebloom

Christmas Tree from forcingthebloom