With schools in America shut due to COVID-19, you must be spending time at home. If you are also working from home, getting your child to keep busy during this time can be especially tricky. Not only are you anxious and find yourself juggling many more tasks but your children miss the structure and the rhythm of school, especially a Montessori environment with its many avenues for freedom and learning.
The time spent at home can open up opportunities for new types of learning while trying to keep the principles of Montessori alive in the home environment. From balancing work and structuring time to activities and projects, here are 10 In-Home Montessori Activities to do during the Novel COVID-19 pandemic.
The new stay-at-home schedule!
The most important way to get through a stay-at-home process is to create schedules and routines. Children really do better with routines. Try and follow what he or she did in school. How would they start the day? How much outdoor time do they have in school? What time do they have breakfast, snack, and lunch?
Handwashing and cleanliness
In Montessori, the environment is a teacher and an enabler. Your child must have seen you wash your hands and discuss hygiene during this time at home. Practice and schedule hand hygiene activities, which tie in beautifully with practical life activities found in Montessori. Dusting, sweeping, cleaning accessories, keeping things in their right place, giving the children little brushes and dustpans to clean after they finish their activities, flower arranging, sorting, watering the plants, clearing the table after a meal or work – these are great tasks to be woven into your daily routine.
Working in the kitchen and with food is a very satisfying experience. Children use their hands a lot and kitchen work, using child-safe and child-friendly utensils, develops fine motor and gross motor skills, apart from hand-eye coordination. Some interesting things to do in the kitchen include
- Peeling and cutting bananas
- Making a fruit salad
- Spreading cream on crackers and decorating them
- Putting the topping on pizzas
- Allowing children to serve themselves food like a bowl of cereal and pouring the milk
- Washing and peeling fruits and vegetables
- Squeezing and making lemonade and orange juice
- Cutting sandwiches and cookies with cookie cutters
- Making meal plans and understanding the food pyramid
Activities to mark the start of spring
Spring has begun! Children may not be able to go out to parks or roads and see spring in bloom but bring spring into your house. With your children, you can learn more about spring and what happens during this season. You can string flowers, create daily weather reports, study butterflies and bees, identify common flowers and trees, investigating leaves and flowers under a microscope, read about birds and spring migration, picking fruits, herbs and vegetables, make a bird feeder, flower parts puzzles, cloud gazing in the rooftop or in the garden, and more. You can also find amazing spring DIY activities involving color and interesting printables.
When you are constantly homebound, children crave the sunlight and the outdoors. Working in the backyard is a great way to wave in some physical activity and outdoor time. If you have a cozy little backyard, then starting a vegetable garden is a lovely idea. Here is a simple guide to making your own little veggie garden.
Even if you don’t want to start your own vegetable garden, getting children to play outdoors is a great idea. They can collect items from nature, such as rocks, leaves, acorns, and more. They can sort or classify them by color, size, shape or even texture!
Process Art and Sensorial Activities
Process art is a fascinating art form wherein the child concentrates more on the process or journey of creating art than on the end product. Unlike a paint-by-numbers approach that looks at a perfect art product created in the end, process art is about unbridled creativity, freedom, and exploration. Process art is child-directed and experimental in nature. From popping balloons with color onto paper to monoprints and block prints to bubble painting and junk art, process art is great fun and really gives children free rein with their creativity.
Sensorial activities like fabric boxes, sound boxes, playdoh, and finger painting are perfect for children who are from Montessori’s and who crave these experiences at home. Spice painting is another wonderful sensorial activity. You can also organize a little sensorial walk for your child, make shakers, create a sensory bin and so much more.
Reading and discovery
It goes without saying that reading is a wonderful way to spend time at home. Pick books that interest children, on topics like birds, stars, gardens, dinosaurs, caterpillars or even books that talk about families, home life, and people. Children love discovering the world around them. Books, printables and flashcards on topics that interest them work wonders in keeping their curiosity going. We have also written a blog post on How to Instill the love of reading that describes developing Good reading Habits amongst children along with Top 10 Montessori Books for Children and Parents.
Games, puzzles, and projects
There is nothing as invigorating as a board game, a puzzle or a project to work on during this time. We recommend wooden puzzles that give children a sense of visual closure, and of course, jigsaw puzzles of real-life pictures — wildlife, nature, people or places.
Leaf chromatography science projects and experiments. Find out why leaves change color with this simple experiment. Collect different leaves, cut and grind them into little pieces, and put them into three transparent cups. Cover the leaves with rubbing alcohol. Cut a long strip from a coffee filter and wrap it around a pencil. Make three such pencils with coffee filter strips wrapped around them. Dip them into the cups containing the leaves and leave them for a few hours. Once you find them, you will notice that the strips reflect different colors in separate bands, showing us that different colors exist in leaves.
Role-playing to encourage social and emotional learning at home
When they are at home constantly, children miss out on social interactions and crucial language and communication skills. Keep talking and conversing with your children. You can use wordless picture books to get them to express themselves more. You can also encourage role play. Use sock puppets, make paper puppets or even let the children pretend to play with whatever resources they have.
Whether it is giving toy animals a bath, making forts and dens with bedsheets, or making playdough, get creative with what you do when you do get time to play with your child. When you don’t, get creative with simple things — getting filling a bucket, sand play, pouring water into a cup, sort laundry, draw or even arrange things on a scrapbook or a folder are excellent ways to engage young learners. Do reach out to the Montessori that your child goes to and get more ideas from them to keep the continuity going at home.
Children can learn so much through play. So why not choose toys that help them learn? Toys are an important and fun part of every child’s development and that will encourage imaginative, open-ended play and grow with your child.
Montessori-friendly toys allow natural, open-ended learning in Children. Montessori method isn’t just an approach to academic learning—it can help guide a child’s development right from the get-go where they can learn so much through play.
There are so many great options when it comes to choosing the best toys for your kids. So, we have made it easy for parents by listing the Top 15 Recommended Montessori toys for children according to their age groups.
Download them here:
Top 15 Recommended Montessori Toys for Infants (0-18 Months)
If you have any suggestions for Montessori Home Activities for Kids amidst COVID-19 Lockdown, comment below.