Simple Color Sorting

100_6509

Who knew colorful puff balls could be so entertaining. We already had some but apparently ones of different colors and shapes brought on a whole new world of play. I found these at the Dollar Tree and I’m probably going to go back and get one or two more of the different color variety packs.

100_6512

They are also really great for color sorting activities and counting activities. I gave my almost-3-year-old some measuring spoons to scoop the balls and sort them into a container (in the picture below). I have her say each color out loud as she puts one in. Color sorting is old news for my 5-year-old so she decided to build a bunch of mini-snowman (in the picture above).

100_6496

100_6501

Great for counting practice too.  ^

Another great color sorting material I found at the Dollar Tree are these heart beads. We use the basic pony beads a lot for color sorting and stringing but changing up the shape makes it new again! Worth the one dollar.

100_6483

100_6472

Pouring and scooping practice. I found the pack of mini paper cups at the Dollar Tree as well.

100_6454

I should have snapped a photo of all the mess that was made afterwards when they discovered how fun it is to dump everything and scramble it all over the floor (but that quickly turned into clean up time)!

Simple preschool activities you can do right now

I’m back to blogging again after taking a break for a year. In that time I had my third child! I want to continue where I left off with posting DIY and other preschool activities that I am doing with my children. My inspiration and ideas come mostly from around the web (all the great parenting blogs out there and Pinterest) and other parenting resources. I wrote more about this in my About Me section that you can find at the top of my webpage. Thanks and would love to have you follow along and hear other ideas!

100_5563Play with beads. Fill them up. Pour them out. Toddlers love this but require 100% supervision.

100_5367 100_5361Dip toy cars in water and make water tracks across colored construction paper. You don’t need very much water so even if it spills it’s not a big deal.

100_5319Use Q-tips for painting. Great for tracing letters.

100_5383Thread pipe cleaners into small holes.

~More to come~

No Mess Baby and Toddler “Painting”

100_4819

Here’s an activity that you can do right now! Whip out some light colored construction paper (I’ve used tan) and a paintbrush and some water. Have your baby “paint” away.

100_4820

My daughter is 17 months old and she loves this activity.

100_4823

Yes, sometimes she just likes dumping out the water…

100_4828

And then this activity turns into table washing, too!

This activity is great for improving fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and just plain fun. A little goes a long way!

 

 

the power of puzzles

100_4316

Puzzles are great. They are an activity that encourages problem-solving, hand-eye coordination, concentration, fine motor skills, and the list surely goes on. I found a pack of four mini puzzles from the dollar store. Yes, they are cheap and made of cardboard and will not last very long, but I have had the hardest time finding simple mini puzzles with only a few pieces anywhere else. Usually my 3-and-a-half-year-old needs a lot of assistance to complete puzzles, but these  mini ones only have 3-8 puzzle pieces each. She can do them by herself as one of her shelf activities.

I highly recommend puzzles for preschoolers.

 

It’s the simple things…

014

I recently got rid of a ton of my daughters’ toys and things. I had always talked and thought about minimalizing her collection, but worried that I would regret it later down the road. I’ve also worried about getting rid of things that were gifts from other people because I didn’t want to offend anyone. The truth is, I have been way more sentimental with their stuff then they have! Since I’ve reduced the toy collection both of my daughters have shown much more appreciation for the things that are left. We have kept things based on a few factors: is it educational? does it inspire imaginative play? is it handcrafted or made of superior natural materials? Is it a classic toy? Also, because there are fewer things, my daughter has a much easier time keeping things organized and her room has a much less overwhelming feeling to it. We have fun with less, and usually it truly is with the simple toys: blocks, tea set, puppets, pretend doctor kit, etc.

So, if you’ve been wondering if you should thin out your child’s toy collection, but fear that they would miss it… I’m hear to tell you they probably won’t! At least for kids 3 and under. Maybe older kids start becoming more attached to their things. I’m not there yet. What do you think?

The Montessori Language Program is Awesome

 

100_3896

I have barely scratched the surface in trying to teach my three-year-old all of the different Montessori methods, and yet I’m already seeing progress. The video below is very informative about the Montessori language program, and is part of what inspired me to go ahead and try and teach her how to read (something I previously hadn’t realized as a possibility at her age). I have been surprised at how interested she has been with learning letters, letter sounds, and words. All day long she goes around sounding out simple words, and a lot of times makes up her own goofy spellings (and thinks it’s hilarious). In the video, it is mentioned that younger children, around 3-years-of-age, are actually in their prime to introduce the concept of reading. This is because at this age children have “absorbent minds”, and desire to repeat things over and over (a key to learning).

Anyway,  you’ll notice that in the video the children are taught cursive handwriting. I don’t intend to begin by teaching my children cursive, but I definitely think it should still be introduced in schools. The particular Montessori classroom in the video looks wonderful. I wish I could send me daughters there!

books are for babies too

100_3647

Once upon a time we had a shelf for all of our books, but that shelf went to my daughter’s Montessori school area. So, for now, we just sort of have this chaotic reading area. Hey, it works! In the photo above my 14-month-old is sitting in a chair flipping through a board book, which she does frequently and daily. If we didn’t have this reading corner, then she wouldn’t be looking at the books. We do have books so she does look (we read a lot of Dr. Seuss). My older daughter likes to sit here and flip through books as well. Some times they like to stack the books, and then the little one likes to pull them all down. I would like to point out that many of our books are from our local Goodwill store, which often has many children’s books in good condition.

Anyway, my point is that having reading materials low and accessible for children brings the idea of books into their consciousness daily. It becomes an expected part of their environment, and maybe–just maybe–it makes them more likely to think of picking up a book on a regular basis.

~Thanks for reading~