Friday, December 10, 2010

Toddler Fun Learning Activities


Keeping the lil one engaged, busy and HAPPY while the older ones are doing their lessons is quite a challenge. We all have experienced it or soon will as the kids and our families grow Mashallah.

With constant demands of "I want to do MY work" from my Lil Muallimah I buckled myself up. So this year I am going to to try and provide fun activities to help her be happy during our lesson time. I had been doing a lot of unplanned casual play and learn activities with her. She is now ready for a more structured program (in a toddler way).

So here's a glimpse of Lil Muallimah's shelves... (which will keep having additions Inshallah

Having studied in a Montessori as a child myself, I am really amazed by the impact they still have on me. I not only loved them but MISS them even now :) I got a chance to touch Montessori material again when I volunteered in one  for  a few months. 
Truly inspired by Montessori methods, scouring the internet and guidance from my Montessori trained friends I came to the following conclusion. 

"The next best thing to having and knowing how to use Montessori materials is trying to adopt and adapt Montessori ideas with available resources :)" 

PLEASE NOTE:The following ideas are not entirely Montessori style but just an inspired effort. They do not follow the Montessori ideology to it's core but do strive to have the essence of it.

So here's what I have laid out for this month. I will be adding on to and changing a few things every month. Inshallah

The shelf holds bright colored tubs I bought from the $ store (3 for $ Alhumdolillah!) 

How does it work?

So for now I am working on making activity for these categories:
  1. Problem Solving: Puzzles
  2. Math: Number Sense
  3. Colors: recognition and matching
  4. Arabic: Huroof Recognition
  5. Spatial Sense: Shape recognition
  6. Sequencing
  7. Fine Motor Skills and Hand Eye Co-ordination
Problem Solving: Puzzles

We start with our shelf material from the right hand side with puzzles. The puzzle pieces for each of the puzzles are in separate tubs. Lil Muallimah chooses her puzzle and picks up the tub, brings it to her table and builds the puzzle..She then puts them back when she is done. I love the one concept per tub idea as it gives structure as well as control over the activity. Makes the clean up a natural thing to do Mashallah! There are always exceptions and I am willing to work with that.

Both the wooden puzzles are from $ store too! :) 

And here's Lil Muallim 2 working on the puzzle (wanted his picture going on the blog too as it is his puzzle :)

Math: Number Sense

We are working on number recognition for numbers 1,2 and 3

Number Sense Tub # 1

 Lil Muallimah spreads out the cards and then matches the foam letters with the number shape on the card. She loves getting it right and see how they match. We are still working on the order of the numbers :) 

The beads at the bottom of the card help in counting. 

Hoping to have her correspond with items at the back of the cards soon. Inshallah

Number Sense Tub # 2

This is our FAVOURITE one. Got the idea from another blog. So again Lil Muallimah spreads out the card but this time matches the corresponding "pom pom balls" on to the card. There are only the exact number of balls for each number with it's corresponding colour so she can't get it wrong.......very encouraging! :) As you will notice I have used the small sized pom pom balls for this activity.
You can find the post and the printable here.

PLEASE READ: A dear friend did point one thing out to me about the following activity. It is EXTREMELY important if you are dealing with younger children and/or  ones who are not strong with their colors. 
" If we were to look at it from the Montessori perspective, there is room for improvement. If I were to ask you a simple question as to what would you do if a child matches 3 pompoms with no.3, but he does not match the right colors? if u try to tell the child that the colors need to be matched as well , he may be offended because he might only be interested in numbers and not colors. A montessori activity concentrates only on 1 basic concept or idea. This is called isolation. 
Similarly in teaching quantity and number symbols, the quantity/object should be the same, e.g. all pompoms should be the same color and size, the symbol should be the same color and size. the control of error should be in accordance with the concept. In this case it would be 6 pompoms because matching 1 quantity wrong will leave more or less pompoms in the end."

May Allah reward her for pointing it out.

