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Montessori Toddlers and Maximum Effort

Closely related to the need for gross motor play in toddlers is the need to reach maximum effort. While I knew nothing about Montessori when Henry was a toddler, I recognized this need in him, but just thought he was funny. He was always trying to carry and lift things that were way too big for him, or were too heavy. Now, I realize that Montessori toddlers and maximum effort just go together!

Toddlers can often be seen trying to haul heavy objects. In Montessori we recognize this as the need to reach maximum effort.

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I recognize these same qualities in Nora. Except, this time, I know that she's trying to reach maximum effort. Montessori recognized that as toddlers grew, they looked for ways to develop their strength. They look for ways to challenge themselves in constructive ways.

Toddlers can often be seen trying to haul heavy objects. In Montessori we recognize this as the need to reach maximum effort.

Knowing this, I have looked for opportunities for Nora to exercise this internal drive to reach this maximum effort. Often, this means not reacting when Nora reaches for something that might not seem like its appropriate for her. Not only does this help to increase her concentration, its amazing when you see their own minds at work.


But, it also means providing Nora with heavy objects to safely haul, lift, drag and carry. These are things for her 

One easy way that I've done this has been with DIY water jugs. I filled small jugs {like these} from a craft store with varying amounts of water. They are perfect for lifting or just carrying around. Since they are plastic {unlike most of her materials}, I don't worry about her dropping them if she gets tired.


These have been a huge hit with Henry and Nora, actually. They can usually be found inside our walker wagon adding weight to be pushed, or being carried just carried around. 


Other common objects can also be used to meet the need to reach maximum effort. These include large pillows, large balls, unit blocks, foam blocks {pictured}, and other small heavy objects. 


Have you noticed your child trying to reach maximum effort? What do they like to do?

Comments

Amy Warrick said…
I can look back and remember my little ones doing the same things and always thinking how cute it was, and yet, you are right - they were very serious about it. I can't believe she's big enough already to be walking around and *working* through her day. Time flies! :)
Jenn said…
I'm curious to know how and where you store those huge foam blocks! I'd love to get some of those for my toddler but wouldn't know where to put them when not in use.
Anonymous said…
I've noticed my 14 mo carrying around a sack of potatoes! She also tries to put her hand in the sack, but can't quite figure out how to get the plastic tab off.

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