DIY Montessori Inspired Activities: Visual, Auditory and Tactile

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1. Patterning with Shapes

I couldn’t get the wooden pattern blocks I saw on a particular blog shop (they were sold out), so instead, I cut up pieces of construction paper into various shapes and sizes for Hannah to play.  Before we got started, I introduced each shape and showed Hannah how to piece them.  Then I let her little fingers do the piecing.  It was interesting to see that Hannah was trying to be me.  As she too tried to introduce the shapes to me, then say the same thing as I did while piecing the shapes together to form a house.  I’m hearing a little me talking!

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2. Sound Cups

This idea came about when I was reading “How to raise an amazing child the Montessori way” by Tim Seldin.  The idea was to refine her auditory sense while she discriminate the sounds.

Firstly, I chose four identical cups.  Two of the cups had a $1 coin (which was heavier so it produced a lower pitch sound), while the other two had smaller coins like, a 10 cents.  These produce a higher pitch sound.  Then I wrapped the top with aluminum foil and used rubber bands to seal it (so that it’s easier to remove later on).

Next, I showed Hannah how to hold the cups with her fingertips and thumb (so that she’s lightly holding the cups).  Then, I told Hannah to shake the cups and match two cups that sounded the same together.  There were times when she was impatient and tried to shake two containers at the same time.  I explained that she wouldn’t be able to hear the distinction if both were shaken at the same time.

After she made her choices, we opened the foil tops to see if her answers were correct.  We talked about which cups gave a lower/higher pitch because of its weight and size.

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3. What’s Under the Blanket?

This is a similar approach to the Mystery Bag.  Initially it was intended to be a Mystery Bag game but our little girl wouldn’t want to put her hands into the bag so I improvised by using a blanket.

I took some items found around the house and had Hannah put her hands under the blanket and guess what it was.  While she was guessing, I posed questions like, “Is it soft or hard?”, “What shape is it?”, or “Is it rough or smooth?”.

The items used were an orange, a paper clip, a clothes peg, a button, a bottle cap, cotton wool, a thimble, and an ice-cube.

For more Montessori activities, you could check out the following websites.  I found much inspiration and ideas from them!

  1. http://www.infomontessori.com/index.htm
  2. http://www.racheous.com
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DIY Montessori Inspired Stencils – Shapes

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While reading up on writing and the progression of handwriting, I chanced upon a Montessori related article mentioning the use of metal inserts to teach children handwriting.  These inserts are of 10 geometrical shapes: circle, ellipse, oval, curvilinear triangle, quatrefoil, square, rectangle, triangle, trapezoid, and pentagon.

Upon googling, these metal inserts cost more than what I expect, so I’ve created my set of stencils using cardboard.  Although, it isn’t as sturdy as metal inserts, Hannah made good progress with them.  I didn’t do all 10 shapes just the basic few like circle, triangle, square, rectangle, and I’ve included a diamond shape since we’ve been learning about it.

I could see Hannah trying to control her color pencil and crayon while she traced around the stencils.  She happily named each shape as she traced.  It was a wonderful moment when I heard Hannah shouted, “Yeah!”, when she successfully traced her first shape.  The stencils were a great help as they guided her little hands. I sensed it was not as frustrating as drawing free-hand.

If your child is learning to write, why not DIY your very own set of shape stencils and watch your child have fun with them!