By Chelsea Convis
Have you heard of the beautiful Montessori education system and been interested in introducing some Montessori activities at home? Or are you just looking for some fall-themed activities for your preschooler or kindergartener? Below are 6 delightful Montessori activities you can put together with what you already have in your own home!
- Pumpkin Hammering
Supplies: pumpkin, safety glasses and either a small hammer and roofing nails OR a wooden mallet and golf tees.
Teaches: coordination, concentration, fine motor skills.
You can choose to leave the pumpkin blank, or draw a face or lines on it for the child to place the nails. Show your child hammering safety, or even start the nails for your child if you’re concerned. Use your best judgement on the skillset of your child: if they’re a bit younger or less coordinated, you can also use golf tees for your pumpkin or a wooden mallet to lessen the chance of smashed fingers.
- Leaf Pin Punching
Supplies: leaves, pencil, construction paper, push-pin, small piece of foam or styrofoam for under the paper.
Teaches: fine motor skills, pincer grasp for writing.
Pin-punching is a beloved Montessori activity. Go on a fall walk and collect several leaves to bring inside. Either show your child how to trace the leaves on the paper, or do it for them if they’re too young. Using a proper pincer grasp, demonstrate how to hold the pushpin and create careful holes along the traced outline. Once they’ve punched enough holes, they’ll be able to push the leaf out of the paper! They can color it, paint it, or glue it to the branches of a paper-bag cut-out tree.
- Apple Washing Station
Supplies: 2 large bowls or storage containers (or a sink!), apples (or squash/pumpkin/etc), sponge or scrub brush, washcloth.
Teaches: care for the environment, self-sufficiency, motor skills.
Set up one of the bowls with lightly soapy warm water. Show your child how to scrub the apples with the sponge/brush and polish them with the washcloth. For an extra bonus, go ahead and eat the apples at the end! Your child will feel accomplished for having prepared their own snack.
- Corn Tweezing
Supplies: Flint/multicolored corn, tweezers, small bowl.
Teaches pincer grasp, fine motor skills, sensory development.
Explore the hard colorful corn with your child: encourage them to describe the texture and colors to you. Demonstrate how to properly hold the tweezers, and show how to carefully grasp each kernel individually and place it in the bowl.
- Corn Printing
Supplies: Corn cob, corn cob holder, child-friendly paint (several colors), construction
paper or canvas, plate.
Teaches: creativity, color theory, art, motor skills.
Arrange the paint on the plate: in lines, circles, etc. The more you experiment, the more opportunities they will have to explore colors and how they blend! Place the corn cob holders in the corn, and demonstrate how to roll the corncob through the paint and then to carefully roll it on the paper. As your child does it, encourage conversation about how the colors are blending.
For a longer activity, your child may enjoy painting the corn cob with a paintbrush rather than rolling it in the paint. This allows the opportunity to mix colors more precisely.
- Graphing Apples
Supplies: 2 or more different colored apples, construction paper, child-friendly paint, child-friendly scissors.
Teaches: mathematical concepts, introduction to graphs, fine motor skills, identify various characteristics of apples.
Start with slicing your green, red, yellow, etc. apples in half. Examine the inside of the apple vs the outside with your child and invite conversation about the core, seeds, etc. Have your child dip the apple in its matching paint and make a print on the construction paper. Once it dries, cut out the apple prints or, if your child is capable, have them cut it out.
Create a graph with construction paper and a label at the top for each apple: green, yellow, red. Now use your apple prints to fill the graph: “How many red apples do we have? How many green ones? Are there more yellow apples, or more red ones?”