Category Archives: more toys ideas

What are we learning at 18 months

“Education is a natural process carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment.” (Maria Montessori)

S and I have been doing alot of activities that require concentration lately. Besides working with the purposeful educational toys we do alot of activities that can easily be set up at home at close to zero cost.

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this develops concentration, hand-eye coordination, we are using pipe cleaners and colander

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We are using pigs and a chocolate tin for this activity. S is immensely engaged whilst developing a number of skills through this learning experience.

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This has to be one of our favorites at the moment. I find such activities to be hugely popular by young children. Photos speak a thousand words here. So much learning is being unfolded as the child explores each item of the treasure basket. I sometimes just sit back and watch S as she eagerly opens each bag to find the treasure hidden inside. It is fascinating to watch her enthusiasm and the amount of effort she puts in to overcome the difficulties.

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we are learning to peel an egg, slice it with the “egg slicer” and eat it.

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Soon I will write a post about gardening and how it helps the young child to learn about our mother earth and sustainability. All we do at the moment is watering our winter veges and daffodils. We are in a middle of a cold and wet winter, very much looking forward to spring so we can get out more often and plant some more veges. I have done a course on composting and that will also be next on our to do list.

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learning to use tongs, transferring activity and at snack table.

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Weaning table must be one of the best pieces of furniture we bought for S. I can not imagine not having it. She sits there and enjoys having her food in peace. She goes to the fridge, chooses what she likes to eat, and takes it to her low table and has it for snack. It is the most enjoyable thing to watch. I find it so reassuring that she is able to identify her needs (hunger in this instance) and find appropriate ways to meet them. I believe this gives her a strong feeling of security and belonging. When she is finished she cleans up after herself. It is so rewarding to see how an 18 months old is so capable and I am so pleased that our prepared environment allows this natural learning to unfold.

16-18 months

Besides working/playing with toys/Montessori materials, we do a range of other activities. There are days that we just don’t do much and there are days we are very busy. Here are some examples of what we have been up to!

very proud of our little herb garden, love the smell of our basil leaves, they are thriving and looking absolutely gorgeous, S loves to pick the leaves and smell them, feel them, and put them in her mouth, what great sensorial learning! We are right in the middle of a very wet winter, can’t wait for the spring, we got all our child size gardening tools ready and a huge front yard with a big vege garden that has been neglected lately!!!

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this is such a cool ride on toy

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rice and beans, exploring texture and sound, sorting (separating them, mixing them)!!!

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lots and lots of art activities

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S enjoys pushing her pram rather than being pushed in the pram!! yes our short walk can become rather long but let’s look at it from our little intrepid explorer’s eyes

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We are learning how to put shoes on and how to take them off independently! S can do it all by herself at 17 months. This is something that she has learnt all on her own (observing adults in the environment and imitating them in her self-formation journey). To find out what type of shoes is appropriate for children who are learning to walk see this post from Kylie from howwemontessori.

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exploring colours in different ways

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learning the concept of floating and sink, soluble and unsoluble

Sand, oil and water in one bottle, water and rocks in another

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sensory learning experience, coloured rice, got the idea from here

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we are refining our self-help and self-care skills, developing concentration, independence, and self-esteem through learning to self-feed at our weaning table

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a short walk on a cold winter day, the feeling of a gentle breeze,  feeling safe and secure with Daddy!

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how much learning occurs by just being free in the nature? being able to feel the texture of sand with your whole body, walking,rolling,crawling on the leaves of trees on a beautiful autumn day, walking bare feet on grass, rocks, sand! take in the beauty of nature with all senses! We MUST allow learning to unfold naturally and what better place than in nature, our beautiful mother earth!!

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“As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unself- consciously to the soughing of the trees.”

Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth

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learning to play on the beat with our African drum!

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ball skills, throwing, catching, kicking, very important for coordination, gross motor and cognitive development

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the dirty dishes go in the dishwasher after finishing our snack (we are in the process of setting up a washing station)

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Please share with us some other DIY activities you do with your toddler?

More toys ideas at 14 months

Some of these toys could be used well before 14 months of age (e.g. bead maze, deposit boxes, etc). I researched and bought these toys well before S was ready and kept them in the toys cupboard and brought each one out when I felt the time was right. S was using the bead maze since she was 6 months old. At the beginning she would only move one bead at a time and now she manipulates them in different ways. some of these toys such as the puzzles and the deposit boxes could be used together to make the activity more complex as the child becomes more capable. e.g. to provide more challenge we can simply combine the rectangular and square prism activities.  Image

Top shelf left to right:

discs on horizontal dowel and vertical dowels, these were designed by Montessori, purpose: hand-eye coordination, practice with different finger grasps, Indirect purpose: colour recognition, sorting and categorizing

Wooden pounding bench:

purpose: hand-eye coordination, basic of cause and effect, motor skills

drawing activity,

a selection of felt pens and a paper, I chose a brand that is easy for a 14 months old to hold and easily makes mark on paper

object permanence box with drawer and a single circle puzzle (Montessori materials)

I have explained about puzzles here, object permanence box purpose: develops hand-eye coordination, and indirectly allows child to experience object permanence, works on precise hand movement, wrist and finger control

Bottom shelf left to right:

Mommy made object permanence box with tray and ball (Montessori material)

purpose: the child has to drop the ball into the hole, the balls rolls down into the tray, she becomes familiar with the object permanence concept, refined hand movement meaning control of wrist and finger grasp

Montessori puzzles as explained here in this post

deposit box with rectangular prisms, I used formula tin to make this, purpose: to fit the prisms into the hole, preparation for shape sorting activity and shape recognition, this idea was to provide similar experience that an imbucare box provides, I could not justify spending hundreds of dollars to purchase all these Montessori materials.

deposit box with square prisms

on the left side of the shelf there is a box of Lego, a basket of musical instruments, bead maze which S loves and spends considerable amount of time working with, and a wagon as explained here

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top shelf

a small bead maze (manipulative skills, hand-eye coordination, concentration, shapes and colours recognition, etc)

twisty worm (can be twisted at the joints, good for motor skills)

pull along toys

sound jars (rice in one jar and spice in the other, early sound recognition, preparation for using Montessori sound boxes, look here for more details)

bottom shelf:

treasure basket with kitchen utensils, just to explore different items in the kitchen and to become familiar with the way to hold them, preparation for using them later in the practical life activities, learning their names (language lessons)

chalk and blackboard for drawing