Skip to main content

Montessori Toddler Activity - Going for A Walk

We have a construction site close to our house this summer. The city is tearing up some streets and one very close to us happens to be on the schedule. But, they started several blocks away from where we live. Theodore knows about the construction and is pretty happy to say the least. A few days ago, we went outside to play. I assumed we would stay in our yard, but decided I would follow Teddy's lead. 

At 19-months, Teddy was determined to find the trucks at the construction site. I quietly followed him and we ended up walking many many blocks for over an hour. I never once picked him up. He didn't complain or whine. We had a genuinely wonderful time. 


This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

Maria Montessori never intended for children to be inside working at little tables from things on a shelf their entire day. No, she expected that. children would have access to the indoors and the outdoors and would be able to follow their own natural drive when it comes to being outdoors. Her environments allowed for a sort of free flow between inside and out, whenever that was possible. 

But, isn't a walk just a regular activity? What makes a walk a Montessori activity? For me, it's the motivation behind the walk. It's a question of who is leading the walk and for what purpose. A story Maria Montessori tells in her book The Discovery of the Child comes to mind. She says:

"I once knew a couple who had a child barely two years old. Wishing to go to a distant beach they tried to take turns caring him in their arms, but the attempt was too tiring. The child, however, then enthusiastically made the trip by himself and repeated the excursion every day. Instead of caring him in their arms, his parents made the sacrifice of walking more slowly and of halting whenever the child stopped to gather a small flower or saw a patient little donkey grazing in a meadow and sat down, thoughtful and serious, to pass a moment with this humble and privileged creature. Instead of carrying their child, these parents solve their problem by following him." (p.69-70)


So practically, how do we put this into practice? Here are some tips for walking with toddlers:
  • Ditch the container. These aren't the walks for strollers, or baby wearing. Even bringing those things can make it tempting to use them. 
  • Pick your timing. Don't attempt this type of walk if you're busy, only have a few minutes, or have a destination that you have to be at by a certain time. Instead pick times where you can be relaxed, free to wander, or can arrive at anytime. 
  • Loose the Agenda. While sometimes it's necessary to plan a walk to a specific destination ("Let's walk to the grocery." or "Let's walk to the park to meet our friend.") But sometimes just walk without purpose, or pressure to make it to one specific thing. 
  • Follow them, literally. Where it is safe, I like to hang back by a foot or two so that Teddy can really take the lead. He can decide where to turn, and when to stop. It also helps me to walk at his pace. 
  • Slow way down. Those little legs have their own pace and we need to respect it. 
  • Take in the details. Stop to look at the ant hill. Listen and follow the little bird. Allow your toddler to point out every flower (or in our case construction flag.) Even if it feels weird to sit in one spot looking for awhile, try to allow it until your child is done. 
  • Allow for repetition. One day Teddy and I simply crossed the street for an hour straight. Over and over again until he felt satisfied. Try to allow your child the ability to do something over if they want. Do they want to walk up and down one little hill? Jump into one little puddle? Let it happen. 
  • Work in Maximum Effort. Toddlers need and love to push things to the max. For Teddy right now, it means often walking through the long grass in a neighbor's yard, or carrying a big stick as he walks. But look for ways that your child is trying to exert maximum effort and allow it. Maybe it's running ahead and then back to you. Maybe it's walking off trail. Maybe it's carrying a bucket. Or maybe it's just a really far walk. 
Montessori tips for walking with a 1-year-old. This fun, easy activity is perfect for getting outside with your toddler.

I can't wait to get out and take Teddy for another walk today. To really follow him and see where he leads. I hope you'll do the same! 

Do you enjoy toddler-led Montessori walks? 
---

Comments

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2021

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. Puzzles, in particular, have been difficult to find in stock. So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, bu

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

Our Family's Montessori Christmas Gift Lists 2021

It's hard to believe another holiday season is upon us again. Every year I enjoy putting together my kids' Christmas gift lists. It's really a good time to observe them, see what they are interested in and what they might be ready for during this coming year. It's one of the few times a year that I purchase new materials for our home so it's always really exciting. IF YOU NEED MORE IDEAS DON'T MISS MY ULTIMATE MONTESSORI TOY LIST OR MY 2021 DEALS PAGE ! When considering these lists, please remember that these were curated based on my own children. Use them for inspiration but they are heavily influenced by what my children are into and interested in. And for my older second plane children, what they have asked for!  Here's a look at our family's Montessori Christmas lists for 2021!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore (Toddler) Teddy is just over 2-years-old. Being our fourth baby, he is really hard for me to think of unique