Summer is upon us, and that means if your child is not at one of our summer camps, you are busy planning summer activities to keep them occupied and busy throughout the day. At Milton Montessori, we understand that learning is a lifelong process that begins the moment we are born. This is why it is important to continue encouraging the Montessori approach to education, even when your child is out of school for summer break. A Montessori education promotes cognitive, emotional, physical and social development, and Montessori teachers utilize personalized instructions to meet each student’s individual learning needs. With this in mind, we have created a list of summer activities to do with your toddler that will continue to enforce and promote the Montessori approach to learning.
Tong Pick-Up Game
Your child is currently working on developing fine motor skills, and summer activities that encourage that type of development are both fun and educational. This pick-up game is similar to bobbing for apples, only without apples and your child will use tongs to grab the items bowl. Set up two large bowls filled with water. In one bowl, float different sized foam cutouts and leave the other bowl full of water only. Provide your toddler with various sized tongs—some that are hard to squeeze, some that are more flexible, some big and some small. Encourage your child to pick the foam shapes out of one of the bowls and drop them into the other, water-only bowl. Not only will this be an excellent activity to promote fine motor growth, your child will have fun splashing around with the water during the hot summer days.
Living/Nonliving Sort Game
This game involves printing out flash cards with different pictures on them—half of the cards should have pictures of living things while the other half should have pictures of nonliving things. Depending on what subject you are interested in exploring, plan your pictures accordingly. For example, if you want to introduce your child to gardening and the outdoors, print out pictures of living things like trees, flowers, worms and grass. For nonliving things, choose items like a watering can, gardening gloves and terracotta pots. Also print out two more cards—one with the word “living” on it and the other with the word “nonliving.” Make two columns and encourage your child to arrange the pictured cards under the appropriate category.
This summer game will teach your child many things including practical life skills as well as fine motor skills. If you have old kitchenware that you don’t mind getting a little dirty, provide your child with things like a muffin tin, plates, cups, silverware, spoons, ladles, and a handheld brush and dustpan. Either create a very simple kitchen setting out of leftover wood and palettes, or have your child to use their imagination to “see” a kitchen in the backyard. Your child can do things like make muffins, bake cakes and then clean up after themselves when they are done in the kitchen. Encourage your child to wash the dishes and other kitchenware and to sweep the area and clean up any messes. This promotes the development of practical life skills such as helping around the house and doing chores. It also helps develop fine motor skills when they pour “ingredients” from one container to another without spilling.
Small World Play
Small world play involves creating a real-life scene, in a scale model, using small object like toys, rocks and marbles. For example, you can build a small world farm in a pot of dirt with pig and chicken figurines and a pile of blue marbles as their watering trough. Or, you can create an underwater scene in the bathtub with seashells and turtle and dolphin figurines. The options are endless! When you and your child create your small world, your child is learning about language and symbolism. In essence, each word in our language is a symbol. If you are talking about a “car,” the word “car” is simply a symbol for the actual, physical vehicle. When you begin to build your small world, take into consideration your child’s age and level of development. The last thing you want is to create a world that brings too many objects into play—your child may become overstimulated and lose interest in playing. As your child gets older and becomes more involved in small world play, they will begin to act out scenes and situations with the characters in the world. At this point, it is important to follow your child’s lead when you play along.
Sensory play is extremely important when it comes to your child’s growth and development; it stimulates all of your child’s senses and encourages exploration and investigation. And when it comes to sensory tubs, the opportunities are endless. You can create a sensory tub using absolutely anything. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Ocean-themed sensory tub: water with blue food coloring, sand, seashells, blue marbles, dolphin figurines
- Pirate-themed sensory tub: black beans, beaded necklaces, plastic coins, seashells, colored stones, old rings and jewelry
- Farm-themed sensory tub: corn kernels, hay, cow and pig figurines, blue marbles, rocks, dirt
- Winter-themed sensory tub: cotton balls, blue and white marbles, pine cones, shelled walnuts
- Garden-themed sensory tub: dirt, grass, rocks, flowers, brown marbles, animal figurines
Milton Montessori School
These are only a few ideas for Montessori summer activities that you can plan for your child, and the options for more activities are endless. At Milton Montessori, we know just how important the early years of life are, and we create an environment that encourages children to learn at their own pace, in their own way. We believe that children should take charge of their own learning because this way, a child will better retain what they are learning. The Montessori approach focuses on cognitive, emotional, physical and social development rather than traditional education approaches that focus solely on cognitive development. If you are interested in learning more about our school or would like to schedule a tour of the campus, please contact us today. We look forward to speaking with you soon, and we appreciate you stopping by our site to learn more about the Montessori approach.