I’ll admit that I still occasionally fall prey to the “mom guilt” trap, even though I actively try not to. The one thing that most frequently triggers these feelings is the amount of time I spend with my children. Turns out, I’ve probably been stressing for nothing! One study shows that the amount of time a parent spends with their children broadly doesn’t impact their success, in fact, it’s all about quality over quantity (isn’t everything?) According to the research, success levels later in life are more closely linked to the quality of time parents spend with children than the sheer amount of time spent. But I’ll be honest, I can quickly run out of ideas for playing with kids, which is why I’ve been researching Montessori activities lately.
As much as I try to make daily life activities like cooking and cleaning a game for the kids to participate in, sometimes you just need to get on your hands and knees and focus your attention on them. So in most cases, when I’m out of ideas, I turn to my Instagram to get the latest and most extraordinary ideas from other moms—tried and true, and full of fun. Being the A-type personality I am, I focused on activities to do with kids that we can do outside, so the mess and clean-up were quick and easy.
It’s also important for me to have many of these activities touch on learning in a Montessori style. If this term is new to you, Montessori is simply an innovative, child-centered approach to education developed a century ago by an Italian woman ahead of her time. This educational philosophy and practice foster rigorous, self-motivated growth for children and adolescents in all areas of their development, with a goal of nurturing each child’s natural desire for knowledge, understanding, and respect.
Rather than simply filling children with facts, Montessori education strives to nurture each child’s natural desire for knowledge, understanding, and respect. So, without further ado, here are my top five Montessori activities to do with kids!
Leveled Up Sidewalk Chalk
Level up your sidewalk chalk game by making some homemade sidewalk paint together. This mixture goes on nice and thick, and when it dries it looks like sidewalk chalk, plus, it easily rinses off with a garden hose. It’s also a fantastic outdoor Montessori activity for preschoolers to practice their early writing skills—letters, numbers, their name, sight words, etc.
INGREDIENTS AND SUPPLIES:
- A sectioned container
- Cornstarch (cornflour in the UK)
- Food coloring (Liquid Watercolors)
- Small whisk
MIXING YOUR SIDEWALK PAINT:
- Add 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cornstarch to each section of the container. Add a little less than 1/4 cup of cold water to each section.
- Whisk until the cornstarch has completely dissolved. You want your paint to be thick enough that it drizzles from the whisk.
- Add your food coloring and stir well.
- Now you’re ready to hit the sidewalk and make some art!
Toy Car Wash
Create a toy car wash in the backyard. As Liam gets older, he’s starting to have an interest in how things move and work together. At the moment, this means cars, tractors, and anything with wheels. Have your little ones get them all muddy and then create a car wash to get their toy cars clean.
Montessori With Dad
Let’s get Dad involved in the fun too! Take dad’s shaving cream and spray it onto a table outside, add some food coloring, and let the babies play around in it. It’s a super cheap and easy way to have them engaged in how mixing colors together will create new colors. Talk about the perfect Montessori activity!
Photo by Julietta Watson
Simple Homemade Playdough
Make homemade playdough together! Playdough is such an easy and quick recipe, which can also be part of the fun. Have your little ones help you mix the ingredients to make the dough and cut it all up to make fun shapes.
Tie-Dye for the Big Kids
Tie-dye some items together. Okay, I’ll be honest, I have an ulterior motive with this one. I recently saw this gorgeous DIY on HGTV and it got my wheels turning. While this tie-dye design might be an activity better suited for older children, tie-dye is still a great Montessori activity for little ones. Teaching them that whatever they create is fun and unique is a great use of an afternoon in my mind.