I love Montessori printables and use them all the time. This is a Living/Non-Living activity which I arranged as Otis was struggling with the concept. This replaced the Sink/Float and Magnetic/Non-Magnetic activities on his shelves. There are quite a few activities like these which are great to do at home. At home we have and use different materials (for example it's likely we use different floating or magnetic items) - it can still be interesting and fun even for a child who has done a similar activity at school. Other printables we have used are Families or Mother/Baby Cards, Initial Vowel and Consonant Cards, Parts of a Leaf Cards, Sequencing Cards. Sometimes I browse printable sites and bookmark what captures my attention and what I find that Otis might like. Etsy is another place to find fun printables.
It's easy for us to automatically think that our kids won't like something or think they are too old for an activity. Otis brings home a pasta threaded necklace from school almost everyday. He still after more than twelve months plus loves threading pasta. I had dismissed play dough until recently I made some for Otis' cousin. Otis wanted it - desperately. So I have been making play dough and filling his container with lots of fun and interesting materials. He's definitely not too old for play dough. Tonight for an hour after dinner - it's better than screen time. This container has an easy lid, the plastic clips on the side secure the lid - they are great for toddlers up.
Otis is still a pre reader. As I've mentioned before he knows some letters, not all. He doesn't really know sound blends - I guess he's getting there. An activity I love is placing labels around the house. It is a great way to introduce the sight and written form for common household items. I will place the labels around the house and Otis will collect them. Or Otis (with Caspar or me) will take the tray of labels and place them around the house (we put blu-tack on the back). Most of the time the labels stay stuck around the house. Not all of the words are phonetic but with help he can get most of them. He only needs to work out the first three letter or so and then he can take a good guess.
The intent isn't to have Otis knowing these words by sight. We try to work out or sound out the word. Some words can be worked out by knowing a few letters for example Otis knows 'pigs' in Guinea Pigs, 'sun' in Sun Flower, 'egg' in egg plant, almost 'bed' in bedroom. We have labels for people, pets, food, kitchen crockery, rooms, furniture and many other items. Pencil isn't a great example, we also have simple words like mum, dad, cup. We have around twenty cards in total. It's fun to look around the house and see these cute labels. And yes it's fun to have a the kids and parents walking around with labels stuck to our backs.
Tomorrow's post is about Cooperative Games including a great recommendation for 3-4 year olds! I'm a total convert.