About two weeks ago I visited a friend who is absolutely INCREDIBLE with her two girls and used to be a Pre-school Montessori Teacher. I was beyond inspired. I knew that I wanted to do something with my kids before we started officially in August, but I was overwhelmed to try and sit down and do lesson plans, or spend a lot of money on curriculums that I just wasn’t sure about.
I began to just look through our toys and craft supplies, and I was surprised at how much I already had around the house, and with a quick trip to the $1 spot at Target and the Dollar Store I was able to put together a great little ‘school room’ and some ‘lessons’ for the kids.
I really had fun thinking through a clean, welcoming, uncluttered environment for us to focus on learning and fun (of course, IKEA was my best friend in this!
The kids have REALLY loved the lessons – it’s still a little more chaotic than I would like with 3 kids and the baby wanting to get into EVERYTHING, but I know that as we continue, we will only get better and better at learning what works for us.
I won’t get into all the history of the Montessori style of learning here (mostly because I’m not an expert by any stretch), but I just thought I would share a little of what we’ve been up to – I hope this inspires you and gives you some fun ideas to try.
Painted Popsicle Sticks:
We use these to make letters with.
We use these to make different sized ‘roads’ with (“How many sticks long is the yellow road?” “Which road is longer, the blue or the green?”)
We use these to make shapes.
I feel like you could come up with several other ways to use them. One of my favorite things about Montessori inspired lessons is that the child can lead and discover and I’m always surprised at how my kids ‘play’ with the different materials I provide them.
Sugar Jar and Pipe Cleaners:
I picked up this sugar jar at the Dollar Store and I thought it would be a fine motor skills lesson for my 3 year old, but to my surprise my one year old LOVES it! He is glued to this project and get’s SO excited when he gets the pipe cleaner through the hole.
Pipe Cleaners and Poms:
This activity is extremely self evident – you could also connect several pipe cleaners and make a larger circle and have your child find other objects of that color from around the room or in their toy box. It’s great to reinforce colors and if you make them use a plastic spoon to scoop the poms (like I did for my son) it is also great motor skills development.
Popsicle Stick Puzzle:
This was fun because I printed a picture of my own kids and just glued it to several popsicle sticks, when the kids put it together I actually wrote the numbers on the front of the puzzle as well, so that as long as they got the numbers in the right order they would see the picture. They were SO excited when they realized: “That’s me!!!!”
I hope that this post gave you some inspiration and ideas – I would LOVE to hear how it went if you do try them out! I have a group that I run on Facebook called Just a Little Fun. I try to update it every so often with new ideas and projects that I’m working on with my kids – if you are interested in joining I’d love to connect with you there!