“It comes for a moment but its benefits last for a lifetime.” – Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori talks about how children go through sensitive periods. These sensitive periods represent windows of opportunity during which children have an intense amount of interest towards something in particular. This interest enables the child to learn the corresponding knowledge and skill with enjoyment.
In Montessori education the parent or teacher observes the child closely for signs of sensitive periods. Through observing my child I have created the activities I will list below.
Now these shelfs may be different for every child. Some of the activities you will see may be for older or younger children, but like I said observing your child you will know what they are ready for and what their needs are.
The above picture shown is a DIY I created. I used a piece of cardboard and bottle caps with velcro so we can move around the different color caps. I also provided tongs and pom poms.
In each cap there is a different color. He has been very fascinated by this activity for the last week. He grabs the pom pom with the tongs and places the color pom pom in the cap with the same color.
Now this teaches him to color sort and the use of tongs is a great way to build hang strength, develop fine and gross motor skills as well as building coordination. Using tongs with transfer work allows the child through repetition to develop focus and concentration.
Here we have a matching activity with plastic animals and picture cards.
I bought the plastic animals at the dollar store, printed our pictures of the animals, laminated and cut them into small picture cards. For toddlers, like my son, it is easier to start with only a few animals and increase the amount as they learn the activity.
This specific activity focuses on matching the animal to their realistic photo cards. You place all the animals cards on the floor and invite the child to place the animals on the matching pictures. It is a perfect activity to practice language skills as well because we say the animals name as we are matching them.
Another color sorting activity on his shelf. This was one fun and easy to create. I had an empty egg carton and decided to use it for a new activity on his shelf rotation. I grabbed some popsicle sticks and colored them.
I have him bring the popsicle sticks on the floor and the egg carton and he has to stick the colored popsicle stick in the hole that matches it. He has a lot of fun with this activity because like I mentioned earlier, he is going through a sensitive period and this is what interests him at the moment.
This shelf is not necessarily an activity but a small section where he has his colors and paper so he can color whenever he feels the need too.
We downsized into a small apartment so I don’t have his art area set up so he can access painting whenever he feels like painting.
This article on PBS.org describes the importance of art in a young child’s life.
- Fine motor development
- Sensory development
- Whole brain development
- Emotional regulation
- Encourages expression
- Brings joy and happiness
- Develops vocabulary
- Introduces math and science concepts
- Develops attention to detail and awareness of the environment
- Concentration & focus
- Encourages an appreciation of creative expression of others
In this shelf we have a nut and bolt activity. It also helps with color sorting as the nuts have colors.
This activity is great to strengthen the child’s hand to eye coordinate and refinement of their grasp.
This one is one of our favorite activities at the moment. It is also an activity to practice language skills because we say the shape and color as he grabs and places it.
Well this is our shelf at 21 months. I hope you enjoyed reading about them and hope it helps if you’re looking to do some activities with you little ones!