Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cleaning Up with Fine Motor Fun!

Lately, Luke and Nina have been less than eager to help clean up their toys and learning things after using them.  And, too often, they have not been keeping their activities to “okay” places, such as corralled upon a tray, pan, blanket or towel.  So, toys - especially “small-bits” and “construction” items - sometimes end up all over the floor, appearing as a rather daunting mess for either child or adult to clean up.  (Now, now, before you comment: I know we could all avoid this situation in the first place with better habit training and that will come again at some point when I have the focus to make it happen...  So, if you have a strategy for undoing a bad habit you have let creep into your home, please do share it.  It would be highly welcomed!  However, comments such as, "Well, why are you letting the mess happen in the first place?” would not be very helpful.  The answer is long and leads to little in the way of solutions...) 

In any case, over the weekend, at one point when our living room floor became impassable and clean-up time was upon us, the usual strategies (i.e. setting a timer for a Ten Minute Tidy, doing it together, singing clean-up time songs, talking about what we could do after we clean up, etc.) were obviously not going to work.  At that point, instead of letting frustration creep in on Mike and my parts and ensuing protests and melt-downs on the kids' parts, we put on our Fine Motor-Montessori lenses and decided to simply make clean-up time a playful challenge in itself.  Since Luke and Nina are forever trying to go into our kitchen drawers to use the tools in them, and since I realized that we haven't done much formal tonging work of late, when the clean-up time protests came, I countered them with this challenge:  Who can pick up the most small objects with Mama’s tongs?  Suddenly, clean-up time was anything but a drudgery!

Tongs in hand, Luke and Nina became thoroughly engaged in picking Lincoln Log set piece after Little Person animal figurine.  (Granted, Luke sometimes thought it was fun to purposely drop some of these into the wrong containers.)  And so, our clean up time with fine motor fun solution of the week has become TONGS!

(And, for those who are surprised and wondering:  Yes, our boy is sucking a lollipop whilst cleaning up.  And, no, this is not a usual situation in our home.  Daddy had taken Nina out to do errands earlier in the day and didn’t know I always say “no” to the teller’s lollipop offer at the drive-through at the bank.  So, Nina came home all excited to tell me about her discovery: bank people give out lollipops, and to let me know that she’d happily sucked her little bank treasure down to the stick.  Needless to say, Luke was a little envious, and since he had “helped Mama” a lot while Daddy had been out, just as Nina had “helped Daddy” with the errands, we opted to go into our leftover Easter Bunny stash to give him a lolli, too.)

We’d love to hear about your fine motor fun and clean up time strategies.  Please leave a comment!

This post is linked to Montessori Monday, Mondays Montessori Moment, and Works for Me Wednesday.


Evenspor said...

What a great idea!

2 Pequeños Traviesos said...

Hi Martianne! Why do you let your kids do this in the 1st place? JUST KIDDING, LOL!!! I am SOOOO struggling with this right now. So, I guess I'll keep visiting this post of yours to find out more ideas. My 8 yo is very cooperative. But this is something we began working with when we began homeschooling. Yeah, it took me almost 3 years ;). Now, my battle is with the other 3 yo rascal. There's only one piece of advice I could give: Don't get mad over this and don't loose control, LIKE ME. Its hard because he refuses to pick up and openly says No. I have the patient sometime but not all the time. You see, we have one more thing in common. :)
BTW, thanks for your lovely comment on the SUFFIX PRESENTATION. Glad you liked it. The idea came from a presentation I read on an Montessori album. It used a TRACTOR. So, now you have 2 options. Next time you come accross a toy tractor, grab it and hide it from the kids!!! :D

XYZZ said...

What a unique solution for dealing with such a common problem! I will *definately* remember this one - thanks for sharing! Thanks for linking up to Montessori Monday too. :)

Shannon said...

I'm so glad I found your blog (through a comment you left on mine) and I can't wait to read through some of your older posts. It looks like you have lots of great posts here.

I love your idea for turning clean up time into an "activity". Anything that helps fight the chaos, right? :)

Unknown said...

Great thinking!! I'll have to use this to get DJ to put his cars in some type of order. Thank you for sharing.

Mägi said...

Definitely going to try this when babysitting.

Jenn @ Delicious Ambiguity said...

Hi! You’ve got an awesome blog here. I’d love it if you’d stop by my blog sometime. I host a link up party every Tuesday for crafts, activities, recipes and ideas for toddlers. I’d love for you to link up some of your cool ideas:
Have a great day!


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