Inspired by An Amazing ChildAge: From approx. 1.5 year old
Activity Duration: 5-15 minutes
Preparation Time: 3 minutes
1. To train the child’s fine motor skills
2. To teach the concept of full and empty
1. 10-30 toothpicks in a bowl (be careful not to overwhelm your child with too many toothpicks, but adjust accordingly to your child’s needs)
2. 1 toothpick container
3. 1 tray
1. Show your child how to insert a toothpick into the hole of the toothpick container.
2. Encourage your child try it.
1. You can also show your child to listen to the sounds of toothpicks by shaking the container.
2. You can also show your child how to open and close the hole by turning the lid.
3. Advanced level: You can also show your child how to insert the toothpick into the smaller holes of the container.
This is the Montessori activity I introduced to Joshua (2Y15D) this morning. He enjoyed it a lot and could do it very well. At first, he was very greedy, and wanted to put many toothpicks into the hole at the same time. I learned to be more modest, after I told him that it will be inefficient to do so. He also experimented with listening to the sound of the toothpicks (Montessori sensory experience) by shaking the container, opening and closing the hole by turning the lid. Once he became an expert, he moved on to the more advanced level of inserting toothpicks into the smaller holes (see more pictures). He advanced very fast, because I have introduced this activity a little late. You could start with your toddler already around 1 year 9 months with inserting the toothpicks into the large hole first. Joshua poured back the toothpicks into the bowl after that by his own iniative.
My thanks to Florian, who took over the morning routine, while mommy ran downstairs to laboriously type this activity down.
Updates on 27 July 2011:
I tried this activity again on 27.7.2011 (2Y4M22D) with Joshua. He still enjoyed it very much and played for a good few minutes. He could do this easily without much struggle. Then he got bored that there were still so many toothpicks remaining to insert through the small holes. He asked to open the lid and place the toothpicks in. I left him to do so. When I returned, all the toothpicks were neatly in the container. Joshua screwed shut the lid and place the container with toothpicks into the basket. He then placed the basket on top of the laundry basket (We usually do Montessori in the toilet - that is the place with the least distraction :-). I was impressed. Good job, Joshua. He has grown and matured so much since we played this 4 months ago...