Makeshift Montessori Activities
We are currently in between housing situations and it’s been tough to juggle being in transition from one house to another, temporarily relocating to my in-laws, caring for two active toddlers and enjoying my third pregnancy. But as challenging as it may be, we are trying to find ways to continue homeschooling with whatever resources we can find-especially since all our materials are packed in boxes and put away in storage. I am here to encourage you that no matter what your circumstances are, you will be able to find ways to teach your kids on everyday materials and a limited budget. These great practical life activities are fun and easy to put together!
Large needle, yarn, plain white paper-cut into thirds to make 3 strips of paper, Sharpie, ruler, tape, small scissors
Age: 2.5 and up
This is a simple way of introducing your child to needlework. Micah enjoyed it so much that he asked to repeat this activity a couple of times and again in the days that followed. It is a great way to encourage those little muscles to move, to reinforce the pincer grip and to develop concentration. As a child gets older, you can introduce more complex sewing activities such as smaller needles, thinner threads and even cross stitching.
1. Take your strips of paper and draw a straight line in the middle.
2. Punch holes with your needle about half an inch from each other. This serves as a guide for the child to put the needle through.
3. Put a tape at the end of the cut yarn to help the child thread the yarn through the eye of the needle.
4. Show your child how to thread the yarn.
5. Tie the knot at the end.
6. Show him/her how to put it through the first hole and teach him/her the up-down motion by pulling the string in between gently.
7. Help the child tie the knot after finishing the whole strip.
B. Pin Poking
Materials: cork board, push pin, a small container, shape drawn on a square sheet of paper
Age: 2.5 and up
To the average person it might look like Montessori pin poking is a mindless activity – but it’s very far from mindless. Pin poking helps a child develop his/her pincer grip, co-ordination, and concentration. A child must be able to sit and focus, be ready to handle a sharp object without hurting themselves or others, and show interest in the activity. It can also be used to create a variety of arts and crafts and extension lessons in culture and geography studies.
It’s helpful to offer young children (3-4yrs) pre-drawn shapes to pin poke as they may not be ready to trace their own. Older children (5-6yrs or those who have the ability to carefully trace around shapes) can prepare their own shapes using Montessori classroom materials. Or, they can draw their own shapes freehand, pin poke them, glue them on a sheet of paper and create a beautiful picture.
A point of interest is that if the child is gripping the pin poker too hard their hand will cramp and tire quickly. It’s important for children to learn the pincer grip, but also to learn it with the correct amount of pressure required for an extended period of time – which encourages concentration.
1. Set up the cork board under the piece of paper with a shape drawn on it.
2. Show the child how to push the pin and follow the line.
4. Tear out the shape slowly and you are done!
C. Nuts, Bolts, Screws and Real Tools!
Materials: Wooden board, screws, nuts, bolts and washers, power drill, screwdriver and Philips screwdriver
Age: 3 years and up
Working with real tools is a great way to work on practical life fine motor skills. It is also a great opportunity to teach young children how to safely handle real tools. My very handy father-in-law was the one who created this awesome board for my boys. (I am forever grateful to have such a crafty dad!) He used a small (left over) wooden board. (You can purchase these from a craft store or Home Depot.) I bought the small screwdriver and philips screwdriver from Daiso (knick-knack store) which was awesome because it was the exact size for a child’s hands! These little hands benefit from turning and twisting these items. Finger dexterity and hand-eye coordination are definitely necessary for developing pre-writing skills.
1. Place the board on a flat surface.
2. Show the child how to use the different tools. Let the child have a turn after.
3. Allow the child to try it and practice on his/her own.
4. It might be challenging for a while but determination goes a long way.
It took Micah a couple of tries to get a screw out but when he did, the joy was indescribable. 🙂
Which of these activities do you think your child will enjoy? Your household is full of educational things. You don’t even need to buy some of the things I mentioned because I’m pretty sure you already have a sewing kit and some stray screws. Montessori learning can be done anytime, anywhere! Most of all, it’s fun!