Sunday, June 30, 2013

New spot for Montessori inspired activities

Besides the learning space, where most of the Montessori learning takes place (see post earlier: the evolution of the learning space), I wanted to bring back an area for the prepared practical life activities.  These activities used to be where the toy rotations are now.  Having them there did not work for my family as they kids were using it as toys even after a lot of demonstrations. I understood their need to have their toys in the family room.  It is there place to play and relax.  After a lot of thinking and planning, I designated the back shelving unit, by the deck door to the Montessori inspired activities.  This rack is not in the middle of teh family room, and actually it stands on top of tile instead of carpet like the rest of the family room. In a way, it makes it seems as a separate space.  It is also on the way to the deck and easy to clean.   This rack was perfect as it provides a space for authentic practical life (snack area), and two shelves at different heights, which translates to a shelf for the little one, and one for the big sister.  The big sister can access both, but the little guy can only reach, and carry out what is on his shelf.

To show you what it looks like, I am going to also give you a tour of the heart and soul of our home, the family room.
As you can see it is not heavily decorated, and it is, thanks to our toy rotation, not overcrowded. We have a sofa for all of us to sit and read books, I still have my rocking chair from nursing my two kids! The room is not super huge, but the windows give it an open feel.

This is the fire place area.  We have been living here for three years and have not used it.  It is covered with a baby gate.  To the right is a small space where we put a bench (without legs) and two wicker drawers to put the Fisher price little people sets.  This week's rotation, we have about a half of the farm set.  This is my kids favorite as we live close to farms and a stable.

 Here is the rack used for the toy rotations.  It doesn't seem like a lot!  Don't be fool by the tidy appearance... if you put a place for everything and everything in its place it can be very appealing: We have out: big stuffed animals, a Spanish bingo, musical instruments, a veterinarian layered puzzle, a sound cube farm animal puzzle, train set and ramp,uno farm edition, Lincoln logs, cutting plastic food set, and the grocery store pretend items. If you noticed I have placed a small picture of what is inside the small shoe bins to help the kids remember what it contains.  I laminated them to make them last, and use blue painters tape to put them on teh show bins. Also, The shopping carts are out to play grocery store with the pretend cereals and shopping basket.

I skipped the sofa... it is a fake leather one from Ikea that has been with us for almost 8 years!  Then the library corner.  I got this book display racks from  Since our picture frames and furniture are black, my husband spray painted the racks black too. We visit the library at least once a week and rotate the books with the same frequency.
Then to the right we have the rack for the Montessori inspired activities that the kids can use at any time. Most of it will be practical life skills.  This rack used to be for our growing plants, but with this beautiful weather, we moved everything outside. Lastly the picnic table where the kids eat snacks everyday.  They also use it for coloring or not so messy art projects.  We kept the umbrella open indoors because it gives a cozy feel to the area.  It is a kid space only. 

Finally the other side shows the potty =} the little one is really into it!  and our breakfast table (where we eat all of our meals, and do the messy art projects!)

Now that you see our space, you can get an idea of where our Montessori inspired activity rack is located, and what we have on it right now :
Red white and blue... Happy birthday USA!  Ok... You know how I feel about holiday themes but I needed the kids to practice several skills.  My daughter needs to go back to numbers since she is confusing six and nine. The little guy is always asking for help opening things.  I found many of these ideas online, and by just looking around in the toy closet for objects in the right color! I am only using the two top shelves.  I am going to stick to a a few activities for a while.  We are seriously working on grace and courtesy (removing a tray, replacing the tray) with both of them.  I also think the transferring activities are helping them build stamina.  The bottom shelf has their snacks, and under it, we have their rugs and two breakfast trays they use as tables when needed.

 For the big sister:( 3.75 y/o)

 Cotton balls in placement pad, and counting stars with clothespins.

For the little guy (2 y/o)

Opening and close, and transferring with a small ladle.

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Thank you for sharing!