Sunday, 28 June 2009

Summing up 19 month practical life

This is my last 19 month post so I thought I'd just sum up all of the things L can now do so I can look back on them as each month passes.

  • Using the potty. Yeah only a few accidents in the last week and she will go to the bathroom by herself a lot of the time.
  • learning to pull her underwear down on her own
  • brushes own teeth and washes hands (needs help with the taps)
  • puts her dirty clothes in the washing basket
  • puts the laundry into the washing machine
  • finds rubbish and puts it in the bin
  • waters the plants
  • sweeps with broom, dust pan and brush (doesn't quite understand the whole concept yet)
  • eats all snacks and meals (except diner) at her table
  • sets and clears her own table (with some reminding)
  • pours own water from a jug and drinks from a glass (still messing about with the water)
  • pushes her chair in (needs reminding most of the time)
  • wipes table and chairs with sponge (not all the time)
  • puts her own clean dishes away in the cupboard

Wow when I look at it all written out it seems like a lot. I'm proud of my little munchkin!

Some things I would like to work on next month are:

  • helping to put her clean clothes away
  • helping to match the socks (I've tried this before and she's not at all interested)
  • cleaning the window in the living room
  • starting to dress herself ( she can partially put on her pants and underwear and sometimes her shoes if she feels like it)
  • dusting (she does like to do this but of course I also have to actually dust to show her how to do it which may be a problem!)

If anyone has any other suggestions of things they've done with their 20 month olds I would love to hear them. I'd also love to hear any stories on how they've overcome the challenge of a toddler's "will" : )

Cardboard is my new best friend...

Sometimes I think I should rename this blog "Cheap and Cheerful". As anyone who has read my posts will have realised I don't have any budget at all for Montessori activities. Therefore I have to try and be creative with the materials we have and we seem to have a lot of cardboard! I just came up with this little ditty when I saw a package of straws on sale at the supermarket. Just an old shoe box with small holes punched in the top. She has to match the color and also try to get the straw into the small hole. I thought this would be challenging for her but the first time she put them all in, with the correct colors no problem. Then she started exploring with the straws a bit (they're the bendy ones) and put them in bendy side down. She is also learning that she has to put one hand on the lid in order to take the straws out with the other and then take off the lid to store the staws inside.

I also found this excellent shape and colors game at the boot fair today for 50p. Bargain. L doesn't have much trouble with it but she loves it. It also comes with two dice that have the colors and the shapes on them which we'll try out a bit later.

Friday, 26 June 2009

More practical life

L seems to have hit her stride when it comes to cleaning. She is really into sweeping and wiping with her sponge at the moment. It's a sad reflection when your kid cleans more than you do ; ) Maybe she's trying to tell me something!

She cleaned the whole hallway like this.

I found this cool cutlery set from Ikea the other day. It's supposed to be for play but it's safe for food so we're going to use it. First we started with a sorting activity and then we put it into her cupboard.
I decided about a month ago to dedicate a cupboard for L's meal things. It was quite a sacrifice as we're very space challenged in this house. Now all of the pots are crammed into the other side of the cupboard and keep creeping back over. Anyway this is the finished result. I've also just started using a small picture and glass with her. It's taken us so long because every time I've tried before she just completely messes about with the water even though she knows how to drink it properly. I've decided to try and have a bit more patience this time and keep with it for a bit.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Airplane spotting, practical life and rhythmic gymnastics?

Today L was particularly interested in helping around the house and outside. I think it was in part because her dad was home this morning and she loves to copy "help" him. First they did some sweeping together and then they watered the flowers. It was great to see them working together and it's also good for her to get a break from me. Lately she has gotten out her broom, dust pan and brush quite a bit. Although she loves to sweep she hasn't really grasped the concept yet. I'm happy that she is showing an interest though.

Another thing that we love to do several times a week is get out the instruments and play and dance. Each time I put on different types of music from around the world and we get our "groove" on. The other day we were listening to Capriccio espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov. We'd abandoned the instruments and were into full on dancing when I had a flash back from my childhood of waving a stick around with a long ribbon attached. So two minutes later L and I both had our sticks with ribbons attached waving them around vigorously to the music. Thankfully no pictures as I was too busy dancing!
Since going on holiday to visit my husband's family in Macedonia about a month ago L has been obsessed with airplanes. I'd never realised just how many of them flew over our house until I had them all pointed out to me with great enthusiasm. I'd been toying with the idea of her being able to keep track of the number of planes she saw each day and finally came up with this.
First we painted the sky with a sponge and some really watered down acrylic paint. Then we glued on some cotton baton clouds.
I found a picture of an airplane from the Internet and copied it 12 times. Then glued them to some cardboard cut them out and taped them onto her magnetic letters that she's not using. Now every time she sees an airplane either out the back window or in the back garden she goes to the fridge and puts one on. My intention was to count them all up at the end of the day but we haven't gotten around to that bit yet.

