Since Pinterest came to be, I have been reading about Montessori activities from the copious resources available on Pinterest boards - it has really inspired me on interactive ways to teach Zayd. For about 4-6 months, however, I haven't been on the site more than a few times and I had completely forgotten about my Montessori intentions! Sam went out on Friday evening giving me to perfect opportunity to sit and mess around on my computer - re-enter my Montessori mission. By Sunday Zayd and I had spent quite some time in the dollar store stocking up on sensory materials: foam letters, animal shapes, flour, cornstarch, gel-like substances, rice, food coloring, baby oil, vinegar, baking soda and a big plastic bin to mix our concoctions - the weirdest stuff.
It turns out we were already doing a number of Montessori activities at home without even knowing it: lacing beads, playing with food, sorting and stacking., but sensory activities were sorely missing.
Without further adieu, I introduce our first Mammen Montessori activity: cloud dough (made from flour and baby oil). It is squeezable into a solid-type material, but you can run your hands through it like its flour. Best of all, it looks like sand, so it was the perfect opportunity to play with our new glow in the dark ocean set. I have always wondered how hard it would be to get Z interested for more than five minutes in the sensory tables people are always blogging about but this really worked quite well. I started by letting him measure and add the flour to the bin and then squeezing in the baby oil. I intended to use half a bottle but apprently squeezing the oil was addictive...we just added more flour to make it back into cloud dough. That ate 7-8 minutes.
Then, we messed with the dough for a while. Ran our hands through it, molded it, cut shapes into it, made little mounds with measuring cups, and poured it between two bowls. This was a significant amount of time and could have been the whole play experience for my little lentil - maybe 15 minutes?
As Zayd started to lose interest, and became more interested in dumping the dough in the grass than playing with it, we decided it was time to bust out the sea creatures. Here are photos of him enjoying his sensory bin. It was a Montessori success and could only be improved by having toddler friends over to learn from one another.