Today I want to share two new activities. These are not traditional Montessori practical life activities. The first is hairstyling.
Some educators would find a hairstyling doll more of a prop for dramatic play or hairdresser play. I see it as a real tool to teach children real practical life skills. Hairdressers use hair styling dolls and this is just a smaller version. In addition, hair styling is fantastic for developing coordination, arm/finger strength and fine motor skills.
Above is our hairstyling doll. A younger child could learn to carefully brush the hair, make a ponytail or use hair clips. An older child could learn to use curlers or plait/braid. I recommend presenting the hairstyling doll with real (not toy) tools like a real hairbrush, real hair clips and accessories.
Some tools and accessories we could present with the hairstyling doll include:
- child size Hairbrush/Comb
- Hair Clips/Hair Barrettes
- Hair Elastics, Spiral Hair Ties
- Bobby Pins
- Hair/Head Bands
- Hair Bows
- Hair Pins
- Curlers, Twist Foam Hair Curlers
- Spray Bottle/Mister for Hair Detangler
- French Braid Hair Loop Tool/Topsyhair Tail Tools - for older children
I tried to find a hairstyling doll that looked like my child, however, I think he would have loved this no matter the skin or hair colour of the doll. It is easier to find a white blonde girl doll, harder to find other variations.
Options US: Similar Brunette, Similar Blonde, Barbie (with hands), Frozen Elsa Hair Styling Doll, Disney Princess Moana Hair Styling Doll, Target options. Options UK: Similar Blonde, Barbie (with hands). Options AU: Same Blonde Hair Styling Doll, Similar Brunette, Similar Blonde.
My four-year-old is generally gentle, but it was wonderful to see how careful he is brushing the doll's hair. He is still learning how to make a ponytail, I didn't realise how difficult it is to learn, it takes practice.
I recommend a child-size hairbrush (or comb) as it's easier for the child to use. We also have some hair detangler in the small spray bottle.
Let's take a look at how others have used a hairstyling doll.
"Hair styling. 💇🏾♀️ Today’s practical life activity involves a key component of Montessori education and everyday life: Care of Self. I thought it fitting to include a mention of this important topic as part of the #MakeMontessoriYours series on culture! Celebrating the beauty and uniqueness of Black hair is an integral part of our culture, a form of self-expression, and a nod to our West African heritage. 🇬🇭🇳🇬🇧🇯🇸🇳 There are braids and cornrows to be worn, colored beads to be had, fabric to be wrapped — possibilities galore!" - @schoolathomeandbeyond.
Here is a hairstyling doll is being used in a Montessori (3-6) classroom.
Hairdressing 101 at StrongStart including using rollers!
Let's paint fingernails! A couple of weeks ago Otto noticed one of his friends was wearing nail polish and he asked for it straight away. We've painted his toenails but I like this activity where he can do the painting.
This is more of a fine motor/art style activity. I recommend using child-safe nail polish or using an old nail polish bottle with children's paint in it. Painting with the little nail polish brush is fantastic for developing fine motor skills, a larger paintbrush doesn't have the same effect. Always store nail polish bottles out of the reach of children. I cut the hands out using the cardboard from a cereal box and drew on fingernails for the child to paint.
In a classroom or childcare setting, we could use premade hand cutouts. I used a water-based nail polish remover to clean the tray afterwards.
Fine motor skills! The child has to be careful to paint the nails only.
When we do this activity again I will present two or more colours so the child has a choice as to which colour/s to use.
Above is Painting nail polish on cardboard hand cutouts at Montessori Life Pre-Primary.
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