[This post submitted to Montessori Monday 1/21/13.]
In the midst of everything going - work, house renovation, new baby, traveling - I have been sorely remiss in rotating the materials on Vicki's shelves often enough. She was bored with most everything there, and it showed. Rather than finding purposeful activity, she would throw things around and be rough. So I schemed up a new plan. I wanted to include a wooden puzzle or two, a tonging activity, a spooning activity, a new doll (we have a box of dolls hiding around here somewhere), an activity with clothespins and a bucket, and some new art stuff in a separate area.
I started today with the spooning/scooping, because I already had everything we needed.
The setup: two bowls, a scoop or spoon (I tried two to see which she liked better), and dry beans. I keep the beans in a sealed jar until it's time to do the activity so it's not a hazard.
The activity: scoop them from one bowl to the other. This is helping develop the pronating wrist motions that will support writing and all the other fine movements we do with our hands.
You can see she preferred the smaller scoop. I should have known this! The closer to the child's size, the better they will be able to handle it. Also you can see that our ever-present helper lurks in the background.
It also became an impromptu screwing/unscrewing activity with the jar that held the beans.
And finally we had to get the jar lid involved in our scooping, too!
The verdict: she loved it. It absorbed her attention for at least twenty minutes, and when it was time to eat lunch, she wailed when we went to put it away. I shouldn't have interrupted her work cycle, but I presented this too late in the morning. She woke up from her nap pointing and begging to get it back out.
I should say that none of these ideas are original. I get almost all my Montessori activities for Vicki from Kylie at How We Montessori. Her son Otis is just a few weeks apart from Vicki, and she has the most innovative and gorgeous blog.