We have turned our efforts to helping parents who are now at home full time with children who aren’t able to go to school and are trying to keep their children entertained and educated.
We share top 10 Montessori inspired activities for babies and toddlers aged 0-5 years that are easy to recreate at home using basic crafts and tools.
1) 👌🏼POM POM TRANSFER AND COLOUR MATCHING 👌🏼⠀
⠀ Need a few minutes to yourself? Want your child to practice their fine motor skills, colour recognition, colour matching, counting and sorting? This one is for you then! ⠀ ⠀ Depending on your child’s age and ability you can adapt this to suit them. ⠀ ⠀ Young toddlers: They can scoop with a spoon, or even younger they can use their fingers without the colour matching aspect. ⠀ ⠀ For older kids: make this more challenging by giving them tongs, tweezers, scissor scoops, even chopsticks!⠀ ⠀ I used the correct number of pom-poms to fill every hole in the ice cube tray. All you need is an ice cube tray or egg carton, muffin tin etc. Pom-poms are nice to use but you can use small Lego, buttons, dry pasta, etc. The list is endless just find things around the house to use!⠀
2) VERTICAL COLOUR MATCHING ⠀
This DIY activity is so easy to put together with whatever you have to hand at home. It
takes a few minutes to set up and can be adapted to suit a range of ages and abilities. ⠀ ⠀ I set it up as a colour matching activity, but if you have younger kids not quite matching colours yet, you can just have it as a physical activity of placing objects in the paper envelopes and beginning to recognise colours. ⠀ For older kids, you can put a number on the outside (swipe to see example) and they can place corresponding number of coloured items in each envelope. ⠀ ⠀ Any objects you can find around the house will do just fine! They can even go on a hunt to find objects themselves!
3) WHOLE BODY PAINTING⠀
⠀ We have been cooped up in the house today with limited movement so I set up an activity that would enable Sienna to move her body a bit. ⠀ ⠀ Painting on paper on the floor enables children to use their entire bodies to move and express themselves through the art activity. It promotes gross motor development, balance, coordination and of course, creativity! ⠀ ⠀ Clearly you can see Sienna is very much in the ‘drawing circles’ phase of mark making, and what a wonderful way for her to make huge marks! ⠀ ⠀ All you need is a giant piece of paper, or several large ones stuck together and tape them down on the floor. We did this in our hallway but this can be done anywhere really! ⠀ ⠀ I wanted to minimise the mess and damage to floors/walls so we used paint sticks (which are AWESOME!!!) but you can use pens, crayons, or paints for this. ⠀ The paint sticks are Brian Clegg and look like paint, but dry in a couple of seconds and so easy to apply!! And no mess! If it does get on the floor (which it did, and the door too) it wipes off easily. She also painted her face, hands and legs 🤣 and it rinses off like a dream!
4) POM-POM TRANSFER
⠀Activities like these develop your child’s wrist control, hand-eye coordination and focus which are all excellent skills needed to prepare for early writing. ⠀ ⠀ This simple, quick to set-up pom-pom transfer activity has a clear focus: move the pom-poms from one bowl to another. ⠀ It’s really simple and provides your child with a fun opportunity to practice that wrist control crucial for early writing. I added water in the bowl to give it a new element and to also introduce the concept of floating in a subtle way. ⠀ ⠀ Pom-poms survive water so don’t worry! If you don’t have any you can use food pouch lids, or other random small bits from around the house that would float and they can fish out. ⠀ ⠀ Tip: to make this more challenging, give your child tweezers or small tongs to catch the objects – that will give them a lot of pincer grip practice, again crucial for holding a pencil! 👌🏼
5) FROZEN POM-POMS RESCUE ⠀ ⠀
This activity is really easy to prepare and you can literally use anything to freeze in ice! ⠀ ⠀ A few ideas of things you can use:⠀ Small animals (fish, insects, farm animals, zoo animals) Buttons ⠀ Pom-poms ⠀ Flowers ⠀ Sequins⠀ Beads etc. I used these giant ice cube trays so that the ice cubes are not too small to be able to pop into mouths and I froze a few in balloons to have larger sized blocks of ice. Again just use whatever you have to hand: Tupperware or a freeze safe bowl will work just fine! Set it up in a tray over a waterproof mat or towel, with warm water, salt to help melt it, and tools for them to squeeze and pour water over the ice.Your older child will love watching the ice melt and you can discuss all about the properties of ice and how it melts. It’s a great introduction to science and with tweezers they can practice fine motor skills to pull the objects from the ice. Your younger babies will be able to experience the frozen ice, melting water, and enjoy the water play that comes with it!
