I always want to follow my children, to meet their individual needs and wants. At home I've been trying to guide my ten-year-old (Caspar) to try a few new things, not to push but to get him thinking more broadly, thinking outside of the box. Perhaps it's because he has two younger siblings that take up so much of my time but I've been making an effort to spend more time doing things with him, making sure that he is included in some of my daily life and household activities.
Here are a few things that we've been doing together or that I've been supporting my 10-year-old to do, that might interest you if you have an older Montessori child. Remember that we are raising tomorrow's leaders, global citizens and stewards of our plant! Think about what qualities and skills we want our children to have that we can support and develop at home.
- Plan a day out. We have been doing a lot of local sightseeing so I've asked Caspar to research options such opening times, ticket prices, how to book tickets, travel options and to actually book tickets and reserve seats. We've also drawn a map with places of interest around our local nature reserve, to help us better plan our next visit.
- Re-pot pot plants, plant seedlings. Help to water seedlings. Even better have them plan a kitchen garden or help plan the family's garden plot.
- Plan, purchase and cook a family meal. It doesn't have to be complex or fancy, just healthy and no ordering in! Or they could make a dessert on the weekend? Perhaps help plan the family's grocery list, weekly shop or list for the farmer's market. We've done this recently with Caspar planning and cooking a family dinner with so much success that Otis (6 years) and Caspar cooked dinner together the following night.
- Teach the child to make something interesting from scratch. Pancakes, bread, pasta, gnocchi, something they will also love to eat!
- Reseach family history. This follows one of Caspar's interests which is history. He has a whole folder on his family history and his Pa has been helping and sending him files on specific relatives as they together find out more.
- Visit the library. This is a core activity in our family! We love our local library because it offers so many books that we wouldn't usually consider reading or ordering. I never force my children to read books they don't like but looking in different sections may help them find an unexplored interest. I often ask Caspar to pick out a new crafting, gardening or cookbook, hoping to spark a new found interest.
- Write a letter to family who live far away. Some children will love this and others will not be interested. Perhaps post some recent photographs, this might bring some real joy to elderly or distant relatives and only takes a small effort from the child.
- Clean and reorganise any collections. Perhaps it's time to clean out their collection. Some children start collections but they get neglected, this is a good way to help your child maintain their collection and give it a good old clean out.
- Plan a fundraiser. One of our friends did this recently and it was so inspiring. Is there a cause that your child is passionate about or that is personal to your family. Perhaps you could brainstorm fundraising ideas, simple things as a morning tea to a collection drive for used clothing or blankets for the local animal shelter, something for us to think about.
- Organise a clean-up day. We often see litter but don't have time to do anything about it. A clean-up day or morning or just an hour alone or with friends is a great way to teach children to make small contribution to their community without asking for or seeking recognition (remember safety, you may want to use tongs or gloves and have a talk about safety before you start).
- Research a local exhibit. Ask the child to research and possibly present to the family about a local or visiting exhibit, musical, or production, We've done this with exhibits at our local museum so we all have a better understanding of the topic before visiting.
- Start or keep a nature journal. Use their own camera, sketches and/or notes to record local and natural observations.
- Start or keep a gratitude or personal journal.
- Help sort, organise and donate old toys and clothes. This can help children understand the nature of things and how to manage their own belongings.
- Find a new and engaging podcast. There are a few podcasts that are really engaging for children at this age.
- Play with or teach a younger sibling a strategic game like chess.
- Teach them to sew on a button or to do small clothing repairs.
- Offer to take them to new or try out classes such as pottery, yoga or drama.
These are just a few of my notes, I'd love to hear your suggestions!
Other relevant articles:
- Montessori Inspired Age Appropriate Toys 9 to 12 Years at NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog.