Montessori botany with a 2 yo

E came to me with leaves that he had picked up on the trees.  After explaining that leaves were not for pulling, I suggested that we might use them for a game.

Montessori botany in action:

“E, can you pair the similar leaves together?”

“You piled them up!   They are beautiful aren’t they?  Do you notice anything when comparing these 3 sets?”  This lead to a discussion about shapes and sizes and a few hours later how pulled leaves dies.  This last part really made an effect on him.

I love the learning and the discussion that went on with my almost 3 year old.  Simple, easy and so much fun.

I might propose to do some observational sketching of these leaves with him tomorrow to add to the experience.

Montessori botany with a 2 yo

Even a 2 yo’s ride should shine

Or at least so E thinks.

What I thought would become a collaboration between father and son, quickly became E’s own thing.

Looking at daddy wash the car was all he needed to get himself going.  He ran inside, fetched a clean cloth, parked his bike behind the car, and got started.

He cleaned every nook and crannies of his bike, being very meticulous about his work.

M. Montessori says that children much rather doing real thing then pretend playing the same action.  I have noticed that being true for a while now, at least with my own children.

But I have also noted that when doing the real thing, compared to pretend play, their execution is much more precise and perfect.  They make an extra effort, being, I guess, motivated by truly doing, by achieving something that feels worthwhile.  I guess this might be what we call intrinsic motivation for younger children.

Everybody deserves to live according to their passion, their life mission, because this is how, as adults, we thrive.  A toddler\preschooler’s mission is to learn, to find his place socially and learn what meaningful work is.  And I think kids thrive when they can live by that rule.

Even a 2 yo’s ride should shine

Bugs – step one: identification

After seeing bugs outside, E was interested in knowing more.  The basket of bugs quickly was taken out and observed.

We started by identifying all the bugs.

and then we identified their various parts.

All the bugs are stored in a basket with the booklets that I made.  I’ll give ample time to E to know all the names and their parts before I move on to another step.

the cards about the insect part were found here

and so were the ant part identification cards.

The bug set comes from here.  Kylie talked about her before, and she is right, she does an amazing job.

The insect are a Learning Ressource set.  They are really good.

Bugs – step one: identification

The start of an interest in bugs

Spring has been here for a while, but we had yet to feel it.  It has been cold and gray for the last month, but finally, we were able to enjoy a hot sunny day.  How we missed it!

It was one of the first day where bugs were really visible, and they sure caught E’s attention!

 

While he was planning to go outside to use X’s scooter (much to his dismay… now that he doesn’t have exclusive rights on it), his attention kept on shifting towards the bugs all around.

The power of observation is really strong in little ones, they want to see more then just look.  They are able to notice things that we take for granted.

He kept using the scooter but just couldn’t keep his focus on it.  Everytime he saw a bug, he stopped to look at it.  Nature was pulling him back.

my cue is clear, we’ll be looking further at bugs in the next few days.

 

The start of an interest in bugs

Handmade opposite booklets

I have given a lot of time to handmade book creation lately.  E eats them up so quickly.

The last set I made was created from flashcards of opposite words found here

But instead of making them as a big book about opposite, I made loads of 2 pages mini books to really show opposites.

there are more then what is pictured, but X was reading a pile of them while I was taking the pictures.

The flashcards were printed on really heavy cardstock, and stapled as little booklets.  I remember seeing something similar on a blog, but I cannot remember where.  I thought the idea was pretty neat, and the results speak for themselves.

E can’t get enough of these books.  It is excellent vocabulary wise (remember that we are a bilingual family, and english is our (close) second language.), and it is very interesting into trying to decipher what is written on them.

X and M have also used these to expand their vocabulary skills.  I am always on the lookout to try to find things to help them boost their english too, and sometimes, I run out of ideas.

But sometimes, the easiest ideas are also the best.  And many times, materials I have gathered for E work wonders for the other 2 as well.

Handmade opposite booklets

2 1/2 years old’s current favourite activities

I was asked many question about E’s current activities.  Here is a few favourites right now.

Arts

painting, drawing, modelling, all of these are used daily. My biggest challenge right now is to find the place to settle a art corner for E.  I need a bigger house!

Language arts:

This is something thoroughly present in his life, and mine, right now.  He notices letters everywhere, and tries to decode CVC words all the time.  So letters and mini books are literally everywhere in the house right now.

Sound pouches are a big hit:

 

And so the Melissa and Doug see and spell puzzle

 

I have a lot of homemade books, these are the current favorites

 

here is a sample of the inside:

they were made using flashcards off a website (I’ll link when I finally find it). E loves them, but so does the older, with whom I am currently working full time on mastering english for the rest of the school year.  It gives a lot of vocabulary.

 

Welcome to my fridge, where it all started letter wise.

these letters are played and used everyday, not only for words now, but also for sorting as you can see…

 

Practical life:

E is just as interested into this plant experiment we are currently doing as the other 2.  He is responsible for watering the plants everyday.

he loves it and takes his job very seriously!

Hammering shapes:

I had this game on my wishlist for E since forever, and I found it heavily discounted at a closing sale.  Of course, the best part of this game is the hammer, and this is why it had already disappeared by the time I had taken the photo…

 

Building:

Always a big thing here.  Magnatiles are the current favorites.

 

 

curvy board:

E has always been very good with his gross motors skills, but I have seen him manage to improve this since he has received this board for Christmas.  He loves to rock on this.  Gets daily use right now.

Science and maths

Magnets:  He loves to find what sticks on the magnet.  He is very curious with this.

 

Geometric solids

 

Botany vocabulary: E doesn’t like 3 part cards.  But he enjoy these because they are in a context.  He like to look at the card, and then look at the plants growing right in front of his eyes.

 

Geometric puzzle

 

language even makes it’s appearance in math activities!

 

the rest of his time is spent outside, reading LOADS of books, and pretend playing with M and X.

As spring is comfortably installing itself, there will be a shift of pace.  I am planning to spend most of our day outside to explore nature.  I think he is at the age where nature time is the most important thing.  I am building up a reference library, preparing and gathering tools and supplies, and I am just waiting for the warmer weather to kick in.  I cannot wait!

 

2 1/2 years old’s current favourite activities

plexiglass easel

I had a piece of plexiglass that was left over from some work that was done.  I couldn’t bare the thought of not using it, and so I decided to turn it into an easel.  I had DH make a frame for it, and voilà.

It is hanging in our new atelier, AKA, E’s old room.  It is located near the window, and I have put tools to be used with this on the windowsill for now.

E loves to write on this.  Most of the time, he writes his “letters”

and although we have still a lot of work to do on writting skills, here he is reciting his letters that he just wrote:

 

over and over again: (he is chanting the ABC song while scribbling)

 

The nice thing about this easel is that it is lightweight, so E can carry it wherever he wants to use it.  I have seen it put it somewhere and try to draw over what the easel was on.

But when I had this in mind, it was for a summer use.  I cannot wait to be able to use it OUTSIDE, it should be very interesting.  I’ll post picture, where the hot weather finally hit us.

plexiglass easel