Monday, 22 June 2009

When it rains it pours...

Well it's been a week of potty training and what a week it's been. The old saying "when it rains it pours" could be applied in many different contexts. First of all I never knew a small child could have so much liquid inside them!!! Let's just say day one and seven pees in the first hour(none in the potty).Thankfully that trend did not continue.
Secondly, of course one always hopes for a quiet week when beginning something so important but instead of rain we seemed to be in the path of a meteor shower. All distractions decided to come at once in the form of major family concerns back home, problems with my husband's visa application, family colds and especially one very sick little girl. But we're soldiering on and all in all things haven't been too bad on that front. I just have to remind myself that washing a few extra loads of clothes has got to be cheaper than buying nappies.

I've realised a few things that can really help:

1. Make sure you drink lots of water. This way you will be constantly in the bathroom and you can bring them along too. Much less chance of accidents.

2. Try to pay as much attention as possible. This was a really hard one for us this week with everything that has been going on.

3. Don't take no for an answer! I think this is the most important one and I've learned it hard way.

I do have a really cute potty picture that I wanted to post but I think I'll save L the future humiliation.

And when the going gets real tough I just have to remember this...

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Lovin' the Double Doodle

We just tried out the Double Doodle Brain Gym activity from Making of a Montessori Mum. It was so much fun for both of us. L enjoyed the freedom of it and I found it strangely relaxing. I could see it being something to do when I'm really stressed. We'll just both double doodle for a while!!

I also finally found the best medium for the black card that I had. Chalk. I know obvious. Sometimes it takes me a while : ) I like chalk because it's not as messy as other things like paint. The colors turned out so vibrant. At first I just let L go to it but she quickly got bored and just started putting the chalk in and out of the bag. Then I realised that how is she supposed to know what to do if I don't show her. So I sat down beside her and got my own card and went to it. She quickly got the idea and got really into it. L's is on the left and mine is on the right.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Pita pizzas

A few weeks ago we picked up some wildflowers and leaves on one of our walks. When we got home we put them in the phone book to press and ......I totally forgot about them until yesterday! Needless to say they were nicely pressed. We glued them on to some black card stock that I’d originally gotten for finger painting but it ended up being to porous. First I started by putting the glue on the back of the flowers and letting L put them on but they mostly just got stuck to her fingers. So then I put a dab of glue directly onto the page and she stuck them onto that which worked much better. We then hung the finished product up by her table.

L started eating all her meals and snacks (except dinner) at her table about three weeks ago. I set up a small table in the kitchen for her to pick up her food and to clear her dishes to. It seems to be working quiet well now although she sometimes doesn’t want to clear the table! I have to entice her by reminding her that she can clean it with the sponge once she’s cleared it. Last night was the first time we used the table for food preparation. We made her favourite pita pizzas and I put all the ingredients out for her. She loved it and after we’d put the pizzas in the oven she cleaned it with a sponge and we both swept up the bits on the floor. It was such a success that I’m going to try and incorporate the little table into much more food preparation in the future.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Wonder of wonders!

We started potty training on Monday. I've decided I'm not going to comment on that until we've been doing it for a week. In the mean time we've been trying to keep ourselves busy while staying close to home.

Yesterday we did some water activities starting off with the sponge water transfer. I was surprised that L actually took to this and successfully transferred all of the water into the bowl several times.

Then we moved on to pouring with a funnel. After I'd shown her what to do she was eager to start and the activity quickly dissolved in chaos! She was pouring water into everything but the funnel and even watering the grass with it. I decided to just let her continue on and play while I put out the washing. After about five minutes I looked over and wonder of wonders she was actually doing the activity just as I'd shown her! I was so surprised. It just goes to show that even when you think they aren't taking anything in they are really absorbing everything.

I've also noticed this to be very true with the lacing chopsticks lately. This is still an all time favorite of hers. When I first introduced this activity we would do it together. On my chopstick I would always put just beads of all one color and say "oh look I'm just putting all reds on mine". She just carried on putting everything on hers. Then the other day she held up her chopstick to me and said "look Mommy all greens". Now she sorts them into colors almost every time. I'm not sure whose is learning more, her or me!

