PRACTICAL LIFE ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป Feed

๐Ÿ’Cherry Pitting Activity (Practical Life ๐Ÿ™Œ Activities 101๐ŸŽฅ Series ๐ŸŽ‡)

Sustained, child driven and directed work can occur in many areas; however, ๐Ÿ™Œ๐ŸปPractical Life's real work affords the most stimulation both physically and mentally. Children โค๏ธlove to do the work they see the adults do. So, to witness the๐Ÿ’ฅ explosion of initiative, passionate work and the inevitable innate satisfaction that naturally transpires, we must simply "follow the child" ...

DSC_0095 During a practical life activity involving water or food preparation, a child usually wears a Montessori apron.

DSC_0084Montessori apron's elastic neckband and side velcro waistband allows independence for the child who does not yet know how to tie. (Adrian is using Baking Apron - buy here).

DSC_0063What you will need for this ๐Ÿ’ activity:

  • A large tray to define the space and contain the activity (buy here). We are using the red one to color-coordinate with the ๐Ÿ’cherries. With deep sides, this specially molded tray will hold spills and keep pitchers or vases where they belong. Perfect for so many Montessori activities. 15ยผ" x 9" overall; 1" deep.
  • Vinyl Mat (buy here) is a thin rollable mat that will cover even more surface to prevent unwanted staining of the table. This mat lies flat after unrolling and wipes clean with a damp sponge. Excellent for Practical Life work or as a lunch mat. Measures 17ยพ" x 11ยพ ". 
  • A cherry pitter (buy here).
  • A stainless steel plucker (buy here) for plucking cherries to provide an opportunity for even more fine-motor stimulation.

DSC_0084Plucking promotes fine-motor control as the child exercises his finger strength.   

DSC_0084A child can use a plucker to transfer cherries from and to the bowl/drainer/cherry pitter.

DSC_0084Cherry pitting also promotes gross motor skills as the child has to push down to separate the pit. 

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"The best instruction is that which uses the least words sufficient for the task."โ€” Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child.

โ€œThe child can develop fully by means of experience in his environment ... Such experiences is not just play ... We call such experiences โ€˜workโ€™. [And] it is work he must do in order to grow up.โ€  โ€” Dr. Maria Montessori

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"The sense of independence is to be able to do something for one's self... The child, in fact, once feels sure of himself, will no longer seek the approval of authority after every step."โ€” Dr. Maria Montessori.

DSC_0084And indeed, Adrian no longer needs me to serve him a ๐Ÿ’ cherry-snack. 
DSC_0084"I can do it myself!" he says, and those words are the words of confidence, satisfaction and joy. 
DSC_0084"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed." โ€” Maria Montessori.
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See here last year's ๐Ÿ’Cherry Pitting Activity post. For more on plucking, see the post "Olive Picker Toddler Transferring Activity" here


๐Ÿ’ฆWET Pouring 1: 2 (Practical Life ๐Ÿ™Œ Activities 101 ๐ŸŽฅ Series ๐ŸŽ‡)

We are continuing our Practical Life ๐Ÿ™Œ Activities 101 ๐ŸŽฅ Series ๐ŸŽ‡ with ๐Ÿ’ฆWET pouring, but this time it is pouring 1:2, where a child will pour from one spouted pitcher into two non-spouted cups and back. Make sure to introduce this lesson after a child shows confidence in pouring using exclusively spouted pitchers like in ๐Ÿ’ฆWET Spout Pouring 1:1 (see post heresince you want to assure success to your child.

DSC_0083What you will need:
๐Ÿ”นa tray that is comfortable to take off the shelf and carry to the work-space (you may want to line it with a shelf-liner to prevent any sliding around);
๐Ÿ”น one large spouted glass pitcher with a wide mouth filled with ๐Ÿ’ฆwater (I added ๐Ÿ’™ blue coloring);
๐Ÿ”นtwo NON-spouted glasses or cups or even shallow bowls;
๐Ÿ”นa sponge to wipe any drips or to wipe a tray dry.

