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!