By Kendyll Murray and Whitney Kimbro
It has been so rewarding to witness the growth that took place this school year. We have observed an increase in concentration and independence! The toddler’s physical, language, social and emotional growth have flourished, and friendships have been formed that will last throughout the years at Walnut Farm.
Spending time outdoors is always beneficial for their developing needs. “The outdoors offers limitless potential to young children. It becomes a place where they can go to relax their mind, to be inspired, and to dive deep into a world of imagination. It’s a place where they can design, create, and explore. The possibilities are endless. Time and time again, studies show that when children have free play outdoors, they become better problem solvers and their creativity is enhanced” (Hamilton 2014).
We know you are looking forward to summer with your children and we wanted to share some ideas for Montessori aligned summer fun!
- Pick fruit/vegetables and allow child to help prepare snack: Your toddler can practice spreading jam, nut butter, hummus, or mashed avocado on their toast or crackers. They can cut fruits and veggies with a child-safe knife. They can practice peeling a mandarin orange, banana, or hardboiled egg. They can pour themself a drink from a small pitcher, too.
- Sensory tables: Sand, water, bubbles, etc.
- Allow child to wash their toy cars, bicycles, and other outdoor toys/materials.
- Other activities involving water play:
- Pouring water from a jug to a glass’.
- Pouring water through a funnel.
- Pouring water to the line: draw a line around a see-through cup and encourage your child to pour up to the line.
- Whisking soapy water.
- Painting with water is perfect for the summer: Give your child a bucket of water, some paintbrush and sponges and encourage them to paint the fences, concrete or wall.
- Sink or Float: Gather a few items from around the house – some that sink in water and some that float. Then, fill a bowl with water and encourage your child to place each item in the water, one at a time, to see whether it sinks or floats.
- Painting on bedsheet: Spread a bedsheet over the wall, hang it on the fence or secure it on the floor and let them paint outside. You can also put paint in spray bottles.
- Bring art easel outside: painting, chalk, magnets, etc.
- Freeze pompoms in water and rescue them: Use a small child’s hammer to free them.
- Notice the beauty of the outdoors together: Watch insects at work, droplets on leaves, the smell of rain, the colors of the sunset, the stillness of the lake or the ripples, the wind in the trees, grab a magnifying glass to explore.
- Make outdoor art: use mud, water, leaves, flowers, soil, seeds, grass and whatever other interesting pieces you can find. Lay them into patterns, make them into shapes, or work together to make a face or an animal.
- Yoga Cards: Practicing simple yoga poses, like Downward Dog or Butterfly, is a great way to help your toddler stay active while building strength and flexibility. Since toddlers are such visual learners, child-friendly yoga cardscan help your little one learn new poses more easily. Over time, your child may even begin practicing yoga independently with a little guidance from their yoga cards!
- Clay Impressions: Place different natural materials and press them into clayto make imprints. We did this one at a local pond and found a variety of things to use.
- Scavenger Hunt: Make your own or find one from this extensive list.
- Rock Stacking: Collect some rocks and make a tower, pattern, or structure. Paint some rocks for added fun!
- Living vs. Non-living: Talk about different things you see and discuss whether they’re living or non-living. This is a great cosmic educationlesson.
- Shadow Tracing: Place a large sheet of paperoutside in the shadow of some trees, plants, or even yourself, and trace the outline. Then, get creative with filling in the outlines with paint, crayons, or collage materials.
It is important to find balance between the freedom and bliss of summer without losing the routines and knowledge for which you and your child worked so hard during the school year. Of course, it is acceptable to ease up on schedules and routines during the summer months. Bedtimes and rising times can often be adjusted slightly and numerous opportunities for spontaneous activities can present themselves. We hope you have a wonderful summer break together as a family. Feel free to share other summer activities your children enjoy with one another as well.