Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bears, Tapirs and Busy Bags!

We visited the zoo again this weekend and it was an amazing day to see the animals. So many of them were in full view, it was a real treat. This is the first time we've made it to the bear exhibit and what a special visit it was! While we were watching, both bears got into the water and swam up to the glass, just inches away from DJ. He was thrilled.

On Saturday I had spent some time creating this 2D:3D matching activity, using our new Safari Rainforest Toob. It was DJ's first introduction to a Tapir. Imagine my surprise and his excitement when we found a Tapir at our zoo!
I made the matching activity by searching Google Images for each of 8 animals in the Safari Toob, selecting the one that seems most like the replica, pasting it into a 2x4 table in Word and then printing it onto cardstock. DJ hasn't noticed it on his shelf yet but I'm curious how he'll react when he sees it.
Late last week, DJ selected the rough/smooth boards from the shelf. Imagine my surprise after he's been ignoring these almost completely since I first presented them. In that presentation, he hadn't wanted to feel the sandpaper and seemed like he wasn't listening at all. But when he pulled them off the shelf the other day, he referred to them by name, pointed out the rough and smooth sections and ran his fingers across each strip just as I'd shown him. He's watching closer than I give him credit for.

I made these rough/smooth boards with balsa wood and sandpaper. The first has only two sections, sandpaper on one side and smooth wood on the other. The second has 5 alternating strips of sandpaper and smooth board. And the third has five gradations of coarse to fine sandpaper. They are the first introduction to tactile sense.

The next step is five pairs of boards with matching sandpaper from coarse to fine. The goal is to match the pairs through tactile sense alone. This means that I'll be introducing a blindfold with that activity. I need to finish the set though because I have only 4 of the 5 pairs made. I've been dragging my feet since DJ didn't seem to like the first lesson but now I think it's time to get moving.
This is not a photo of a Montessori activity and it might be a little difficult to see what's happening, but I was pretty impressed with it. A few days ago, DJ was playing with a toy train car with a crane on it. He discovered there was a thread being pulled from the blanket on our sofa. During his play, he combined the two together and created a zip line! I don't know how intentional it was, but he was very pleased with himself when the little crane hook started sliding up and down the string.
More Cylinder Block activity. DJ can't seem to get enough of these and selects them nearly every time he has his work mat put. I'm excited to see how he grows with these in the coming years.
And this is becoming another common recurrence. DJ selects at least one drawer from the Geometric Cabinet each work session too.
Next, DJ pulled out the red basket where his toddler busy bags are kept. These are from an exchange I participated in nearly one year ago now. I made the color wheel with matching clothespins. At first DJ had been unable to operate the clothespins because he lacked the finger strength and dexterity. But now he manages them like a pro and he's able to match the colors easily as well. Fine motor control is hugely important so this has been a great activity to have available. I made this activity from the instructions and template provided here.
Also from the same exchange, DJ received this Button Snake. He can manage buttoning these shapes on and off fairly easily but he's still not able to do most of the real buttons on his clothing. Perhaps I need a more challenging activity on his shelf.
This old wallet of mine is also kept in the same red basket. This is a great exploration activity for DJ. It has several old credit cards still in the slots that require fine motor control to remove and replace. And it has several zippers and snaps to practice with. In this photo, DJ was working with the outer snap and for the first time ever managed to connect the snap. What an achievement!


  1. He sure is blooming with all you are doing!

  2. Thanks for the compliment! I love how the Montessori method encourages his growth.