A few months ago I made this dressing doll for L. It took a few attempts and some tweaking and I still haven't gotten it exactly right. At first I put Velcro on all of the clothes and the doll but they just got ripped off so I finally decided to just let the felt go on felt. She loves to play with and dress the doll which is great until she wants to stand it up and move it around and then all of the clothes fall off! She loves the "dressing doll" so much that I made another one for her to play with all the time just out of cardboard. It just goes to show that you don't have to spend a lot of money to keep a child happy and occupied!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Gone Fishin'

It's been a busy weekend and we're all exhausted. Just finished doing our first boot fair and all in all it was quite successful. I can't believe how much stuff one small child can accumulate in just over one year!! I also found some cool things, including this tiny tea set. I think L will love it and it will be fun to use as a pouring activity.

A few days ago there was a post on The Wonder Years about magnets. L isn't quite ready for that one yet but it got me thinking about magnets and I then had this brainwave.

Our own little fishing hole. Complete with turtles, seahorses and even a shark! We started out by me cutting out some fish and we both colored them. Then I taped some paper clips to them. For the fishing pole I just used the pole from her mop (which she isn't using yet) and taped a magnet to a piece of string and viola! Luckily we had one blue bin liner left for the water.

We tried it out and then L came up with the idea to also use her sea creature finger puppets, so I taped some paper clips to them as well and we have a full ocean with very good odds of catching something. I love this activity for several reasons. One because as she picks up the fish she also put them back in the container effectively putting them away as she goes and also the best part is it was free to make!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Catching up

Here are some other activities we've been up to in the last little while. Kind of a backlog of activities from the past few weeks before I started this blog. I've had this Pringles can around for a while thinking it could be made into something cool and I finally figured it out. I just cut a slit in the lid all the way across and covered it with tape and then used about seven 2pence coins. They're quite tricky to get in and she has to push a bit and then she takes the lid off and takes them all out. This one is very popular at the moment.
Lacing chopsticks is also very popular at the moment. She gets them out numerous times throughout the day.

Color tablets matching. I've used the idea from other blogs of making them with paint color samples. I especially like all of these activities because they cost nothing to make!!

Buzy Bees

Well I'm sure I'll slow down a bit once I've been doing this a while but at the moment I'm still gung ho! We've been doing activities galore at the moment. It helps that the weather hasn't been that great so we've been spending more time indoors.

The other day I made up the shape puzzles which are also from Maja Pitamic's book. She has a template at the back of the book that you can copy and then I just traced them onto some cardboard and cut out the shapes. L seems to like them. At first I just started with the circles which she found quite easy and then the squares. After she'd finished those I put them out together. She did a few but then lost interest. Today I added the triangles which are quite challenging. I think this will be a good long term activity.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Rainy day gingerbread cookies

Today was our first attempt at making gingerbread cookies. I used the recipe from Maja Pitamic's book Teach me to do it myself: Montessori activities for you and your child. This is one of the many Montessori books I’ve borrowed from the library. I found it had some really good activities to use now and also some for when my daughter is older.

I think we both enjoyed making the gingerbread cookies, although there are a few things I would do differently next time. For one I would be a lot more organised and get all of the ingredients out and set up before we started. As it was I found L was a bit bored when I was trying to find certain things and sort them out. It also would have helped if I had read the recipe all the way through before starting! All in all it was an enjoyable experience and L had lots of chances to help throughout.

We haven’t gotten around to getting a step stool for her yet so I still use the highchair when she helps me bake. It was really great for this activity because the tray contained all of the flour!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Blog Beginnings

My first post on my first blog. Kinda scary. Ok here goes.
After having followed some amazing blogs from Montessori moms over the past six months I’ve finally become inspired (and brave) enough to try my hand at my own. I found that I would keep taking pictures of my daughter doing her activities and would think up a little write up in my head. After reading other people’s blogs I realised that it would be a fantastic way to keep a diary of my daughter’s and my Montessori journey and progress.
I was vaguely aware of Montessori schools and ideas long before I even thought of having my daughter but it wasn’t until she was born that I really decided to look into it to see if it was something I wanted incorporate into how I was raising her. After reading several websites and books I came to the resounding conclusion that it was.
I’m just learning by books, blogs and websites and sometimes I have no idea if I’m doing the right thing, although I do get encouraged when I see my daughter doing the activities and enjoying herself and also being able to do things for herself.
I’ve decided to start off with I will just write about and post the activities we are doing and how we (my daughter and I)both feel about them. If anyone is interested enough to follow anything that I write I would be delighted for any comments, advice and suggestions.
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