Summer time. What a lovely time of year for Montessori-inspired activities.
The kids are home, the sun reigns all day, and the outside world is in full bloom. Longer days and starry nights set the perfect tone for natural exploration, Montessori-style.
If you are wondering what you can do to combine learning and summer fun, look no further. Here are the ten best Montessori activities that you can add to your summer bucket list today.
1. Pick apples and prepare for a snack.
Who doesn’t love a fresh, crisp apple? Nothing makes an apple taste better than picking it yourself. Do a quick Google search or ask around to see if you can find a local orchard, then load the family up for an apple picking adventure.
After harvesting the apples, allow your child to slice the apple and place in a bowl. Place an apple slicer, the apple, and a small bowl on a tray. Demonstrate how to use the apple slicer, and have the child move each piece of apple to the bowl. An activity that develops motor skills, practical life skills, and results in a healthy snack your child prepares himself? Yes, please!
2. Try your hand at nature weaving.
Weaving is a beautiful and valuable life skill. Manual dexterity is strengthened with weaving, and hand-eye coordination is improved.
Taking your weaving loom outdoors makes the process just that much more fun and natural. Use ribbons, flowers, and leaves to weave through the strings. Add in any found materials in your yard and craft drawer. There are large and small Montessori toy looms you could purchase for this project, or make a temporary one out of Popsicle sticks and string.
3. Grow a garden.
It is vital to teach children to care for our environment. Gardening fosters a love and appreciation for nature, as well as develops the atheistic sense. Children can help plant, water, weed, and pick the fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
If you don’t have the room for a large garden, a small flower bed or herb garden will do the trick. It is amazing to see a seed become a plant. Appropriate gardening tools are important to purchase. The gardening tools need to be ‘real’ (not plastic toys), and also the right size for the height of the child.
4. Make a clay masterpiece.
Observe the outdoors. There are so man wondrous creatures from bugs to birds. Look at the leaves on the trees and the petals on the wildflowers blowing in the wind.
The inspiration for clay models is all around.
Take some modeling clay on a tray outdoors. Have your child walk around and decide what they want to mold, and then let him create away. He can later paint his masterpiece if so desired.
5. Play with sand and water.
Sand and water play is a classic activity that always entertains. Numerous household containers and commercial sensory bins are perfect for holding sand and water. Add in some sea shells, figurines, small shovels, tools, whatever you (or your child) desire. Pour the substances into containers, dig through the sand, splash in the water… Hours of educational play ahead!
6. Explore Sea Creatures.
The sand, the waves, the sun. Nothing beats a beach trip during the summer months. The most amazing part of the ocean is the incredible sea creatures. Different sizes, shapes, colors all co-mingling in a watery paradise. To learn more about sea life, make your own sea life Montessori toy set.
Print off pictures of sea life and name labels for each creature. Place the sea creature figurines in a small bowl. Place the cards, labels, and bow of sea creature figurines on a tray. Your child can match the figurines and labels to the cards. Add in a set of tongs to move the figurines to the pictures for transferring practice, and a sea life book to learn more about the creatures. Your child could even draw the creatures and write their names in a notebook for an extension activity.
7. Have a picnic.
What could be more enjoyable than a nice picnic under the shade of a large tree?
The work that goes into a picnic incorporates many Montessori related skills.
Have your child prepare the food. They can wash and cut the fruits and vegetables, and transfer them to bowls. They can make the sandwiches.
Bake some cookies for desert allowing your child to measure ingredients and stir the mixture. Have the children be in charge pouring the drinks from the lemonade pitcher. Who knew a nice picnic could be so educational?
8. Do some wood working.
A practical life activity like wood working is often overlooked. Even a child as young as three can learn to work with tools. A young child can practice driving nails into a board or large stump with an appropriately sized hammer. An older child can build a bird house.
There are a variety Montessori toys and materials, especially for children, to hone in on wood working skills. Of course, be sure to take appropriate precautions including eye protection and supervision during wood working activities.
9. Gaze at the stars above.
One of the most marvelous things about the summer is being able to stay outside late into the night. Who doesn’t love sitting on the porch and staring at those mysterious balls of gasses we call stars.
Looking for constellations is a favorite pastime of many, and your children will love it, too.
During the day, prepare a constellation tray for your children. Put printed pictures of constellations as well as name labels on the tray and have your child match the constellations to the names using a constellation book.
Your child can also copy constellations out of the book into a notebook, build them with marshmallows and tooth picks, or practice transferring skills by using tongs to move pom balls from a bowl to the stars on constellation pictures. The extension activities are endless. At night, gaze together at the sky and try to find the constellations.
Record the ones you find in a journal.
10. Play with the alphabet.
Sandpaper letters are essential Montessori materials to any classroom or household to build early literacy skills. They can be used in so many ways, but during the summer, try an outdoor letter hunt. Your child can take letters around the yard and match them to objects. They can place the ‘t’ by a tree, a ‘d’ by the dog, and a ‘g’ by the grass.
Mix this activity up to provide more hours of play. Have a letter hunt.
Similar to an egg hunt, but instead of eggs, hide some of the letters around and give your child a list of the missing letters to find and check off. Lay a few letters out on the sidewalk and have your child write them with chalk. Make rubbing transfers with paper and the letters while sitting on the picnic table. The possibilities are endless.
Let Your Child Lead.
Let these ideas inspire you to extend your child’s work outside this summer. This season gives the opportunity to see and learn so much about the natural world. Try all ten activities this summer, and remember to follow your child’s lead; they are experts on finding new ways to extend activities beyond what adults could ever imagine.