Montessori Monday: Animals and Such

I’ve been promising a post on the alternatives to store bought household cleaning and personal care products, and I promise that’s coming tomorrow, but I’m excited to link up to Montessori Monday at One Hook Wonder and Living Montessori Now today.

Why am I so excited, you ask? I finally found a box I’ve been digging around trying to find for months now and you would have thought I’d discovered a coffee can full of cash. I was delighted to reunite with my animal models and finally be able to share them with Annabelle. They’re not made of natural materials, but they’re one of those exceptions I mentioned in my Montessori-Inspired Checklist for Choosing Toys. They are far more realistic than anything made of wood or other materials I have seen, so they’re an important part of my personal stash of learning materials.

One new basket on Annabelle’s shelf contains a few of the control cards from the Juvenile Animals Nomenclature (3 Part) Cards that Montessori Services sells and models for the corresponding animals. Annabelle is a bit young for three part cards at the moment, but she loves to carry photos of various things around the house, so I had ordered these for her and planned to put out the picture cards only. She enjoyed them, but loves this matching activity with the animal models much more. She does it over and over again!

I have also put together a basket that contains just the adult male and female animals from the same families as those shown here. Annabelle loves to carry them around, pair them, and have me say their names. Of course both baskets can be combined to make Farmyard Animal Families – one of my favorite zoology activities, just because I love to see all of the animals grouped together. At Annabelle’s age, this is simple exploration and matching, but older children can gradually learn the names of the different family members through three period lessons, if they’re interested, and many extensions can come from that.

I have many other fun ideas for these and our other animal models in the near future. The possibilities are endless, hence my adoration for them!

In other news, right after I wrote about how I simply integrate Practical Life exercises and don’t place EPL activities on Annabelle’s shelf, I ended up giving her a bit of out of context, but still enjoyable practical life to do. Follow the child, right? Sometimes what I’m working on in the kitchen just does not appeal to her and she’d like something of her own to work on. Here she is spooning star-shaped ice cubes and loving it. She practiced a bit with tongs as well, but is still finding them to be a bit of a challenge.

I have also finally decided to grow some food. Better late than never, I say. Annabelle really loved helping me plant seeds and has enjoyed going out to check the plants and give them water each day. She has also been working with me as I try to prepare a space for our little seedlings that are ready to transplant. I have been really surprised by how much that interests her!

It is quite tempting, however, for her to grab handfuls of soil from fledgling plants, or just pull out tiny seedlings. There is also one pot in particular that is the perfect height for her, and she can’t help but step in it. My thinking is that this is simply age-appropriate exploration and is a natural part of her becoming acquainted with gardening. That said, I’m open to suggestions from those of you with extensive toddler gardening experience.

On the weekend, Annabelle and I went to check out the Micronesian Cultural Fair for awhile and she loved it. I was surprised by how long she was content to watch some of the traditional Chamorro dancers. It captivated her, and yet again I was pleasantly surprised by what a great date she was. We met up with friends, but I know I would have enjoyed myself quite well if it had been just the two of us instead.

And those are the Montessori-related highlights of our week of living and learning together. What did you and your family learn this week, and how did you go about learning it? I would really love to hear tidbits from you, too!

9 thoughts on “Montessori Monday: Animals and Such

  1. Discovering Montessori

    I really do enjoy reading your Montessori Monday postings. Tha animals look awesome I can see why you were super excited to have relocated these. Love the pictures of Annabelle. Love the hat she is sporting too. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Elizabeth Stone

    My mom set up a mini Christmas tree for my brother and I to decorate with mini ornaments. A bunch of them were animal pairs (male and female), and I remember I loved to find their matches once they were spread out over the tree. I enjoyed this even as I grew older. There's something inherently enjoyable about matching, I think.

    1. melissa Post author

      The Christmas tree is such a neat idea – especially with matching sets of things! I will have to incorporate that! I agree that there seems to be something enjoyable about matching for matching’s sake :)

  3. Jessica

    We love the star shaped ice cubes too. I really like the fact that they are reusable.
    Annabelle is so adorable especially with that hat :)

  4. Rach

    Great ideas!  I only have single animal and don't have naming cards, but I might make my own ones by photographing B's little figures and writing the names on them.  

    As for gardening.  Well, B definitely "gets" it  a bit more so doesn't climb into the veggie beds so a little dose of time will work wonders.  But I got her a little wheelbarrow which she loads up with weeds/soil/whatever we're harvesting and wheels that around.  That keeps her occupied for a bit.  She gets to dig in vacant patches of soil too.  But the time I can spend gardening is limited. If you can do a half hour a day you are doing well at this age.

  5. Jen

    We LOVE the Schleich animals too – so nice that they're to scale.  I've done different language baskets for families (mostly farm animals), ocean animals, woodland animals, African animals, birds, felines, and dinosaurs.  Plus we have the Schleich farm waiting in the wings for the early Primary language games.  There are so many possibilities!

  6. Pingback: Montessori Monday: Gorillas and Mealtimes | Vibrant Wanderings

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