๐Ÿ’กTIP: Make sure that the spout is large enough since the child will have to pour the water back from NON-spouted glasses into the pitcher, and you want to prevent frustration and assure as much success to your child as possible. 

As you see in this video, Adrian (at 3.5 years old) is still spilling some water while pouring back from non-spouted glasses into the pitcher. However, spills are natural part of this lesson, triggering reasoning skills as the child will have to realize the cause-and-effect and figure out what to do when something spills, that is wiping the spills thoroughly.  


The pouring below is a little harder since Adrian is using a small non-transparent pitcher: we are actually using a porcelain handle-less creamer (buy here) and tiny 1.5 oz sake cups (buy here). This time, I added green coloring to the water to keep the activity fresh and interesting.
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๐Ÿ’กTIP: Make sure that you do not have more water than will fit into both cups since the child will have to pour equally into each cup, and you do not what your child to end up with extra water.

"Pour, pour, pour ..."  

This activity is great at refining control of pouring, since the child might have to stop few times while pouring in one cup and then into the other (to prevent water from overflowing from the sides), and then go back and pour more in the first cup (like what Adrian did in this video). Also, some children might have an impulse to just pour the entire pitcher  - and it is totally fine since they can naturally learn how to clean up the work and make everything the way it was so that they can start over again. Cleaning up is a part of gross-motor control and part of this activity, and it gives them a lot of pride and the sense of accomplishment and success.

For more on pouring, see here "๐Ÿ’ฆWET Spout Pouring 1:1 (Practical Life ๐Ÿ™Œ Activities 101 ๐ŸŽฅ Series ๐ŸŽ‡)."


๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ 4th of July Inspired โ›ณ Golf Tees ๐Ÿ”จHammering and ๐Ÿ”ดโšช๏ธ๐Ÿ”ต Ball Balancing DIY Activity (Practical Life ๐Ÿ™Œ 101 ๐ŸŽฅ Series)

This is a fun ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ4th of July inspired DIY Golf Tees Hammering practical life activity for your child to exercise fine as well as gross-motor control.
DSC_0037What you will need:
  • golf tees, 
  • child-size hammer,
  • foam-block,
  • different types of balls to balance on a golf tee,
  • and a tray to define the activity.

A child cautiously hammers golf tees into a foam-block, being vigilant not to hit a finger, and then carefully places different textured balls on the top of a golf tee, trying to balance each ball.

DSC_0037Golf tees need to be hammered straight in order for the child to be able to balance a ball on it. 

DSC_0058-2This activity is a great way to develop dexterity (fine-motor skill) as well as hand-eye coordination, and most importantly, it is fun! Hammering also develops gross motor control and teaches a child a valuable practical life skill! 

๐Ÿ’ฆWET Spout Pouring 1:1 (Practical Life ๐Ÿ™Œ Activities 101 ๐ŸŽฅ Series ๐ŸŽ‡)

This is a lesson on WET pouring 1 : 1, where a child will pour water from one spouted pitcher to the other and back. (Identical to our DRY Spout 1:1 pouring lesson- see a link below), but this time using water instead of dry objects like coffee beans, dry pasta or beads.) This lesson should be presented to a child who is already conformable with DRY pouring since you want to assure success with pouring by first giving your child something that is easier to clean up like dry pasta, rather than spilled water.

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 What you will need:

  • a tray that is comfortable to take off the shelf and carry to the work-space (you may want to line it with a shelf-liner to prevent any sliding/shifting around; carrying the tray from the shelf to the work-space is part of the lesson, developing gross motor coordination);
  • two identical SPOUTED pitchers;
  • water (I added green coloring to keep it interesting);
  • a sponge for any clean up or to wipe any drips.

 

 Levels of Difficulty of Introducing ๐Ÿ’ฆWET Pouring 1:1:

  • ๐Ÿ“Š EASY: WIDE spouted pitchers;
  • ๐Ÿ“Š HARD: SMALL spouted pitchers.

