Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fun With Kids

Found a couple of fun projects to do with little kids in my mom's copy of "Teaching Montesorri In The Home". It's an older book (copyright 1968) yet well ahead of its time. The Montesorri method has many schools now that boast its name and teaching methods. I'm not familiar with their schools, but a friend of mine has a son that attends one and I know they both love it.

This particular book has lots of projects and learning tools for young children so I've been trying out a few on the kids to see how like them and so far, so good. Just simple, fun stuff you can do and make at home. Here are a few of the things we did:

Mystery Bag: Take any kind of smallish-medium size bag (we used a brown, lunch bag) and collect some small, familiar items from around the house. Blindfold the child (or have them cover their eyes-no peeking!) and have them pick an item one at a time to identify. David loved this and I found it was all too easy for him. I think the items I picked were perhaps too familiar, and next time I'll have to be a bit more clever. After we played this he went around the house and collected some items for me to pick out. He did a great job and I'm pleased to report he didn't put anything slimy or otherwise nasty in the bag. He also got a big kick out of watching me guess.

Action Cards: Montessori calls them command cards, but David likes the word "action" so I went with it. All you do is cut out some cards (I used cardboard, but recipe cards would be perfect) and write verbs like sit, sing, laugh, run, hop, etc. on them and teach them one at a time to the child. Then go over them again and have them do the action described. David is just the right age for this, and he had a great time acting each one out. Now he can identify about half of the cards we made. He made up his own card with the command "Zoom". He described it as "like running, but much faster".

Shape Sizes: This one was kind of simple but both David and Sofia enjoyed it. I cut four different shapes in varying sizes and asked David to place them in descending order on the coffee table. He found that part very easy but then it was interesting because he began building other forms with them (robots, snowmen) and then I had him make different patterns with them. Again, very simple stuff, but lots of possibilities. I also wrote the names of each shape so he could begin to identify the words for them as well.

Fun With Pasta: I don't know if this is specifically a Montesorri thing, but I didn't get it from the book. We used to do this with the kids in the daycare I taught at years ago and it was always a hit; Until a fight would break out. It's all fun and games until a toddler gets tubini in the eye. Anyway, you just pour out some different kinds of dry pasta (multi-colored are even better) into a big bowl and get smaller bowls, cups and spoons for the children to pour and play with. This kept them busy for a very long time. They were so intent on pouring and measuring and stirring. They even kind of helped me clean up afterward. Kind of.

If nothing else it's good to have some projects on the back burner for those frosty days when struggling with snowsuits has just lost its thrill...

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