I want to share these two Montessori activities with you because they are super easy to set up, they use items found around the house, they explore scientific concepts and they are fun! Both of these could be used with toddlers (be careful with small items) right through to preschoolers. Otis loves both of these.
To begin with I look around the house for useful items - here I have collected; pinecones, sponge, feathers, wood piece, button, branch, metal screw, bull clip, small padlock, rock, mini wooden peg, paper clips, shell and a glass gem. I put all of these items into a basket.
The first activity is a Montessori Sink Float Activity. The child puts each item into a small bowl of water and determines if the item sinks or floats. Then they can put the item into the sink or float category. I have printed and laminated a simple piece of paper which allows the child to categorise the items. Keep a small towel nearby for clean up.
For an older child like Otis (4 years) you can first ask them to predict (or hypothesize) if the item will sink or float and then allow them to test it. You can even ask them to explain - why do you think it will float? This can lead to very interesting lines of enquiry.
As many children love water play, this is often a very popular activity. You can always mix it up and use different items. This is such a fantastic activity to do at home, even if your child has this activity at their (Montessori) school it's likely the items used will be different.
The second activity is a Montessori Magnetic Non-Magnetic Activity. I have used all the same objects as with the Sink Float Activity without the bowl of water and with the addition of a large magnet.
The child selects one item at a time from the basket and tests to see if it is magnetic using the large magnet. Again using a printed form the child then puts the item into the Magnetic or Non-Magnetic category. An older child can first hypothesize which category each item will fall into.
Both of these activities are really fun and simple. The child can take their time exploring the materials and learn at the same time.
When demonstrating these activities Montessori would tell us to work from left to right (preparing the child for reading), so these may not have been the best presentations of the work but this is just something to keep in mind.
If you try these activities I hope you enjoy!