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30 minutes at 3-years-old

Yesterday was a beautiful day of playing outdoors and enjoying some family time together. But after an afternoon of play, Gus was ready for some quiet work in our Montessori playroom. I was fortunate enough to get 30 minutes with him and Teddy alone. They work so differently without the distraction of the bigger kids, and it was a peaceful, almost normal, moment. 

I thought I would share what play looks like for Gus right now and what skills he was working on. At this time our playroom is completely tray and art work. I will share (really soon) all of the options he has available to him. Right now, open ended toys are in his bedroom. In our quick little work cycle, he choose two different works. Here's a look at how play looked for him. 

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Balancing Scale


This simple balancing scale is so much fun for 3-year-olds! I pair it with a little basket of random objects, and a tray to keep it altogether. Gus loves to explore the scale and different combinations of little objects in the buckets. There's lots of language opportunities, sensory exploration, and scientific learning happening. 


Direct Aim (purpose): exploring weight and balance. Seeing if he can mix and match items to balance out the scales. 

Indirect (Other) Aims: transferring, pouring, pincer grasp, exploring colors and textures


My favorite was when Gus was adding objects but then would put his little arms out as if that would get the balance he desired! It was really fun to watch. He spent about 12 minutes working with this work. 

Colored Pencils 


For 10 minutes that we were able to work together, Gus choose his color pencil work. This simple tray has sheets of paper cut into halves and some smaller colored pencils. Everything is together in one tray so that he can just grab and create. It was wonderful to watch him draw and just chat. I was amazed by how far his pincer grip has come and just how big he suddenly seems. 

Direct Aim: color on the paper, free expression and creation. 

Indirect Aims: pincer grasp, language opportunities, fine motor skills 


My favorite part was the little person he drew! It was so adorable! So much that I was going to pull it from our art pile and frame it. But then he took another color and "put a blanket over him" and colored all on top of it. Which was just an amazing story, but covered the cute little figure. 

Scissors and Folding


Now this wasn't a work I had created or showed Gus. After a few minutes of drawing he went and got a pair of scissors from some other work and started cutting up some of his drawings. And then he started just folding up the paper. Both of these ideas were self initiated but are 100% something that he has seen Nora and Henry do (cutting as part of their art and folding letters to send.)

Direct Aim: cutting and folding

Indirect Aims: fine motor skills, spacial planning, creative expression 


I just loved watching his creative expression here. Plus, just the explosion of fine motor skills that is happening right now! It's really fun at this age! 

And that was it, after 30 minutes Gus would have kept working but it was time for bed. I really hope to get back to some more moments of watching him like this! And, I'll share all the things he has been working with really soon. 

Here are some simple and easy toddler activities for your Montessori home. These fine motor and educational activities are great ways to engage your 3-year-old.

What is your 3-year-old into right now? 
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