As a former teacher who never had the chance to have my own classroom, I am diving into (laid back) homeschooling my two-year-old daughter.
Homeschooling a toddler?
Yes. It can be done. It’s a different structure than preschool or elementary school. The approach that I’m using is intentional hands-on learning. In my short teaching career, I’ve seen many different styles of learning and teaching. The best style in my humble opinion has been one that focuses on teaching children independence, while fostering the student’s freedom within limits. Montessori based teaching in early childhood has proven to be one of the best approaches in the education arena.
What is Montessori?
Specifically in Early Childhood education, Montessori learning involves sensory-motor activities, working with materials that develop children’s cognitive powers through direct experience: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, and movement.
What does Montessori learning look like?
In the beginning, since the focus is on sensory-motor (which fits with their stage in development), Montessori learning involves the exploration of the five senses. The activities are aesthetically pleasing, therefore they invite the child to learn and explore.
I have two activities below that resemble this type of learning style. I will be sharing 1-2 activities with you a week.
Do I have the time and money to do these activities?
The answer is yes and yes. The activities that I’ll be showing you don’t take a lot of time or money. I purchase a lot of my materials at the dollar store, and I only spend about 2 hours (at the very most) a week on these activities.
Are you ready?
1. Pom-Poms and Muffin Tins
This was very simple to set up. And the great thing is that you can always increase the difficulty of this activity. Once your child has mastered placing the pom poms in the muffin tin, you could have them try to do it with a spoon, and then a pair of tongs, or even tweezers. I was amazed at how quickly my daughter caught on to matching the colors. It just goes to show that children have more knowledge in their head than they can express sometimes.
*Spoon, Tongs, Tweezers -optional
1. Trace circles on different colored construction paper from using the bottom of the muffin tin.
2. Cut out 1 or 2 circles of each color that correspond with the colors of the pom poms.
3. Tape and place the circles inside each hole in the muffin tin.
4. Show toddler how to place the pom poms in the muffin tin, sorting by the color of the circles. Example: blue pom poms go in the blue circle.
5. Increase the difficulty by adding a tweezers, spoon, or tongs.
You could also use clear plastic cups for this activity if you don’t want to spare your muffin tin.
2. Photo Album with Index Cards
This activity was a little more time consuming, but that was because I put a lot of stuff in that photo album. You could always do one section at a time and use a smaller photo album (the dollar store has a ton of photo albums). I choose to include the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors in my book.
*Index cards (4×6)
*Access to printer
One index card should have the uppercase letter, and the other index card should have a picture of something that starts with the letter with that word underneath. I printed out a bunch of clip-art images for each letter, and then cut and taped them onto the index card.
One index card should have the number, and the other index card should have the corresponding number of circles with the number spelled out underneath. You could do 1-10, or go up to 20 if you so desire.
Draw the shape and write the word of the shape below.
Draw a circle and color it in with each color. Write the corresponding name of the color underneath the circle.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and I invite you to join me next week for another Montessori activity for your toddler.
*These activities are my own, and are not sponsored by any Montessori organization.