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June 28, 2019

Montessori Toddler Activities A to Z (Part 2)

I love a good A to Z list, and I love some good toddler activities. There are so many fun things that toddlers can engage in. During this series, I've been exploring some Montessori friendly activities for toddlers for each letter of the alphabet. In part 1, I shared some ideas for letters A through M! 

Now, let's take a look at the other half of the alphabet! Again, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but just for fun, I'm sharing the first thing that I could think of for each letter. All ages are approximate and will vary depending on each child. 

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N is for Nesting Dolls

  • You'll Need: nesting dolls/blocks of some sort. There are lots of versions on the market for nesting toys. 
  • To Do: For a younger toddler, you can place only the largest dolls out on a shelf or in a basket. As the child gets older and masters the work, you can add the smaller pieces in. 
  • Ages: 15 months+ 

O is for Opening and Closing Activities

  • You'll Need: a variety of household containers that are safe for your child's developmental stage (larger, less breakable for younger toddlers, smaller and more difficult for older ones), a basket 
  • To Do: Place a few containers in a basket and slowly show your child how to open them. Then, allow for repetition and exploration. 
  • Ages: 12 months+ 

Montessori friendly toddler activities from A to Z.

P is for Puzzles

  • You'll Need: a puzzle that matches your child's interests and developmental readiness. There are lots to choose from depending on your child's abilities. 
  • To Do: Slowly model the puzzle for your child using minimal language. Then allow your child to explore. Puzzle can be presented put together on the shelf or deconstructed on a tray. Allow for repetition and exploration. 
  • Ages: 12 months+

Q is for Quiet Work

  • You'll Need: NOTHING! 
  • To Do: This is just a reminder that a lot of the time toddlers, just need time and space to do their own thing. We don't need to be cruise directors or constantly entertaining them. So give them (and yourself) the permission to work quietly!
  • Ages: 12 months+

R is for Rings on a Dowel

  • You'll Need: Rings or pegs on dowel toy or similar DIY. There are lots of options here, younger toddlers can start with rings that are identical to master the pegging motion and older toddlers can start to discriminate by size
  • To Do: Slowly model how to place rings on the dowel. Allow for repetition and exploration.  Can be displayed all together, or rings could be placed in a basket next to the stand. 
  • Ages: 14 months+

S is for Shape Sorter

  • You'll Need: a simple shape sorter - there are lots on the market - and a basket for the shapes. If your child has been introduced to an imbucare box you can start with all the shapes at once, if not you may want to limit the shapes to 1 at a time until the pegging motion is mastered. 
  • To Do: Slowly model how to place and remove each shape for your child. Allow for exploration and repetition. 
  • Ages: 20 months+

T is for Threading Activities

  • You'll Need: Simple threading card (could be wooden or even thick cardboard with holes punched in) and a shoe lace with a knot on one end. More experienced toddlers could also use yarn with a large embroidery needle
  • To Do: Show your child how to thread the shoe lace into the card, then slowly move in and out of the card. Allow for repetition and exploration. 
  • Ages: 30 months+

U is for Undressing

  • You'll Need: A dressed toddler, a small chair or stool (optional)
  • To Do: Take a hands off approach to getting undressed and allow some more time to make that happen. Use descriptive language "push down your pants" that describes the action you want your toddler to take (instead of saying pull down your pants, for example). Then only help as much as your toddler needs/wants. Allow your child to undress whenever time allows and know that it's normal for a toddler to practice this skill throughout the day. A small  chair/stool can provide some stability in un/dressing.
  • Ages: 12 months+

V is for Vegetable Growing {aka gardening}

  • You'll Need: a pot with soil or plot of land, some vegetable seeds, and water source. 
  • To Do: Gardening is fun with toddlers, but remember to take a process over product approach. Give your toddler freedom to plant, dig, water, and harvest plants. Make it part of your daily routine to care for your plants. 
  • Ages: 14 months+ 

W is for Water Work

  • You'll Need: water, various containers, cloth or sponge for cleanup 
  • To Do: There are so many ways that a toddler can use water on a daily basis! When introducing make sure you move slowly and include your child in the cleanup process. Allow for repetition and exploration. As your child gets older, these activities can become more and more independent. 
  • Ages: 12 months+

X is for Xylophone 

  • You'll Need: a xylophone and other small but real musical instruments - avoid instruments that don't really work or where you simply push a button to play a song (this doesn't include a radio, but I mean those toys that play songs).  
  • To Do: Place xylophone or basket of instruments on shelf. Show your child how to use each and have fun with it. Sing songs and make it silly. Then allow your child to use freely, allowing for repetition and exploration. 
  • Ages: 12 months+

Y is for Yak {and other animal figurines}

  • You'll Need: Yak might be a stretch (ha!) but animal figurines. These come in a variety of brands - look for realistic and scaled models. I personally like Schleich brand. A basket for storage.
  • To Do: Place several in a small basket and introduce to your child one at a time. Use proper language. These can be used for open ended exploration, for matching to cards, for older children - talking about climate, continents, types of animals and more. 
  • Ages: 15 months+ 

Z is for Zipper Frame

  • You'll Need: a Montessori zipper frame or similar DIY (a zippered outfit and embroidery hoop also works well)
  • To Do: Slowly show your child how to unzip and rezip the dressing frame. Allow for practical practice with coats and other clothing with zippers. 
  • Ages: 30 months+ 

We've reached the end of the alphabet! I hope some of these ideas inspire to play purposefully with your toddler!

Montessori friendly activities for toddlers A to Z!

If you have a different activity you would have chosen for a letter, let me know in the comments! 

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