To have tons of fun at home on a cold winter day, try these two activities inspired by the Montessori philosophy. The first activity is an experiment with design, and the second is an experiment with sound. They are both designed for children 5 years old or younger
Montessori education is based on a discovery model, where children learn concepts from working with materials rather than by direct instruction. Visual, tactile and aural experiences are crucial to helping children develop a creative, personal and independent way to access knowledge. The Montessori philosophy fosters experiments, because these encourage children to find their own way to learn.
Prepare the materials on a table and present the activity to your kids. Get started with a “What if” question: “What if we drew with a candle?” Then, let them experiment with it.
You’ll need a white sheet of paper, a white candle, a large paint brush and different watercolors.
Have your child hold the candle like a crayon, and draw or write something on the paper. Say to your child: “You can’t see the drawing, can you?”
Then have your child paint over the paper. See? The drawing appears!
Try painting with different colors to highlight different parts of the drawing. Go on, make many drawings and show the magic to everyone else!
You’ll need six small containers of the same material, size and shape (tea bag boxes are perfect), rice, chickpeas and beans (or other small dried items such as corn, lentils or peas), a blindfold and green, red and blue felt pens.
Take two of the boxes and put the same amount of rice in each of them. Then do the same with the other boxes, but put chickpeas in two of them and beans in the remaining two.
Now, blindfold your child, and have her pick up one of the boxes and shake it near her ear so she can hear its noise. Then encourage her to try to find the matching box by shaking the other boxes until she finds the one that makes the exact same noise. That means it has the same material in it.
When your child is finished matching all the boxes, you can make new ones with different materials (making different sounds), play some more and then have a little concert!
Elena Favilli is the co-founder and CEO of Timbuktu, a free iPad magazine for parents and children. Timbuktu gives parents a great story, activity or game to share with their kids each day of the week. Winner of the Best Design Award at LAUNCH Education and Kids 2012 and featured by Apple in the Top 5 of the U.S. Education category, Timbuktu is designed to help parents spend quality time with their children.