I will remake this activity and post the new pictures soon Inshallah, because it is important that our children don't feel discouraged while learning.


 Still have to laminate the cards. I did add my own touch to cards (only not to waste the index card and for future learning! :)) once I cut and pasted the numbers onto the index card I used the remaining portion to spell out the number. I don't refer to it at all now. It;s just there. Later when we are working on sight words I will start pointing onto the number in words too. I also mean to add a match game with additional word spelling cards. later on. Beindhnillah

Colors: Recognition and Matching

I never felt the need to TEACH colors to my kids. I feel this is one of the things that just happens naturally with time. Kids eventually learn color recognition through their environment: their clothes, toys, food and so much more. After that is established here is a method I used with my older kids too. I wrote names of colors on index cards with the corresponding .color. So while the kids named the color through recognition they unconsciously absorbed the spelling too. I never had to teach the spellings of colors to my kids when it was time for them to write it. They just did it. I used these cards in different ways, which I will share in time. Here's the basic way to use them.

Color Tub # 1 

Lil Muallimah really enjoys this one Alhumdolillah. She takes out one colour name card from the tub, puts it down,says its name, finds the corresponding color foam, places it on the table and them places the colour name on it. She is all smiles with each match Mashallah Tabarakallah!

Color Tub # 2

This contains a butterfly colour match game that was part or Lil Muallim # 2's butterfly lapbook. Got these cards from abcteach
These game cards are quite sturdy as I laminating with slef laminating sheets from the $ store. Alhumdolillah!

Now I cut the cards in two different ways. In one the butterfly can be seen inside a white square in the other I cut out on its outlines. In this activity both  piles of butterflies are separated in bundles tied with rubber bands. First she has to take out the bundle with the white square. Take out the rubber band (hand eye coordination) and then spread the cards out onto the table. Next she has to take out the next pile and match the cards as they come. As the 2nd pile has only the outline it is easy to check if the match is correct  as the bottom card can be seen through it too. Alhumdolillah!

Fine Motor Skills 

As I have learnt ...the three finger grasp helps children develop the correct finger position and fine motor skill for holding any writing, drawing tool like pencil, crayon or brush.

Three finger grip Tub # 1

Learnt this idea from a Montessori trained friend of mine. This one is a sure shot hit as kids love touching and feeling pom pom balls. I put some big pom pom balls in a bowl. As I am pressed for space on my shelves I placed the filled bowl in an empty bowl and put both on a dish. When Lil Muallimah is ready for this activity she can simple bring the tub to her table. Take out the bowls and place them next to each other. Next she has to put the pom pom balls into the empty bowl one by one using only three finger grip. Once all the balls have been transferred she then has put all the balls back in the first bowl the same way. When done the bowls are placed back in the tub to be kept back in the shelf. Yayy!!!

Three finger grip Tub # 1

I loved this idea for it's simplicity and effectiveness. I learnt it while volunteering at a Montessori. This activity really keeps the child absorbed Mashallah! What is it? Pegging clothes pegs hehehehe! So I put 10 pegs in a tub. She brings the tub to the table and clips the pegs on the sides of the tub one by one very carefully. I am amazed at how this activity keeps her absorbed Mashallah and the sense of accomplishment when done is priceless. According to Montessori method the trick for this fine motor skill to be beneficial is to allow using only 3 fingers (the thumb and the first 2 finger). Once all pegs have been pegged, she unpegs the sides and puts them back in the tub. The whole process gives a true sense of accomplishment to the child Alhumdolillah!

Right now I am using the wooden pegs from the $ store. Later on I will change them to the plastic ones which I find harder to press (from experience).

Hand Eye Co-ordination

Got to LOVE this one. It's amazing how this activity screams out "HAND EYE COORDINATION".


I took an Ikea kids plate, and on it placed two small cups with liods and spoon. I found these in a pack at our local $ store in baby section. Inside them I placed these cute plastic crystals gaian from the $ stores craft section. I asked Lil Muallimah to choose the colors of the cups and crystals she wanted at the store, but really anything lying around in the house will work.