6) COTTON BUDS POKE ⠀
Do you need an easy activity to keep your child busy while you are at home avoiding the Coronavirus?! Here is one which involves 2 items you most likely have to hand: egg carton and cotton buds! Also a great way to recycle and reuse!! I did two versions of this activity so you can adapt them depending on your child’s ability or what you want to focus on with them. The first one was more aimed at developing her fine motor skills and the second version I incorporated colour matching to make it slightly more challenging. To make version 1: Poke some holes into the egg carton, I used a pencil for this. Keep the cotton buds intact and your child will need to use more physical skills to push the cotton bud through the holes. Tip: To make this easier for your child, remove one side of cotton from the buds, they will then find it easier to push through the holes. Version 2: to make this a colour matching activity, colour around the holes on the carton and colour the tip of the cotton bud. I removed one side of the cotton so her focus would be mostly on the colour matching but you can leave both sides on and colour both to incorporate the challenge of having to use strength to push them through! I love activities that are easily adaptable depending on your child’s abilities, interests and where you want to focus their development!
7) HIDDEN COLOURS EXPERIMENT ⠀
⠀ I’ve seen this activity a lot online and wanted to try it with Sienna. So easy to create and
you most likely have these things at home already! You’ll need: Food colouring (a few colours) Baking soda, Vinegar, Water. I used 50% water and 50% vinegar in a squeeze bottle as I knew this would be more of a challenge for Sienna than pouring out of a small jug. You can use a jug, spoon, pipette, squeeze bottle or even a spray bottle, depending on your child’s ability and whether you want to challenge them. ⠀ ⠀ Put a couple of drops of food colouring in a muffin tray or similar, and cover with baking soda (just enough to hide the colour). Give them the vinegar/water mix and watch as they uncover each colour with amazement. The mixture bubbles and it is a really fun science experiment!
8) DIY ELASTIC BAND TRANSFER⠀
⠀ Transferring elastic bands from a bottle (or kitchen roll) to a kitchen roll holder or in my case a toilet roll holder is a super easy to setup activity and helps with a range of skills.⠀ ⠀ An activity like this promotes: fine motor skills, dexterity using both hands to complete the task , hand-eye coordination, problem solving, concentration, perseverance. Sienna found taking the elastics off the bottle the challenging part and spent more time removing the elastics from the holder and placing them back on. That’s where she is at right now, and that is ok! Activities do not need to be completed as they have been intended, it is simply about the process of repetition and practise that yields high levels of concentration and improved skills. Be patient with your child and focus on the process rather than the end result!
9) LEAF SWEEP 🧹⠀ ⠀
Does your kid love cleaning? Here is a really simple activity to help your child practise to sweep purposefully, so that when they make a mess they can actually help tidy it up! ⠀ ⠀ Stick some tape in a square on the floor to designate the area they need to sweep the items into. This gives them direction and an aim. You can use any objects, we used some artificial leaves but Lego’s or any little toys would work just as well.
10) COTTON BALL PULL
Here’s an easy fine motor activity to help that pincer grip needed for early writing skills It is by practising using the index and thumb in activities like this one – pulling cotton wool or pom-poms out of a whisk – that the muscles in the fingers and wrist strengthen and become more prepared to eventually pick up a pencil and write.⠀
Article written by Cerine Shalak, founder of The Baby Scoop which she created after spending over 12 years of experience working in Early Years as an Early Years Educator and having been the former Headmistress at a top London Nursery, Miss Daisy’s Nursery in Chelsea.
Follow them on Instagram: @thebaby__scoop