Homeschooling, sort of.

by Decemberbaby

This Wednesday I will be getting on a plane with two kids and my Mum and heading to a warmer, sunnier place for the next month. Yes, a month of Vitamin D and no snowsuits and running around barefoot or even naked (the kids, not me). But also a month without school.

As much as I love letting K run in and out freely, I do think that some structured activity would be a good idea. I’d like her to have some small sense of routine that is constant from school through our extended vacation. Hence, I will be kind-of-homeschooling her, in montessori fashion, while we’re gone.

I’ve been seeking ideas for work K can do that doesn’t require a lot of equipment from here. Activities involving regular household objects, basic tools, and things found in nature would be best. Here’s my list so far:

 

Activity: transferring

Goals: fine motor control, focus and attention span, hand-eye coordination

Materials: tongs or tweezers, several small-ish objects (nuts, marbles, stones, etc), empty ice-cube tray or muffin tin

Description: child takes a tray containing the above materials, with the small objects in a bowl. Objective is to use the tongs to move the objects from the bowl into the individual sections of the ice cube tray so that each section contains one object.

Add-ons: can be turned into a matching/sorting activity by having two or more of each type of object (i.e. two stones, two seashells) and having the child put all objects of each type into one compartment.

 

Activity: using a water dropper

Goals: develop/improve pincer grasp (important for writing later on), hand-eye coordination, focus, fine motor skills

Materials: suction-cup pad (the kind you can find in the bathroom aisle at a dollar store), shot glass of water, small dropper

Description: child uses the dropper to put one drop of water into each suction cup. When completed, child transfers water back into the shot glass

Add-ons: with some food colouring and markers, this can be turned into a colour matching activity (drop red liquid into the red suction cups, blue into the blue)

 

Activity: sweeping

Goals: develop practical life skills, gross motor control

Materials: tray with sides, whisk broom or hand broom, dustpan, bowl of dried beans (needs to be about as wide as your dustpan), electrical tape (to mark a rectangle on the tray)

Description: child pours the beans onto the tray, uses the broom to sweep them all into the taped-off rectangle, then sweeps them into the dustpan and empties the dustpan back into the bowl

Add-ons: once this has been mastered, it can be made more challenging by using smaller and more numerous objects to sweep (i.e. popcorn, rice, sand)

 

Those are three ideas. I’m also thinking about a scissors/cutting exercise (cut along the lines), folding washcloths, matching socks, sewing… you know, good old-fashioned child labour montessori tasks.

Anybody have any other ideas? I’ve got ’til Monday night to round up materials.

ETA: I just found this site which has descriptions of many common Montessori materials for ages 2.5 to 5. Now I’m off to create some materials.

Oh, wait, Shabbat starts soon. Guess I’ll make materials on Sunday. Shabbat Shalom, everyone!

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