๐Ÿ“Š EASY (below) would be using two WIDE spouted pitchers:

We are using a 10-oz 3.6" tall stoneware creamer (buy here) which has a flat bottom, preventing this pitcher from tipping, a generous handle and a large pour spout. A child will hold a pitcher with both hands, pouring from one pitcher and back, carefully wiping any spills with a sponge.


๐Ÿ“Š HARD (below) would be using two SMALL spouted pitchers:

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This type of pouring is a little harder since pitchers have smaller spouts. Adrian is using a 2.5 oz  2.25" high small glass creamers (buy here), and transparency of the glass adds a new dimension to this activity. 

Again, the child will pour from one small pitcher to the other and back, carefully wiping any spills. See here part II, ๐Ÿ’ฆWET Pouring 1: 2 (Practical Life ๐Ÿ™Œ Activities 101 ๐ŸŽฅ Series ๐ŸŽ‡), where a child will be pouring from one pitcher into two cups and back.

Also, see here "DRY Spout Pouring 1:1 from our Practical Life ๐Ÿ™Œ Activities 101 ๐ŸŽฅ Series ๐ŸŽ‡."


๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Flag Day 2017

Today, on June 14th, we celebrate ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Flag Day, by paying tribute to the Stars and Stripes, and also to all the flags of the world. We love using Holidays as themed unit studies, and today, we are learning all about flags. 

DSC_0011This World Flag Board (see here) is a traditional Montessori Geography material, which offers a child an opportunity to practice fine-motor skills by inserting the correct ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ทflags into their corresponding slots on the world ๐Ÿ—บmap. Also, the board is double-sided, and the other side offers a child a "control-of-error" chart with flags being depicted and the names of countries they belong to written underneath, so that the child can self-correct. This is a really wonderful material to learn geography hands-on by developing spacial awareness of the positioning of the world countries, as well as learning about flags' meanings and what they stand for. It is amazing how a little piece of material can"tell" a big story!

Below is a fun fine-motor poking activity with a language twist. 

DSC_0001You will need:

  • a piece of styrofoam,
  • a marker to write a letter for a child to trace (illustrate to the child proper tracing direction),
  • flag toothpicks (buy here),
  • a tray (see here).

A child pokes toothpick flags into a styrofoam block, while tracing a letter. 
DSC_0011Adrian traced "F" for Flag.   

We then learned about flags and the meaning they convey.
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Flag of the Unites States of America. Flags of the World book (buy here).

There are fifty stars and thirteen stripes on this tricolored flag, nicknamed the "Stars and Stripes." The stars represent the number of states in the country. The last states to join were Alaska (bought from Russia for $7,200,00) and Hawaii, becoming the 49th and 50th stars. Also, there are thirteen stripes, corresponding to the thirteen original colonies in the Union. The white stripes signify honesty, and the red stripes: courage and fervor. The blue rectangle symbolizes loyalty, friendship, and justice. 

DSC_0015F Is for Flag book (on the right/buy here) is a simple beginner book to introduce the holiday.
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Flags of the World book (buy here) is a complete compendium of the worldโ€™s flags, grouped by geographic area. Each nationโ€™s flag is paired with facts explaining flag's meaning and significance, thus providing a window into the histories, values, and cultures of countries around the world.

Waving in the wind, a flag may not seem like a code. But hidden in the stripes, stars, suns, moons, and colors of the worldโ€™s flags are the keys to understanding different countriesโ€™ shared histories and cherished ideals. Flags do much more than identify countries and groups of people. In every color, pattern, and design, the citizens and governments of countries announce their allegiances and herald their history. 

DSC_0015Ultimate Sticker Book (buy here) offers a child an opportunity to match the flags to the physical map.
DSC_0011-2Adrian also made "Flagooglish""from play-doh. (We have this International flag banner on the background).
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This is a fun play-dough craft to enjoy on Flag Day! 

You will need:

  • play-doh (we are using this natural play dough);
  • flag toothpicks (buy here),
  • googly eyes. 

Happy Birthday Stars and Stripes Flag!

See also here a post "๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Flag Day - How We Celebrated in 2016."