Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poor, deprived kid

Nugget keeps going over to the activity shelf and asking for a "new activ-ty?". Unfortunately, I'm stuck on what to do for her. I spent some time looking through the print-outs from Montessori for the Earth, but I don't think any of them are appropriate for her. They mostly involve sitting and getting a lesson, which she is not up for these days. She likes the sort of activity that takes little explaining, but that she can learn and explore on her own.

So I'm waiting to join a Yahoo group that focuses on creating Montessori materials at home, and I'm hoping to get some inspiration from the archives once they give me access. Maybe I'll also dig out a few of the little toys and puzzles I've tucked away, see if she's grown into them.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It was supposed to be a hammering activity

I bought a block of styrofoam and some golf tees the other day to make a hammering activity. However, Nugget has no interest in the hammering part of it. She's just pushing the tees into the block.

She has dubbed this a birthday cake which she's putting candles into.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Alternative activities

Nugget hasn't been too interested in the new activities I set out. She's done them once or twice, enough so that I know she understands them. But she just isn't taken with them. So I'm trying to learn from her lead, see what she's drawn to and how I can launch off that.

She has shown an interest in drawing and stickers. So I've set out paper and crayons, a plate of sticker sheets, and some Color Wonder paper and markers (MUCH neater for a kid who loves to draw on her hands). She can get them out on her own and make little masterpieces. Too bad she FREAKS OUT if I try to hang them up around the house. Pulls them right down. "No hang up!"

Gardening's still a big hit, so we go outside a lot. She waters plants and digs holes. I've had to keep her out of my vegetable garden now that it has tiny little sprouts, but she keeps occupied in the herb garden and the area we're clearing out around the heat pump.

Another one of her favorites is the bins of beans and rice. I have a smallish bin -- 15x12 or so -- on the kitchen counter by her Learning Tower. That one is filled with 4 different kinds of beans and her "cooking" pans and spoons. Outside on the lanai we have an underbed box filled with 15 pounds of rice, spoons, bowls, a pitcher, and scoops. She'll spend 10-15 minutes of alone time with that rice. She'll pour it out occasionally, but a warning usually stops it. She really likes the rice -- today she was getting frustrated while working on a puzzle, so I suggested we go out and play with the rice. On her way out the door she said, "I cheer up!". I think that means she likes it. :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Activity area reorganization

I couldn't sleep last night. Maybe it's because I had more caffeine during the day than I'm used to -- although I didn't have any after 2pm. Whatever it was, I found myself awake and energetic at midnight. I'd been meaning to re-work Nugget's activity area, so I decided to harness my energy for good.

The big things I changed were a refresh of the activities on her self, weeding out her puzzles, and adding some decoration to the walls and window shelves.

Here's her activity shelf. The top has the old stand-bys of crayons and bead stacking (although I've moved the beads from a Valentine's-themed bucket to a flower shaped bowl).

The middle shelf includes a line-drawing activity -- draw a line from the circle to the X.

There's also a basket with animal flashcards -- these can be matched to the flashcards stuck to the walls around the nook.

This is a shape-sorting activity. The foam shapes are from a magnetic building set that she isn't interested in.

The bottom shelf has the spring bird activity and a redesigned version of the pompoms and ice cube tray -- I've replaced the tongs with a spoon and glued small squares of color to the bottom of the ice cube hole so that the pompoms have a designated place to go.

On another shelf I have her puzzles, but I've removed those that she's grown out of (pretty much all the peg puzzles) and replaced them with trickier peg puzzles (matching by color and pattern) and jigsaws.

Now here's my next project -- this is a desk in the guest room that's been taken over by the pieces and parts for Nugget's activities and art projects. I keep her area so neat, but don't treat mine the same way!

Monday, March 9, 2009

First shot at spring scene activity

I introduced the spring scene this morning, even though I didn't have the goal photos prepared (see previous post). Nugget fooled around with the birds for a while, but really seemed to want a purpose (well, she did seem to have fun putting birds in the tree and claiming that the purple mommy bird was reading to the other birds).

So I grabbed my laptop and pulled up the pictures I meant to print. It didn't work nearly as well as I think real photos will, but we got somewhere.

This activity seems to be just right for her at the moment. She has no problem with the idea of matching an existing pattern. But the stretch is to reproduce that pattern somewhere else. A couple of times, she tried to lay the birds on the laptop screen directly. It took a fair amount of guidance to replicate the patterns on the posterboard (and the distance from the images to the scene didn't help -- I really want to be able to lay the photos right next to it).

But the concept seems to be within reach. I saw marked improvement in the few minutes we worked on it, which usually means that she's just about to get it.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thwarted by technology

I spent the evening working on a new "activ-ty" for Nugget, to be thwarted by technology at the last moment.

I put together a nice spring scene using felt on painted posterboard -- hills, sun, and one big tree in the middle. I also cut out a number of small birds in different colors of felt. I positioned 2 or 3 at a time in the scene -- flying around or sitting in the tree. I took pictures of each of these, with the intention that Nugget would reproduce the scene as seen in each photo.

With nearly everything done, the printer was out of ink. So I'm sitting here, excited to introduce the first new activity in a while, and I can't. Maybe I'll let her play with the scene without a goal, to get familiar with it. That may mean that when I introduce the photos, she'll be more interested in working toward a goal instead of playing.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Thinking through the process

I've been quiet on here recently. Part of that can be explained by the fact that our family's been fighting through a number of food reactions and illness. But part of it is that I'm feeling a bit stuck.

I've got a lot of blogs that I check regularly that have crafty ideas and Montessori ideas. But I feel like Nugget's in a tough in-between place, maturity-wise.

She's interested in letters and words. But she's pretty short on motor control (fine and gross) and she's not great at following multi-step instructions or working on something for the process -- she wants to do it, finish it, and move on. So I'm having a hard time finding or coming up with activities that catch her attention but that she's capable of performing.

Hmm. Writing out that helps me a bit. Instead of coming up with activities that work in spite of the fact that she can't do those things, I need to think of things that will help her develop those abilities.

Also, I've been kicking myself about not having new work-like Montessori activities. But we're still doing a lot of day-to-day practical life stuff -- setting her place, putting her dishes away when they're clean, gardening.

And maybe it's time to turn my attention more to the Waldorf blogs. She's doing more imaginative play, like pretending to be different animals each day (did you know that a dino's favorite food is melon?). I may need to look into setting up her play environment to encourage her to take that on more independently.

Thanks for being my sounding board. :)

Shaving cream!

This one was just for fun. I emptied about half a can of cheap shaving cream into the tub for Nugget to play with. I expected hair styles for the bath animals, sculptures, and lots of smooshing.

Instead, I got this.

That's Nugget, trying desperately to clean herself up but just making things worse. My little neat-freak hated having the shaving cream on her -- even just on her hands.

I guess I could have anticipated this -- she doesn't like finger painting, either. Where did that personality trait come from?!
Site Meter