Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Montessori Trays

After spending a lot of time looking at albums of Montessori trays (especially the ones on Counting Coconuts), I decided it's time to try some projects like this with Jackson. I put together three trays for him, and I'll either introduce them tomorrow before I leave him with grandma and grandpa or maybe I'll start a Montessori Monday thing.

Left to right:

  • Assembling a flashlight, which consists of putting in the two batteries (motor skills) in the right direction (problem solving) and getting the cap on. Possibly/probably too complicated, but I'm hoping the appeal of his very own flashlight is motivating.
  • Putting Kennedy half-dollars in a piggy bank should be good for hand-eye coordination and pincer grasp. Jackson is obsessed with coins, so I think he'll like this one. (When we're driving, if he hears coins jangling in the cupholder he says, "Quarters?") I'd love to make this a progression, working down to dimes, with educational elements like exploring about the Presidents currently featured on dollar coins or the State Quarters.
  • Matching lids to jars seems like it should be helpful for visual discrimination and spatial relationships. These are all jam jars and I'm hoping that the widely varying sizes will make it easier for him to "solve." There's one tall skinny jar, one squat wide jar and one tiny little jar that I actually swiped from our honeymoon hotel and just used up last month. I'm not sure if this will be easy or hard for him, but if it's easy I have more jars at the ready to up the level of difficulty.
I got the baskets years ago at a thrift store and they've just been sitting in the garage ever since waiting for the call. (I think they were originally intended for serving up greasy food like fries and lobster rolls. Man, I miss the @Lobsta truck. But anyway!)

There's a fair amount of "danger" in these baskets: the first flashlight I got out of the garage had a corroded battery and if my fingers burn off later tonight, please tell the paramedic it's from battery acid; the half-dollars probably aren't bigger than the toilet-paper roll guideline that is supposed to prevent choking; and of course the glass jars could easily shatter on our tiled kitchen floor. I will supervise, but I'm also taking a bit of a leap with these since I'm usually a fanatic about safety guidelines. Wish us luck!

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