A few weeks ago, our friends handed an almost-like-new Melissa and Doug Deluxe Wooden Stringing Bead Kit down to us. What a fabulous Montessori-friendly resource/tool/toy it is!
I have dreams of making photo cards of beads in specific patterns to use for Math work, of getting small objects together for some spelling-object-match Language work, of putting together a simple bead stringing tray... Ideas abound.
But reality seems to be keeping those ideas from becoming concrete activities. Life's little hurdles, such as a broken toe for Mommy, pneumonia for Luke and an infection for Nina, keep tripping us up, mandating that time Mommy might have for preparing activities be reallocated for hours spent in medical office waiting rooms. Nevertheless, learning continues, often with makeshift activites. For example:
One day, as I was nursing Jack, Luke and Nina began asking me how to spell different things they wanted to try to string the letters for. Some words I simply told them the letters for. Others, I had them sound out. They happily searched for the appropriate letters in the bead box tray and worked their pincer grasps and eye-hand coordination to string them.
Then, once I finished nursing Jack, in order to add a reading element to the activity for Luke and a lower case-upper case matching element for Nina, I got a small white board, on which I wrote a number of words easy CVC (consonant,-vowel-consonant) , VCC (vowel-consonant-consonant) and family name sight words. For fun, and to help Luke recognize when he read each word correctly, I added some quick sketches next to each word.
To my amusement, Luke felt the need to connect each word to its accompanying picture by drawing a line. At first, this seemed a bit ridiculous to me, since the sketches were so close to the words and since I hadn't mixed them up as a puzzle for him to match word to pictures with. But, then, I realized, "Hey! It's good left-to-write writing practice and it's what he wants to do." So, the beading activity paused while the writing lines one took over.
Then, it was back to the beading: eye hand coordination, concentration, control, ability to follow through from left to right, preparation for writing, and some spelling and reading, too. Not bad for a makeshift activity!
What Montessori-friendly tools and toys have you been using in your home? Any successful makeshift ideas? Do share in a comment. And, also be sure to stop by One Hook Wonder's Montessori Mondays where this post is being shared.