Looking for ways to keep your infant or toddler engaged this summer while building their skills?
There’s a multitude of age-appropriate activities inspired by the Montessori method of child development and education that exercise motor, sensory, language, and practical life skills in your home and outdoors.
We categorized activities by skillset to help you select which ones are best for the age, interests, and abilities of your child.
Successfully picking up and carrying small items is a simple way to exercise motor skills. Go to the beach or create a backyard pool party with a small wading pool and sandbox. Let your child carry baskets, buckets, shovels, sieves, and floating toys to and from the water and sand to build mountains and sandcastles.
Your kitchen offers a myriad of opportunities to spark your child’s curiosity and interests with tastes, textures, and scents.
Show them how to make summer treats, like popsicles. Pour their favorite juice into plastic molds that pop into the freezer. Or, have fun assembling ice cream sandwiches and chopping fruit parfaits. The chopping, mixing and stirring helps to strengthen hand and eye coordination as well as muscle development.
Sing-alongs create happy road trips for babies and toddlers while building their vocabulary. Keep a CD in your car with favorite children’s tunes or music from The Wizard of Oz, The Lion King, or The Beatles.
Take language development a step further by teaching your child a second language. You can associate the English words and phrases they’re learning with its translation in French, Spanish, or language of your choice using flashcards. Dr. Montessori believed that the initial six years of a child’s life are crucial for language development. Children can absorb several languages simultaneously with the appropriate stimulation, practice, and encouragement.
Enjoy reading to your child daily. It’s entertaining and educational for enhancing language development. Infants may not understand words; however, they will watch the movement of your lips and listen to the sound of your words with the intention to communicate.
Spend as much time outdoors as you possibly can, whether it’s in your backyard planting and harvesting a garden, taking a walk, or visiting a park for a picnic lunch. By exploring nature, your child will learn practical life skills, like watering plants and picking fresh fruit and vegetables. On a sunny afternoon outdoors, spread a blanket, plates, and an array of summer fare to sample with your child.
Independent playtime and quiet time
It’s healthy for a child to play independently. Short periods of time alone spark imagination and creativity. Contrary to popular belief, boredom is productive as a child endeavors to amuse themselves. Give your child some free space on a mat in a safe area with play objects, such as building blocks, picture books, balls, and stacking cups. The experience prompts your child to explore and discover interests and abilities.
Also, you can develop a Bored Jar, filled with fun activities jotted on pieces of paper and color-coded for indoor or outdoor activities. Keep the jar on a counter for when you need inspiration. Write down what your child enjoyed most about the activity. Post it in a scrapbook or on a bulletin board as a reminder of fun activities to do again.
At Apple Montessori Schools, we believe that summer is a perfect season to expand your child’s skills and abilities, foster independence, and inspire a lifelong love for learning.