Montessory Pedagogy is all about exploring and sensorial learning. This one is a great option as you can go to any park with your toddler, pick the best nature themed objects and bring them back home to your Nature Treasure Box. You can even make it a seasonal activity by changing the box with the arrival of a new season (the Spring Box, the Christmas Box, etc)
Remember activities with Toddlers only last for a few minutes so make sure to change it up from time to time, add or remove objects, and always revisit every day or so!
Safety First! Always make sure to pick appropriate sized objects, avoid any sharp or pointy items and check before bringing any uninvited guests home (i.e. termites, bugs, etc).
Tummy time is a big step in babies development. Its the first stage for the movements that will follow (army crawl, crawling, walking and on!).
This stage helps our little ones strengthen their necks and core, become aware and curious of the world surrounding them and encourages them to start moving.
Always make sure to supervise all activities and never leave your kid alone while trying new ideas.
1 – Paint in a zip-lock
Put different colors of any kind of paint (acrylic/tempera/etc) inside a strong ziplock and make sure the bag is secured.
A good option is to go for primary colors. Babies can start realizing the differences between each and will be interested at the texture of the bag and the reaction of the paint as they make pressure and colors start mixing.
If your baby is starting to move you can place the bag a bit out of reach to encourage them to go get it. Avoid them getting frustrated but always try to challenge them a bit for them to become stronger and more aware day by day!
2 – Pictures and Images of the world
Babies love to see other babies making faces, animals, objects, etc. You can get images from any magazine, pictures of the family, or books.
Always try and opt for real images to benefit the perception of the real world instead of abstract images or drawings.
3 – Bubble-wrap mat
Get any kind of size of bubble wrap (big bubbles is a good choice) and cut a portion of 15-20 in. Ideally secure it to the floor
Use it as a mat and make sure you supervise the activity to avoid any chocking hazards. Your baby will enjoy the texture of this activity and even the sound it makes.
As a variation you can place your baby facing up and he will love kicking and hitting the improvised mat
4 – Plastic Mirror
Place a small mirror on the carpet or on a mat on the floor and allow you baby to investigate and look at herself. You can put it in different places and also allow her to see you in the reflection.
The mirror helps to develop self recognition, making faces and movements and is a great sensorial and social activity for your baby.
5 – Sound and Color Plastic JarsMaracas
You can buy some plastic jars at any art store and fill them with different kinds of rocks, stones, color beads, anything that is colorful and makes a sound
Safety First!! Because of the tiny pieces always make sure to secure the jar lid and ideally glue it together to avoid any kind of choking hazard.
6 – Create your own sensorial mat
Use different fabric leftovers, an old glove, silk, wool, bubble wrap, eva rubber, frieze, etc to create your own textures mat and allow your little one to feel and investigate.
These are just a few simple ideas to help your little one explore the world, what other ideas did you think of?
We all know the high amounts of energy toddlers and kids in general have, and it is key that we help them canalize this into activities that they can use to stay busy and develop cognitive, motricity and sensorial areas of their brains
Below you will find some ideas you can try with alternative materials that hopefully you have in your houses or are easy to find.
**Safety First** Please keep in mind you have to be present during these activities as you might be using materials not necessarily design for kids. Always practice Safety first!
1 – Shaving Cream / Hair Gel
You need to choose an area of the house where your kids can do some extent of controlled chaos and let them explore the sensations of this activity, the smell and feeling. Always careful with the eyes and mouth.
You can spray on the table, or a pan and let them play and touch
Variation A = As an alternative you can add some toys or utensils (spoon, spatula, etc)
Variation B = For some other time you can add tempera so they can also play with the colors, and they can finger print in a piece of paper or use a foam brush
2 – Crepe Paper pull activity
Cut 4 ft long stretches of each color of the crepe paper rolls and using some painters tape you can tie it from a string, and hang the string in a safe area.
First we can walk through the crepe curtain, feeling the texture of the paper. Name the colors aloud (repetition is the best way to introduce and motivate talking!)
Then we can pull from each piece, cutting the paper, tying it around the dog (at least that was our variation :))
Variation A = You can use the left overs to do belts, wristbands, ankle bands, etc
Variation B = Also we can use the leftovers for dancing and playing around
3 – Contact paper in the window
Use painters tape to hold a 16 x 24 piece of Contact paper from the window, sticky side facing outward.
Different materials you can use to stick (your toddler will love unsticking them):
*Crepe paper balls *Light toys *Lightweight plastic balls *Different pieces of fabric (variations in texture and colors) *Pictures of real animals or family members (remember to say the name aloud!) *Leaves and sticks from the garden, dry flowers, etc. *Finger animals puppets
4 – Pull Post-it from window
Use post its of different colors and just stick them to the window, you can draw things on them or numbers and read them allow. You kid will enjoy pulling them and by placing them in different areas of the window they will need to stretch or try to get further, which helps them develop their motricity
Alternative A = use painters tape to stick light toys to the window
5 – Water in a Plastic Container
Put a tiny bit of warm water in a big tupper or container and let your kid explore and splash
Then add some toys inside and they can play a bit more. Add measure cups, kitchen utensils, spoons, etc. Baby dolls and give them a bath with a sponge.
Remember to place a water resistant mat below, or if weather is nice you can move outside!
What activities worked for your kids? how did you improve or tweak these ideas?