Can I Prepare Montessori Activities in the Home?
Yes, there are many Montessori activities that can be done right in the comforts of your very own home. The idea when planning any Montessori activity is to create an environment where your toddler/preschooler will gain the maximum amount of independence possible. The Montessori phrase “Help me do it by myself” is crucial to young children as they are learning. Offering minimal assistance to help the child complete the activity at hand is the goal.
The Importance of Mathematics:
One very important area that is of emphasis in most preschools is mathematically related activities. The Montessori method of teaching provides many math-related activities that can help children gain basic math skills such as counting and matching numbers. These are great ways to introduce mathematic to your toddler in a fun, independent way. There are endless activities you can do to at home to promote independence and basic math skills to your toddler or preschooler.
Some of the Montessori favorites are discussed below:
1. Math Trays: For younger children providing shapes in various colors for them to explore and feel can help them learn both colors and basic geometric shapes such as triangle, square, circle, etc. Match these with flash cards showing the shape and its name. Older children can be given colorful popsicle sticks to allow them to make the shapes shown on the flashcards to practice what they have seen shown to them before.
2. Math Rods: These rods are made of different colors and are a counting tool for young children. For example, you can use blue and red sticks and have the child line them up and count out how many there are. Provide corresponding cards with numbers 1-10 written on them so they can label them appropriately. This helps lay a base for more complex Montessori-related activities as the child’s math skills advance
3. Number Line: Provide a number line with the numbers 1-10 written out on the paper. Provide wooden blocks of the numbers to the child and let them put them in an order corresponding to the numbers on the line. As the child accomplishes this activity provide wooden numbers in different colors and sizes for a more stimulating experience.
4. Numbers & Counters: Provide a wooden box divided into two sections. One has objects that the child can count and the other has cut-outs of numbers. The child will line up the numbers and put the appropriate amount of objects underneath each number to correspond with the number they have chosen. Use a variety of different size, shape, and textured objects to count with to provide a richer sensory experience for your child.
5. Sensorial Stair Towers: This activity helps children become more “abstract” with their thinking and mathematics skills. As they build the “stairs” they have the longest piece on the bottom and the smallest piece on top. Learning how to arrange these pieces in appropriate order provides abstract thinking and spatial reasoning skills as well as mathematics practice for the child.
Montessori Mathematics in the Home:
These are just 5 examples of many that can be done in the home to provide children with mathematical experiences within the Montessori way of learning. These activities help gear a child towards an independent, more abstract concept of numbers, shapes, colors, counting, and math as they get older and develop their own independent thinking process.
Remember: When creating these activity sets to use in your home provide a wide variety of materials for the child to use so they are engaged in a strong sensory environment. Also, remember to try to use many natural materials as possible. Montessori emphasizes this as part of the child’s learning. Heavy use of things like wooden boxes to store materials and different items that have a wide variety of sizes, colors, and textures help stimulate the child’s learning and growth while they learn their basic mathematics skills.