- Building blocks: this is by far the best toy you can give a child, he builds and constructs amazing things. When he gets bored I asking him to build me things, like build me a boat, make a crocodile. Once your child is pretty good at building things you can give them pictures of real buildings and ask them to reconstruct them.
- Play dough: Its easy to make at home [1 cup of flour, 1/2 salt, a few drops of oil, water] I add a few drops of an essential oil to keep it exciting and use food colourings so that he has different smells and colours to play with.Give your child some utensils to explore the dough with like a fork, rolling pin. Scissors are little-N's favourite, he rolls the play dough then chops and chops and chops.
- Lego: Its not very Montessori, but it is very creative and can keep a child busy for hours. I have a little booklet that has pictures of things you can make with the lego. Sometimes Little-N would work through the booklet making things and other times he would reconstruct things that he sees around him. The other day he made a crane that he saw on our way to school.
- A craft box: which should contain all sorts of bits and bobs for them to cut, stick, shape and make.
- Animals: Little-N has always had pleasure playing with animals. He has different sets, farm animals, wild animals, insects etc. I prefer to keep them separated and he can play with them together but then sorts them into the categories. He has a set of wooden animals that go with his wooden ark. He loves to pair the animals, stand them up and make up stories. He got his first set before he was 1 yr, now he is 4 yrs and he still loves playing with them.
- Dolls house: Boys love them too believe it or not! A dolls house gives children hours of fun especially when a friend is over. It is also great for expanding the child vocabulary and developing their understanding of the world around them.
That's the basics. Usually I would ask Little-N to choose what he would like to play with and leave him too it. He has a little mat the he puts on the floor so that all the lego [or blocks or whatever it is he is playing with] stays on the mat. This makes the tidying up a lot easier for him as well as reducing the spread of toys all over the house. He knows that he must tidy up before taking another thing out, but we still need to work on that.
This weekend Little-N has been busy with a pair of scissors. He has been cutting all sorts of things. Children love to cut different materials and textures. Sometimes I give Little-N cutting strips with drawn lines for him to cut on, he then puts all the cut pieces in a box and saves them for his gluing activities. Other times all he wants to do is just snip away. Keep a few bits and bobs in a box and give it to your child so s/he can cut them [ like odd bits of fabrics, sweet wrappers, pipe cleaners, strings, elastic bands, balloons, old socks, crisp bags]. Little-N will sit for hours working through the materials. Today I gave him an old magazine [ Early learning centre is a good one] and he cut out the picture of the things he liked.
Little-N cutting out pictures from a magazine.
Little-N gluing the pictures on a piece of paper.
Labeling the picture
If your child is learning letters get them to glue the pictures under the corresponding letters. If your child can read, type out words and get them to label the pictures. For children who can write ask them to label the pictures themselves. If your child is really good with writing then get them to write a story using all the pictures they have cut. Little-N has been cutting things since 10 am and is still cutting away 7 hours later [with a few brakes in the middle]. Mean while I have been working on school reports and preparing for college tomorrow.