 Cups with lids also work as another fine motor skill aspect to this activity. Besides they also help prevent toppling over of cups while carrying (even though the carrying of tray also aims balance skills, for now I would like her to be in control with constant encouragements from me while I am doing lessons with the older ones.)
Ok so here's how it goes. Once she brings the plate onto the table, we open the lids and she puts them aside  

. Then she lifts up the spoon and transfers the crystals from one cup to the other. When all have been transferred she then spoons them back into the 1st cup. Places back the spoon, closes the lids and puts the tray back in its place. Oooooooh! I love it!!!

What I especially was thrilled to see was that the first time round she was so keen on spooning it correctly that if any of the crystals fell out onto the table she picked it up with her hands and put it on the spoon......not in the second cup or the first :):):):)

Lil Muallimah on finishing the first transfer: "Yayyy!!!!I did it "

On finishing the whole activity: "This  was fun!!!"

Plus she came back to it after the next activity cause she enjoyed it so much. Alhumdolillah! :She did tweak it a little bit by pouring all the crystals  back and forth by raising the cup and not using the spoon. Well I know that, that had to be another activity but for now I am happy with her innovation. I am sure she will do the spooning too, so I will let her choose.

Yes! she did teh spoon the next time and after doing the activity a couple of times within an hour........

Lil Muallimah: "I love my diamonds! Are these diamonds?"
Me: " No they are crystals!"
Lil Muallimah: "OOh CRYSKALS!!!"
Me: :):):):):):)


Now this one can be messy at times but the pure pleasure kids get out of it is worth it. Alhumdolillah! 

I got two small measuring cups from the $ store. Lil Muallim # 2 has to fill one cup with fresh water every morning, put the filled inside the empty cup and place it on its plate. (keeping a look out for small trays with raised edges so I can place the cups next to each other.
There is also a small sponge placed on the plate to clean up small spills. 

When Lil Muallimah wants to do this activity she is asked to  take out the filled cup and put it on the side.

She then pours the water into the second cup

She then places the water cup outside the plate and the empty one in the plate and repeats the activity. She continues this back and forth for as long as she wants, cleaning up the spills as she goes. Mashallah!

She also then squeezes the water back into the water cup adding another motor skill and muscle exercise....squeezing.

Now I have to admit this activity doesn't go as smoothly every time. We are working on it...... A bigger tray or a plastic place mat will help, but till I have that, we are still having fun and learning as she keeps repeating teh instructions herself and shows me that she is doing it Alhumdolillah!

Lil Muallimah really enjoys it and keeps saying "This is fun!" 

May Allah help us and our kids benefit from any new skills we learn and enable us to us ethem in His way Ameen 
 Next activities will come in another post Inshallah!


Talibiddeen Jr. said...

As salaamu alaykum,

Ma sha Allah, this is great. I really need ideas for my little two year old and my five year old as well. I have basically nil for them to do. Will have to try this, but we are horrible at keeping up with things, will have to work on that, lol.

Umm Umamah said...

Walaykum assalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu Ukhti,

Alhumdolillah... efforts are upto us results are upto Allah. Cocnsistency is the key which we keep losing. Knowing others are working with you truly helps. I am glad you liked the ideas, can't wait to add more. :)

umm aasiyah said...

asalaamu alaikum,

i absolutely love love love the ideas, maasha'Allah! i think my little one will really enjoy the number recognition activity with the foam and the flash cards. jazaki'Allahu khairan for sharing, it really is an inspiration to see what other homeschoolers get up to walhamdulillah.

i'm definitely going to try these! may Allah reward your efforts, ameen.

Umm eesa said...

may i suggest the cookie baking sheets from $ store? theyre extremely versatile and can be placed under paper when bingo dabbing, as an activity tray, painting tray etc. best of all, it goes right into the dishwasher afterwards!:P


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...