Valentine’s day is approaching and I feel it best to tell my child about any festival or special day through engaging activities based on that theme. So I have designed some Montessori inspired activities for my almost 2 year old son. You can easily tweak them for your child’s age and skill set.
Fine Motor: Red is the color for Valentine’s day. I took some cotton balls and mixed red edible color in water. You can use kumkum if you don’t have edible colors. But only if your child is not mouthing everything that is available.
I collected cotton balls, red water, dropper and a syringe (minus the needle, of’ course) lying around the house in a tray and presented it to my son. Pressing a dropper and handling a syringe is a great fine motor activity to strengthen the little muscles of the fingers. The activity was to use the dropper and/or the syringe to color the cotton balls red. After the water was exhausted, we squeezed excess water from the cotton balls. Squeezing is again a fine motor skill to master. NOTE: These balls will be used in the activity next.
Art & Craft: The red cotton balls prepared above were dried. I cut a plain paper in heart shape (yes, it is Valentine’s day special) and the activity was to paste them on to the heart cutout. My son loves squeezing so he happily squeezed out fevicol from the tube and pasted the red balls on the heart.
Maths: I used the magnetic white board and magnetic digits that I had all ready to create this fun activity. I drew hearts on the whiteboard, 1 to 5 in number and put aside some pebbles and magnetic digits to match. The activity was to put one pebble each, inside a heart (practicing one to one correspondence) and place the corresponding digit alongside the hearts.
Logic Building: I made a quick DIY heart puzzle from the foam sheets lying around in my house. You can use thick paper or cardboard as well. I just traced three hearts on different colored foam sheets and cut them randomly. So my 2 and 3 piece heart puzzle was ready, quick and easy!
Fine Motor & Art: Almost all of us have one or the other shape sorter toy or shape puzzle. Do not worry if your toddler has outgrown it. You can still use it in many ways. One of them being, as stampers. I had this wooden knobbed puzzle board of shapes. I picked up the heart shape and created this activity. The activity was to use the knobbed heart shape as a stamper, dab it in red color and stamp it on the paper. The child can fill up the entire paper as s/he pleases. I also kept some puffy stickers in the activity (DMart is a great source for my sticker collection!). The activity was to peel off “I”, “U” and heart shape stickers to write I Love You on top of the heart stamps. Sticker peeling is again a great fine motor activity.
Practical Life: The activity was to roll the wheat dough and cut out heart shapes using a cookie cutter. My son gladly rolled the dough, cut hearts out and happily ate heart shape parantha for dinner! Kids eat better if we involve them in the kitchen.
Practical Life: Flower arrangement in a vase is a traditional Montessori practical life activity. It involves pouring water in the vase, cutting the flower stem in appropriate length, removing leaves from stems and arranging them in the vase. This Valentine’s day, me and my son went to the florist together to buy some flowers.
Take note of the learning which follows with a simple visit to the florist - Vocabulary addition of a community helper called florist, social interaction with the florist, seeing, touching, smelling the flowers there and knowing their names, learning concept of money while buying flowers, handling currency notes, etc etc. It can go on and on. Since he was 22 months old, when ever it is possible, I give my son currency notes or credit card to hand over to the shopkeeper when I am buying anything with my son. It is giving him a sense of confidence and a ‘know how’ about money. So we bought rose, gerbera and sewanti flowers. The activity was to arrange them in a water bottle. I couldn’t find the glass vase I once had. My son cannot use scissors yet, so I did that part for him.
Science: A quick science activity with the flowers. You can grab some material from home that would sink in water. Mix those materials with flowers and keep a bowl filled with water. Try placing different materials and flowers into water and explain the concept of sinking and floating. Let the child do it himself and then sort them all according to what sank and what floated.
Happy Valentine’s day & happy parenting!
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