Step 1: Admitting the Problem
I’ve started noticing some odd sights around my house. Well, that’s not quite right. I’ve noticed them for a while – but now I think I have a name for them. These things I’m noticing are the “activities” my daughter creates for herself when I’m not paying attention to her. Things like this:
When she took all the puzzle pieces from the puzzles and put them in a basket. And:
Sorting the bottle of calcium supplements repeatedly, into every container she could find (the rusty wagon that I’m repainting was just one “container”). She’s also constantly sorting and transferring her raisins and other snacks.
So yeah – she’s a bit odd. What the heck is she trying to tell me? Well, I think the answer started over 100 years ago with Maria Montessori. If you have a few minutes, read this short list of her accomplishments. She was a remarkable woman. Some of Maria’s principles I’ve been practicing for a while. “Respect for the child” is something I try to accomplish through gentle discipline – and letting my child get bored is not a problem for me.
“The prepared environment” is something I never considered. This is the idea that we should focus on creating a home where children can learn to care for themselves – a “baby friendly” house. I always tried to make my house baby proof instead of baby friendly. Things are up high or locked away so I can control the amount of mess, and she has a select few kitchen cabinets with baby toys and books to play with. The cute pictures in my daughter’s room are all at adult level. Books, toys and clothes are somewhat accessible but they’re mostly arranged in a way that’s convenient to ME. And I closed off access to the counters because she has a habit of turning on the water or climbing up to sneak snacks and play with/throw dishes (other things Montessori encourages us to use as teaching moments).
So now that I know about some of the things I’ve been keeping from my daughter I want to incorporate them into my life. Of course I have nothing important going on and I can spend a day transforming my house and my life and my outlook on parenting, right? Ok, that’s unrealistic. Let’s make it 100 days. Oh, and I’m still too busy for that so those 100 days are over the course of one year. I’ll introduce a new Montessori activity or concept into my home 100 days of the next year. Want to join me? Stay tuned to the blog and visit my facebook page. I want help from new or seasoned Montessori parents/teachers on my page – I’ll be sharing your ideas and activities there!
For making it to the bottom of this post here’s an activity reward!
Day 1: The Q-Tip Jar
- Handful of Q-tips
- Mason jar
- Drill (or hammer and nail/pointed scissors – something to make a hole)
I cut my cardboard into a circle and fitted it to the jar lid. Then I drilled a hole in the top, just large enough for a q-tip. The drill left a rough edge on the hole, which added an extra step of pushing the q-tip all the way in. Still, it was quite an easy task for my daughter – and yet provided at least 10 minutes of stimulation.
Variations: a hammer and nail should work just fine for making a hole if you don’t have a drill. You could even use the tip of a pair of pointed scissors. If you have an empty spice jar laying around, use the holes in the lid for this activity as well!
Challenge them! another variation includes using toothpicks in even smaller holes! You can also substitute pipe cleaners for friction (there are also variations with beads on the pipe cleaner) or straws. I’ll be trying new variations and adding pictures.