Montessori at Home
It’s life, but not as we know it right now!
Everyone’s world has been turned upside down right now. COVID-19 is the topic on everybody’s lips. Social distancing. Key workers are stepping up to the mark. Wash your hands. Wash your hands again. Home school your children – you can remember what an adverb is, right? Sure! (*Quickly checks Google*). We can’t spend time with family members and friends outside of our homes. Video calling is the new way to socialise. It is a troubling time for us all, and for those of us who are parents of young children, day-to-day life has become particularly challenging. Our tiny people love routine, but now our routines have been thrown out of the window. Endless questions… how do you explain Coronavirus to a three-year-old? It’s a difficult one. In our home, we have tried myriad activities to keep us all occupied, and seized every available opportunity for practical learning. We thought we would share some of our activities for you to try at home.
In the Kitchen
Cooking is a great practical and sensory activity that you can try with your children at home. I use the KinderKitchen Dog Knife by Kuhn Rikon with both the children. They both find it easy to hold and use it to chop vegetables, the teeth make it difficult to use for spreading so for that we use an average butter knife. Cooking meals like stir fries and stews have been particularly satisfying for the boys to cook. They can be involved in every part of the preparation process, and are particularly proud to set the table with our personalised placemats and serve a meal they have cooked themselves.
Benedykt will often pull up a chair when I am cooking and use it to stand on to reach the surfaces in the kitchen; we have never found a learning tower essential, as Benedykt and Sylvester have learned the boundaries of chairs very quickly - I don't recall anyone ever falling! We also make use of Ikea’s Sundvik table and chairs, which is the perfect size for little ones to work at. I highly recommend both the Sundvik table and chairs, as well as the more basic and affordable IKEA Latt set. More on those here.
Our personalised baking set is a great addition to any Montessori inspired kitchen, and creates a sense of ownership for our children. This set is the perfect size for tiny hands and, like most activities in the kitchen, helps to hone those ever-important fine motor skills. Our baking set also comes available with our best selling personalised placemats in this Gift Set.
Identifying different types of food and exploring how they look, feel and taste is a wonderful sensory experience. Can your child arrange vegetables in the colours of the rainbow? Can they identify and sort different types of pasta? Explore your cupboards and see what you can find!
Love it or hate it, it’s got to be done. Whether you are a Monica Gellar of the cleaning world, or leaning more towards the traits of a Tribbiani, cleaning presents an opportunity to practice meaningful and practical life skills, and creates a sense of accomplishment for you and your children when you’ve finished. Who doesn’t love a clean home? Children can help with tidying up, and asking them to look after their own things is a great place to start. Creating storage spaces that are accessible for your children, with items being stored in their own place, encourages them to take ownership and pride in their belongings. It can also inspire independence, allowing them to access particular toys or activities on their own and have a sense of control over their learning environment.
Toddlers can also help with washing up, polishing and vacuuming. Benedykt is particularly fond of washing the car – just remember to adhere to social distancing guidelines if you decide to do this. Taking a photo of what you’ve cleaned before and after can also highlight the importance of working hard to your children. Look at the difference your hard work has made!
A treasure hunt is a great way to keep little minds occupied and helps to promote problem solving skills. Our personalised magnifying glass is a great prop to encourage this. Create your own clues to solve or make a list of items for your little one to find around the house.
Hunting for treasure is not the only thing our magnifying glass is useful for. Identifying plants and bugs in the garden is a great way to get your children outside and enjoying the sunshine. There are loads of bug and plant identification apps that you can make use of to help you determine the species you discover. You could also make a bug hotel using items found at home such as toilet roll tubes, twigs and pine cones, or make use of ready-to-make sets that can be bought online.
Sowing and planting seeds is a wonderful way to introduce your little one to nature, and watching seeds germinate and grow into flowers for your garden can be very satisfying for young minds to observe. Why not try planting vegetables that you can harvest together and use to create tasty, nutritious meals for the whole family?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our ideas for practical home learning through the eyes of Maria Montessori. What have you been doing at home to keep yourself occupied? We’d love to hear from you! Share your experiences on social media using #benedyktandsylvester and #montessoriathome.
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