Recently, I have been trying to gradually introduce a series of Montessori activities to Hercules. He recently turned 2.5 years so I thought it was a good age to start. I cleared out the toy room (except for the books) with the intention of slowly filling his cubby holes with new Montessori materials.
Here are the contents for the first cubby:
- A felt mat for his “workspace”
- Coloured buttons
- Coloured Lego blocks (yes, I’ve been trying to be economical with materials by using what we already have)
- Coloured plates (from IKEA)
We used the buttons for counting. Although Hercules knows his numbers up to 100, I thought this physical exercise was good for him to cement the concept of physical quantity rather than abstract quantity which was how I had been teaching it previously. Maria Montessori said that young children needed to learn the physical before they could comprehend the abstract. Hercules knows that “36” is thirty-six, but I wanted to make sure he understood what that meant in a physical sense with physical objects.
We only had 40 coloured buttons, so I added some Lego blocks. We ran into some problems because Hercules only likes red and didn’t want me to use them. He kept taking my red buttons and bricks.
We used the same buttons and Lego blocks for colour sorting. Again, he wouldn’t let me sort the red objects because he wanted them for himself. He also seems to get the idea for sorting, but he’ll only do the colours he likes and ignores the rest. Recently, I got him to sort coloured pompoms into coloured IKEA bowls and he only does the orange and green but not the rest. When I try to show him the rest need to go into their respective bowls, he gets cross. Yes, I’m still working out how to get his full cooperation.
We also used the same buttons for the threading game to improve fine-motor skills in preparation for writing.
Aristotle found a new use for the materials and turned it into a picnic for Mickey, Donald and Pluto.
Yes, it seems a contradiction to what we wrote recently on quality materials to be using plastics and cheap materials. These were all materials we already owned or recycled from way back – the Duplo pieces and plastic buttons were Aristotle’s toys from when he was Hercules’ age, the IKEA plates we bought for the kids to play pretend cooking, the plastic jars are actually my breastmilk containers that I no longer use, and the felt mat is the RM5 felt sheets from Daiso (which Aristotle has been using as a Superman cape recently). Since we already had the materials, I thought it was a good lesson on recycling. I also like to encourage Aristotle’s creative and imaginative use of the materials.