As a parent we think it is important to keep the child active and busy, for we have been told an idle mind is devil’s workshop. In pursuit of keeping the child busy are we limiting their natural inclination to access simple things available around them and find the ‘fun ‘ in it.
Yes it is important for me to keep my child busy with different activities, it is equally important for him to be bored and try his hands out on unstructured play. This thought was a revelation to me through my firsthand experience.
There are days I am too tired to engage myself in creating activities, on one such days my son was done with the activities that were on the shelf. I had energy only to sit and watch him. But watch him do what? I was clueless. It didn’t seem to be a concern for my son, he casually picked up old decoration balls lined them up color coordinated, then he decided to experiment those balls by removing the glitter.
He was excited to see the texture changing, the curiosity reached the next level when he scratched the surface and saw there was something else inside. I let him do what he wanted, the next thing I saw was a thermocol ball waved in front of my face between those little fingers.
Gleaming with excitement with the discovery, he now wanted to see play float or sink. And the game went on for some time.
In all the tiredness I found the energy to smile and get excited that a simple decoration ball lying in one corner of his toy box kept him busy. More importantly it gave me time to sit back relax and enjoy, plan something for the next day.
I wasn’t able to capture those moments to share. All I could do was to happily watch him play.
After that instance we have been having many such moments of free play where he uses whatever is available at his disposal
A glimpse of it below in which he tries to balance his cars in the basketball net.
Now you tell me, how much of free play do you encourage? How long does the free play happen?
Meanwhile take a moment to join our support group Early Learning for Toddlers India and find your mom tribe 🙂
Learning to read is not a race while there is so much emphasis on phonics these days.
The child has to be ready before they start reading on their own, if not it leads to frustration.
Pre-reading activities or reading readiness is like a warm-up before you start exercising.
I have a curated list of free printables which you can directly download from the websites.
Montessori explains that the sensitive period for language is from 0-6. Reading aloud books and associating objects to words are all started from birth, while these activities can be started anywhere from 3-6 years.
1.Reading Aloud before Bedtime:
My son loves to read and I read aloud to him before our nap time while we snuggle together. We started with picture books with few sentences each page and then moved on to books with more text. Now we read books like this at 3.5 years.
2.Sorting by Category:
Sorting is an important skill that cannot be taken for granted. This blog beautifully explains why sorting is essential in the part of growing. In the later part of the blog there are plentiful ideas to sort by category. If your child is young and you want to begin then concrete objects are the best to start with. Check this post for young children less than 3. I would like to try all of the sorting ideas in our future work. For now, we tried a few of it and I have attached the links of free printables below. Don’t forget to download and practice them.
3.What does not belong?
Once children learn to sort they start noticing how things are alike and what is different. You can read on how to do this activity here and download your set of cards from below.
Sequencing is an important life skill by itself. Here Children learn to move from left to right like how we read on print and also
The printable can be downloaded from below.
This is an extension work of pattern cards, the story sequence helps to observe and recall events.
You can start with something as simple as “Jack and Jill” Rhyme (printable link below) and ask your child to arrange them in order.
The one we used is a bit complex which explains the story of a snowman. This printable comes with a control card i.e. Montessori way of the child to know if he has done the work successfully. The printable link is mentioned below.
6.Picture to Background Matching:
This activity is to help one prepare for figure ground perception. This helps in focusing on one piece of information from a busy background. In simple words: looking for a particular word/line on a book page.
“I Spy” games can be done to work on this. We did some simple picture puzzle downloaded from a website. Link is given below.
7.Using Magnifying Lens to Focus on an Object:
My son is now fascinated to use his magnifying lens and I took that to advantage by giving him some matching work with the help of the lens. While he was working on this, I understood he enjoys using the lens a lot. In the coming days we hope we do a lot more of magnifying lens activities. The printable can be downloaded from below.
8.Look alike cards:
This teaches the child to move from left to right and top to bottom. You can read on how to present this activity here. The printable link is mentioned below.