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Easy Montessori Tray - Transferring with a Sponge

Older toddlers and preschoolers love to transfer things back and forth from one container to another. This repetition is one of the hallmarks of the Montessori method. Many of these transferring activities have a hidden purpose! That purpose is to work the muscles in the child's hand to prepare them for writing. These kinds of activities also help to extend a child's concentration and internalize order.

Sponge transferring is an easy, indoor, toddler activity that you can set up at home to work on fine motor skills and sequencing.

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Recently, I put together a small and super easy transferring tray for Gus! This tray has been a huge hit so I thought I would share some details. The outward purpose of this tray is to soak up all the water and transfer it to the next bowl. But, my hidden (or indirect) goals are 1) multiple step work which requires him to remember a sequence 2) whole hand movement that involves getting your hands wet/messy. 


Here's the sequence that he needs to work through: 
  • fill the pitcher 
  • set out the two bowls
  • pour the pitcher into the bowl on the left 
  • soak up the water from the bowl with the sponge
  • squeeze the water from the bowl on the right
  • repeat until done 
  • empty the water 
  • use the sponge to soak up any extra water
  • restore tray
  • place back on shelf 

While this seems like a lot, at 3.5-years-old, Gus is really ready for this! He loves it and can complete the steps easily from just seeing a presentation. If you have a younger child, you may want to set this work up a bit differently to remove some of the steps - maybe already have the pitcher full, or the bowls out - for example. Also remember that the younger your child is, the more likely this will lead to a little bit of a mess. Just make cleaning up that water with the sponge a part of this work! 

Sponge transferring is an easy, indoor, toddler activity that you can set up at home to work on fine motor skills and sequencing.

Does your preschooler or older toddler like transferring work? 
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