Someone sent me a link about a clever mama who got a bunch of friends together and they each made multiple copies of a different toddler Montessori-style activity or game, and then shared them with the group. Well, aint nobody got time fo’ dat! Actually, it’s an awesome idea, but I’m impatient and instead of organising an activity-making date with my mummy friends, I just went ahead and made a bunch of activities myself.
I have an 18 month old and a 3 year old, so some of these activities suit both and some are more suited for younger/older kiddos.
If Montessori is new to you, here’s a brief run down. Montessori is a constructivist approach to being and learning based on the premise that children ought to use and develop their independence and follow their interests. Children should be free to explore their environment and to interact with it safely. Montessori education encourages practical skills for young children, like pouring, transferring materials, scooping, buttoning, zipping etc. and also fosters a development of the senses. There is far more to it than that, so go forth and explore more if it sounds interesting to you!
The idea behind Grab n Go Activity Bags is that the activities are kept in ziplock bags which can be quickly grabbed and taken out for times like sitting in waiting rooms or keeping children engaged and interested while the parents are in a meeting. Of course the activities can be used at home or anywhere at any time, but my purpose in making them was for out and about.
Here are some of the activity bags I have made in the past few months. Clockwise from top left: Colour matching, locks and keys, threading, popsicle stick puzzles, rough/smooth sorting.
And some more! Clockwise from top left: Pipe cleaners and colanders (for out and about we have a cute mini colander), containers and lids/caps, Etch-a-sketch minis, pipe cleaner threading, pom poms and tongs.
I’m not kidding when I say that the pom pom and tongs activity kept both my children engaged for close to an hour! When I was testing it out at home I gave them a muffin tray instead of the mini egg carton and a pair of mini tongs each. They played and played and played, and I loved watching them and listening to their chatter about what they went about their business!
The other one that is a huge hit around here with my 18 month old is the containers with lids/caps. She gets a real kick out of taking lids off and putting them back on again – who would’ve thought? I have been known to carry this one around in my handbag!
There are thousands more toddler activities that are simple and economical to make. Places like Pinterest are a great place to find inspiration. I’m working on a few more activity bag ideas myself right now – stay tuned!