We love outdoor play, but the cold winter months sometimes mean spending more time indoors. And that means more hands on activities inside with your littles! Creating fun and educational activities for your children can be challenging, so we turned to the Montessori program for advice. What better way to spend a cold and dreary day than learning and playing in our Little Sleepies pajamas?
What is Montessori Learning?
The Montessori method teaches children independence by managing their own activities to build confidence. Typically, Montessori activities use natural materials like wood and are intended to be self-correcting, meaning a child understands if they have done it correctly. Simple concepts that focus on one task are key to Montessori play to explore the toy. And more often, the toys are based on real-life things, like dogs and cats.
Here are five activities to try with your children during your next chilly day inside:
Kids love to be in the kitchen with you, but the responsibility of little hands trying to measure ingredients and getting sticky fingers on the fridge can drive any parent to order in! With the right planning, cooking and baking together are excellent ways for children to contribute to meal planning (and even try new foods!).
Make a smoothie together. Take a healthy meal to task by placing different ingredients on the counter and letting them drop the ingredients in the blender. With supervision, let them take the next steps of pushing the buttons on the blender. The goal is not to be perfect; build confidence in the kitchen by giving them ownership in the project.
Looking for more ways to teach your children about following sequences in the kitchen? The Montessori Notebook has great ideas for different age groups, from toddlers to older kids.
Parents can create simple matching games with few supplies found around the house. The purpose is to offer two of the same or similar things and let their minds and fingers go to work. Here are a few ideas:
- Flashcards with images are a great way to play a matching game.
- Match animal toys with animal pictures.
- Get two copies of the same magazine or book, and cut images into squares.
- Got Magna-Tiles sitting around the house? We love this easy matching idea from Happy Little Childhood that uses your existing favorite building toys.
- Match fruit with colored blocks. Think blueberry and a blue block.
- Collect items around the house that match items in their favorite books.
- Match and place in a container. Take three boxes in different colors and items in the matching color. Ask your little one to place the items in the corresponding boxes. This helps them build fine motor skills while helping them learn!
A creative matching game comes to us from Jackie at Happy Hooligans. She picked an assortment of items around the house and outlined them on a big piece of paper. Kids match the items to the outline, strengthening critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
This Montessori activity is a great way to get some extra work done around the house!. By turning an everyday chore into a game, you’re supporting the child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn and explore.
- Ask your child to sort their book collection by color and/or size. Extra points for reading their favorite book when finished.
- Take a group of toys - consider blocks, animals - or clothes and ask them to be put away by color.
- Put their little hands to work with daily tasks. Ask your child to join you for laundry by organizing by color or clothing item.
- Markers, crayons, pens, yarn, scrapbook paper. All of these art supplies are within reach for an easy activity. Ask kids to organize by color, size, or texture.
Stack ‘em High
Continue to build motor skills with easy projects that you can set up around the house. The goal is to stack, build confidence and allow them to fix it if things don’t go as planned.
- Any chance you still have music CDs around the house? Take them out of their old storage container and encourage your little one to stack them back in the same place.
- Save paper towel cardboard inserts for an easy stacking game with lightweight plastic balls or balloons. Happy Little Childhood shows us how it’s done.
- Stack anything. There are a lot of different Montessori-inspired wooden toys available to purchase. It’s also easy to find natural items around the house that can help build the same motor skills. Have fun finding various items to stack together.
Sensory materials serve to develop and refine the different senses and build fine motor skills with the different types of activities. The materials help kids notice and categorize the senses around them. U Ready, Teddy collaborated with us on a blog post with fun and easy sensory play ideas to keep your young children busy, especially during a snow day!
We would love to learn more ideas and suggestions on creating Montessori toddler activities during cold and rainy days indoors. Let us know below or share with us in our Facebook VIP Group. And don’t forget to tag us on social media @LittleSleepies if you try any of these activities with your family!