It's easy to over look language work for other toddler activities such as practical life and fine motor skill work like puzzles and other manipulatives. When I look at pictures of our previous Montessori parent toddler class there is a lot of language work on the shelves, there is a lot more language and categorising/sorting work than I was offering. Noting that Otto will not be attending a parent toddler class until we are back in Australia, I've sought some inspiration for making more language work for our home.
Previously our language baskets have been based on animals, transport, fruit/veg and plants and this is a great way to go, all of these items interest my toddler and all are relevant to his daily life. The work I've made recently is based on the home environment. Still very relevant and useful for naming purposes. This time I've been inspired by using minis or replicas found at our local Doll House (and accessories) store. The same objects could be used in a three period lesson (for Otto at 23 months I only use a two period lesson), for an older child with three part cards or even with the moveable alphabet, in Montessori these little miniatures will be useful often.
The topic of 'around the home' doesn't sound interesting but it is really helpful to give the child this language and I've found the no matter the topic, my toddler loves these miniatures!! In these matching activities I've used between four and twelve objects, my toddler will sit and complete twelve objects but when I first introduced him to matching work (at 19 months) we started with three to four. Very often we do this work together and I give him the name of the object. I usually only have one language basket/matching work out at a time, maximum two but I rotate them frequently, at least weekly.
The above tray has a bedroom theme. Indoor plant, bed, lamp, chair, arm chair, laundry basket, mirror, teddy bear and rug.
I personally adore this one. Around the garden theme.
Beehive, plant, dog kennel, watering can, boots, bucket, hoe, wheel barrow, sunflowers, shovel, rake and snips. Twelve feels like a lot but it works, I could break this one down and separate the tools and have hoe, shovel, rake and snips in a different tray.
This one has a cleaning theme.
Mop, garbage can, rug beater, straw broom, pegs, step ladder, feather duster, push broom, and laundry tub.
A bathroom theme, bath tub, toilet, basin, mirror. Both of the mirrors in this work are real mirrors so would also be useful for polishing or cleaning and the toddler, of course, likes to see their own reflection. This bathroom set is porcelain which is lovely to handle and for the child to touch, just like a real (traditional) bathroom.
Because I was already making the cards and I find it easier to do them all at once, I decided to make some for December with a Christmas theme. Christmas Chest, Christmas tree, Wreath, Sack, Christmas Hat and Stocking.
I printed all of the cards at home. I used images from online shopping sites and printed them onto white card and with a couple I took a photo of the object (with my phone) and printed it. Most of the replicas can withstand a toddler handling them, I re-glued the step ladder and beehive before presenting it to Otto, the beehive was designed to come apart. These are models and not toys, therefore they must be used under direct supervision. Some items like the watering can, buckets, bin are metal and are very sturdy. I purchased all of the items from our local Doll House store but most of them are available (for just a bit more) on Amazon, just search "doll house ....".