What is your child's learning style? Visual/Auditory/Tactile/Kinesthetic?
Sensory Nature Play

How I choose activities.

Amphibian, Reptile, Mammal, Bird and Fish categorising at How we Montessori

How do I decide which activities to present to my children? How do I decide which activities and materials to put on their shelves or what toys to buy? There are so many things that I consider!

  • What is the family currently working on? Are there any family projects such as gardening or baking that we can all get involved with. Are we choosing new plants for the garden? Are we planning a holiday? We can start to research and explore these areas.
  • Do I have anything new or interesting that I would like to try - incorporating the children and family, sharing my interests. From hiking to finding a new food!  
  • Where have we been recently or do we plan to visit any interesting places? Often we can extend interests from visits to the beach, museums, art centre, wildlife centre. 
  • Are there any interesting ideas in the books I am reading? Often I find an idea in Montessori books or art books that I immediately know the boys would like and often I store these ideas for later. I read more books than websites or blogs and I get so much inspiration from what I read, often I adapt activities to suit my children or the materials we already have at home. 
  • What are the children's current developmental needs? I can only determine this through observation however often their teachers are helpful in this area also. 
  • What are the children's current interests? What can't they get enough of or won't put down? What brings the children joy? Let's do that! 
  • What have the children finished working on that perhaps I can find an extension for? Otis loved our nature table with items from the ocean and I very quickly knew we would need to look at star fish and their anatomy. Otis is currently working on the Hundred Board and I already know there is a huge amount of extension work we can do on that, I will get some ideas and keep them for when he is ready. Another example is Geometric Solids. Otis loves Geometric Solid work and now we almost always have some extension idea out. 
  • What is the next natural and logical step from a recent activity? Most of the activities on our shelves have just naturally came out from a previous activity. Gardening can flow to life cycle work or water cycle or weather work. Our recent mammal work (above) lead to us looking at anatomy - comparing mammals dolphins and whales to sharks which are fish. Some activities just evolve or merge into other work. 
  • What activities will support and challenge my children? What activities will reinforce their current learning?
  • What activities have friends and parents of my children's friends recommended? Often friends will recommend something because their children liked it. Often this is how I find good toys and puzzles or interesting local finds. 
  • What activities have the children's teachers recommended? This is huge because there is always a recommendation, there is always something their teachers have to say about what we could be doing at home. I'm not referring to homework but the teachers will often in passing or in parent teacher interviews suggest specific activities, perhaps in an area the children need help or practice. 
  • What are the current local, social, cultural or seasonal events? Often significant celebrations or events can provide really exciting and interesting learning opportunities for children and the whole family. From local markets to the Lunar New Year, there are so many things children can learn by simply doing and being empowered within their family. 
  • What materials do I have that can be repurposed? What materials or books haven't we used for a while that can be reintroduced?
  • Do we have any friends, family or neighbours with special interests or talents they may wish to share with our family (think music or gardening!). 

Otis scrubbing potatos at How we Montessori Montessori Practical Life

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