Sunday, 6 April 2014

Tot school colours and some thoughts on Montessori

This week's toddler activities focused on colours and simple sensory activities. We continued with a few activities from last week's crabs/sea theme, moved on to learning the color yellow, and then ended with some Montessori inspired life skills activities. 

Last week's theme

Under the sea sensory bin with glass beads and sea shells 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Sea sensory bin

Learning blue and green  

I've been looking into some Montessori activities, and came up with a simple sorting activity using blue and green paper clips.

Welcome to Mommyhood: paper clip sorting

Welcome to Mommyhood: paper clip sorting

I showed the Toddler a few times how to sort them, but he was more interested in pouring and scooping. 

Yellow and colours theme

Yellow muffin tin

Welcome to Mommyhood: yellow muffin tin

Welcome to Mommyhood: yellow muffin tin

Welcome to Mommyhood: yellow muffin tin

This one let the Toddler work on his fine motor skills (ripping off the tape), and we talked more about the colour yellow.

Yellow sensory bin 

I set this one up a few different ways. The first one had a banana in it, but that got devoured before he even bothered to go near anything else. This child would easily eat bananas for every meal if I let him.

Welcome to Mommyhood: yellow sensory bin

Welcome to Mommyhood: yellow sensory bin

He also decided to give the lemon a taste.

Welcome to Mommyhood: yellow sensory bin

But the lemon wasn't nearly as good as the banana, especially because the peel was still on it.

Yellow sensory bin II 

I set up another yellow sensory bin with some Easter themed items. 

Yellow train

We played with a wooden yellow train. You can tell that we had already made a mess of the house. Tidying up happens in the evenings so you can see our mess! 

Welcome to Mommyhood: yellow train

As he put the pieces on it and I repeated that the blocks were yellow. Eventually, we brought it the rest of the train set, and discussed the other colours, too.

Scooping and pouring

With assorted paper clips

Welcome to Mommyhood: paper clip scooping

With this activity, I explained the colours a bit, but we mostly focused on refining his scooping skills and making sure that the paper clips didn't spill. 

With water

Welcome to Mommyhood: water pouring

Pretty simple, but the Toddler loves water play, and we were working on getting him to pour with more accuracy. He enjoyed using the spoon to scoop the water as usually he just pours from one cup or bowl to another. Eventually, that is what happened and then the floor was soaked. 

Arts and crafts

The Toddler also got to color on some yellow paper with assorted yellow coloring tools: crayons, markers, yellow paint! He always loves to paint or draw on his own, and I love to see his creativity! 


I've been doing some research on the Montessori approach, and am really impressed. I really, really want to set up more Montessori spaces and cut back on the clutter in our home, while simultaneously making it more accessible for the Toddler. When we move, I'm going to be making sure that (most) rooms are set up with that in mind as much as possible. He's really independent and adventurous at this point, and I want to make sure that we are giving him enough opportunities to develop those attributes.  

For now, we are working on building the Toddler's independence with activities that will teach him life skills. For example, we worked on peeling his own eggs for breakfast. Can I just say here how much I love that Tot School is combined with something as basic as sitting down to eat together. I mean, we all do it, but then boom! It's educational! I love being able to sit down and focus on the Toddler gaining a new skill, and our ability to just enjoy each other's company. 

Okay, I'm calming down from my excitement about Tot School + Montessori and moving on to examples and photos. 

Life skills

The Toddler got to try peeling his own egg!

Welcome to Mommyhood: egg peeling

He got pretty far before I needed to help get the rest of the bits off.

We also did something... a little scary! I introduced the Toddler to a knife. Here the set up: 

Welcome to Mommyhood: banana cutting

I didn't snap action photos because I was helping. This was the first time the Toddler was allowed to use a knife. I demonstrated at first, then put my hand on his and guided him to show him the motions. Initially, he only wanted to eat the banana, but then was really excited to try on his own and eat the slices he cut. He did a great job and was very careful. 

He also got to try peeling a mandarin on his own. He had seen me do it multiple times (his second most favourite food), and knew the steps to take even though he couldn't get it too well. 

It's interesting, but now that we are working on life skills/practical lessons and I am focusing on letting him do things on his own, I've realised that I may have been hampering his development by doing so much for him. For instance, I had no idea that he could peel his own banana, get undressed on his own (certain articles of clothing), or even get his boots on without my help. I was amazed when I told the Toddler we could go outside to play, he ran to get his shoes, and while holding on to the wall for balance, happily tried to slip his foot into his boot, and succeeded on his third attempt! I'm excited to foster the growth of his independence and to see what else he can do!  

That's all for this week's Tot school activities! I am actually really looking forward to trying something next week - a matching game using yellow items we have around the house. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: yellow flashcards

I'm really excited to try this and see how the Toddler likes it. I was planning on doing it this week, but completely forgot to buy coloured ink for our printer. Next week, it is then!

Aside from our work on life skills, next week we will be doing a lot of work on speech. I really need to work on helping the Toddler's speech development. He still isn't saying much, but takes directions very well in both of the languages we speak at home. We know he understands us, but I'm a little stumped as to what to do to really get him talking. He tries, and is constantly babbling away in baby talk, but discernable words are slow to be said. 

That brings me to my question for you guys: Do you have any tips on helping toddlers to develop their speech? How old were your children when they started talking? I'd love to hear from you!

As always, I am linking up with Carissa at 1+1+1=1 for the Tot School Gathering Place, the Hip homeschool hop, Just for Kids.

Thank you for reading,