Q. Hi Amruta, please suggest some practical life activities for a 15 months old baby.
Amruta: At 15 months, best practical life activities would be the ones where you can involve him (safely) around the house, in your day to day chores. Does he like scooping / pouring works? You can try those. Also if he is into water play, you can let him wash his animal figurines - you can make this into a scrubbing / polishing work.
Q. My daughter is 15 months old and I want help with tips on setting up Montessori set up with the limited space in Mumbai homes.
Amruta: You can use a small corner of your home to set up a Montessori space. I initially used our TV trolley for that. You do not need a shelf / expensive supplies to start Montessori at home.
See if this video helps?
Q. Looking for more exploration activities for my 4 years old daughter, which she can enjoy on her own. She is done with puzzles, reading, helping me household activities. Please suggest.
Noopur Kanchan: Using a masking tape, create a web around thedoor frame. Keep it at the eye level of the child. Crumple newspaper and allow the child to aim and throw paper, will stick on the masking tape. This involves both gross motor and fine motor skills.
Q. I actively follow your channel.My son is currently into books. Can you suggest names of few books for 2 year olds.
Amruta: Thank you so much! Good reads for 2 year olds- Look up on Eric carle, Tulika, Pratham
Q. Do we really need activities in summer? My house is full of guests and children during summer vacations. My daughters are 24/7 playing with their cousins. Age group 3-13 yrs. They won't even sit for meals, forget activities. Do I need to bother or let them play freely?
Noopur Kanchan: Free play is the best, however, if you feel there is something that the child will like to explore but during the academic year it gets difficult, you can explore those.
Q. Should we allow our kids to watch cartoons and rhymes and other video on Tab/TV?
Noopur Kanchan: TV time should be limited and fixed... however as a parent you should see what they are watching.
At 3.5, I would not make screen time as a habit. Once in a while, it is ok. I see screen time as 'passive' mode of entertainment -'I am sitting here. Entertain me'. Whereas painting, outdoorsy Play, Montessori shelf works etc are active mode of play - where the child used his creativity, imagination, gross and fine motor skills.
Amruta: Encourage him to eat by himself. You can make meal times fun, by involving him in cooking, setting up table. He might cringe / cry / insist on putting TV / Ipad for few days, but try to slowly wean him off that habit. Instead you can show him a book / tell him a funny story while eating. I am not saying a complete NO to screen time, but try to limit it :)
Q. My son would be going to Montessori from June when he would be 2years, how important is it for me to involve in activities at home as well or should I rather focus on activities like Dancing, Singing, swimming that would not be covered in Montessori?
Noopur Kanchan: Learning cannot be limited to a time frame or a location. Exploration continues, if you should engage in activities that interest your child.You really do not need to repeat the activities as that done at school. However always follow your child. You can always supplement things at home if child is enjoying, mostly focusing on life skills :) and a big yes to swimming and such activities!
Q. My daughter is 2 years 10 months old. She plays well. I keep her engaged, fond of books.But getting bored quickly, she helps me in cooking and all other household things. She repeats her rhymes, plays with building blocks, paints.
Noopur Kanchan: Plan some play dates - sand play, allow free play even if it is messy, put a sheet on wall. Give her different materials like scrubber, bubble paper, jute, sponge etc and allow her to paint.
Q. My daughter is 20 months old and she doesn’t speak much. Most of the time, she is busy watching nursery rhymes or cartoons, if I buy books or toys she will play for a while and if I take her to the garden to play, she will play alone for sometime and then she will tell me that she wants to go home. Now my concern is she doesn’t interact with any kid.Please suggest.
Noopur Kanchan: Reduce TV time, as Amruta said its passive.It keeps the child engaged however, does not give any opportunity to participate. This will take time and you will have to be patient. At 20 months, a child would not be very social. So what she is doing is normal :) But try to take her off the screen time gradually, and involve her in meaningful activities / Bonding time with you / grandparents
Amruta: You can also get some ideas on how to keep a toddler engaged at home here.
Q. My question is for my 3.5-years-old son. He likes to watch TV or videos on phone.
Amruta: Does he like books? You can read out some lovely books to him. If he likes painting, encourage him to do that. Also go through the video link, I have shared above for some more ideas:-)
Noopur Kanchan: Reduce the TV, phone etc. take it to near zero. As I said,it is not easy...play dates, spending time in the garden, exploratory activities are all good and children usually will play with same things again and again.
Q. My 3.5year old loves signing... He makes up his own songs at times what can I do to encourage him more
Amruta: That's wonderful! Does he like musical instruments? You can even try and see if you can find a musical bonding class close by.
Q. Is it a must to encourage theme based or instructed play or can we just allow free play as long as the child is enjoying?
Noopur Kanchan: Free play is best however, you can select the theme and make the material available. Then, allow him to explore.
They will, in fact create their own structure in the play that they enjoy. For them, play is not mere play, it is work :)
Q. My son loves water and I agree the best way to beat the summer heat is water. But he just wants to spill water around and not interested in scooping, transferring activities. Any tips on water based activities.
Noopur Kanchan: Mixing of colors in water, soaking seeds, using a sponge to transfer water from one bucket to another. Watering plants, scrubbing / polishing work using water / washing windows, washing toys in bath tub are some examples.
Q. My daughter used to go to play school. She is very active at home, mingles with kids around, plays and sings, dances. But doesn't mingle with anyone in school, she is all by herself. What can be done to help her mingle with kids?
Noopur Kanchan: Plan a play date at your house… invite her school friends and see.
This article may help too
Amruta: Phonics, I would recommend at 3+.
Read the complete excerpt here.