Teaching practical life skills – just give the kid a real glass!

My husband has lost it, and so have I, over our son’s huge sippy cup falling off the table, on the table, falling off the couch, hitting things, banging into toys. These things were made to be bulletproof (well they are spill-proof, after all).

Anyways, I was perusing the Montessori Services site to update my Alphabet Box (I’ll post on that later) — and I saw these adorable little glasses. They were selling these — Economy Juice Glasses — $7.50 for 6! I had to buy them, and wow, are we glad we did!  They are very sturdy, and though they are glass, they have fallen once or twice on our wood floor with no breakage so far!

John treats these with care. He feels special.  He holds it gently with two hands, and lately, sometimes only one hand — he is learning a life-long skill.  He feels grown-up. He is. Growing up.

Just look at that smile : )

DSC02525 DSC02523 DSC02520


Happy drinking,

 photo Amy3_zps8e2e6a59.png

Linking up at Living Montessori Now!

Defining gross motor and fine motor skills

I want to set my son up with activities that promote development of both fine and gross motor skills.

Gross motor skills use the large muscles of the body.  Running, jumping, hopping, steps, throwing, balance while dressing or sitting.

Fine motor skills use the small muscles of the hands and fingers.  These include grasp, manipulating and releasing small objects (such as coloring materials, buttons, zippers, scissors, silverware, toothbrushes).  Also included are hand preference and coordination of both hands.

These motor skills must be developed to emphasize self-care skills and learning play, as well as to aid in building self-esteem and creating important social skills.

PicMonkey Collage

Skills your child should develop by age four:

Fine Motor Skills

  • select hand preference for tool use
  • pincer grasp (i.e. threading a shoelace, snaps, buttons, zips, laces)
  • screwing and unscrewing a small jar
  • build a tower of 10+ blocks
  • create block designs (i.e. train or bridge with 6+ blocks)
  • complete 10 piece puzzle
  • use pencil grip
  • uses scissors properly
  • copy lines, circle, square, cross
  • draw a recognizable person

Gross Motor Skills

  • walk and run around objects
  • walk up and down steps with one foot on each step
  • stand on one foot for 3+ seconds
  • hop on one foot
  • jump with both feet
  • catch a ball with elbows flexed and arms in front of body
  • throw a ball with direction
  • kick a ball
  • pedal a tricycle
  • enjoy playground play and equipment

The above lists have helped me organize some of our activities and I hope they help you too!

Resourced from Frances Dobson’s Fine and Gross Motor Development Briefing.

 photo Amy3_zps8e2e6a59.png

What is Montessori? Tea pot water play!

I am trying my hand at defining some of the activities we are already doing at home. And I am initiating more of these activities according to the below (shortened by me) principles of Montessori.

I was confused by Montessori at first. But 1plus1plus1equals1 and Counting Coconuts both make it seem less intimidating, and more do-able. Many Montessori principles are ones that we are already learning at home.  I have been utilizing sensory bins, mathematics activities using manipulatives, and not pushing writing and reading before my son is ready.  “Teach teaching, not correcting.”

  1. Practical Life: Preliminary exercises: pouring, opening bottles or doors // Care of the environment: sweeping, mopping, washing // Care of the person: buttoning, zipping, brushing // Grace and courtesy: introductions, excuse mes, offering help
  2. Sensorial Work: Utilizing all senses for learning and understanding
  3. Language: Literacy is reading, writing, speaking, listening with the child’s pace
  4. Mathematics: Promoting sense of numbers through learning materials

Many of my above understanding has come from the Montessori Primary Guide.

So below can be considered practical life and sensory work as John pours water from pot to pot (note all the soaked towels!)  After about an hour, and 6 towels later, I decided to end the activity, but he wanted to keep pouring!








**I am going to slowly begin making Weekly “Tot Trays” for him with 3-6 activities per week, related to the above Montessori categories. I will start out with three on Monday and together, we will create the other three! The next Tot School post will show that he is leading the way on what should be on his trays! 

Montessori Monday