As I mentioned before, I haven't pushed or even suggested going into the Montessori room lately. Nugget has just been too scattered and I've been too wiped to spend my evenings making new materials (39 weeks, 3 days today!). She's been spending lots of time playing on our bed lately, usually being a worm or a snake or a bird or serving up picnics. Our Montessori materials are in our master bedroom, so she's been seeing the materials; she just hasn't chosen to use them.
This morning, I left Nugget playing on my husband and I's bed while I took a shower . When I came out, she had settled at the little table in the Montessori area and was doing puzzles. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to see if she wanted to do some work. So I removed the turtle pin punching and put out a Stegosaurus suction shape with marbles. I've wanted to have one of these out for Practical Life for ages, but I've had no luck finding the shapes at a store! I was finally able to pick up a set of 3 from the Montessori Swap Yahoo group. I just put out the marbles for Nugget to place with her fingers; I'll have to see if I can dig up an appropriately sized set of tongs or some such later today. As I expected, Nugget got a kick out of the silliness of "decorating" her Stegosaurus.
While she did the marbles, I unrolled a rug and worked on changing her food chain activity a bit. Setting out the entire chain in order to sort the herbivore/carnivore/omnivore cards was too much for her to manage on her own, so I put out three pieces of construction paper -- one with a leaf, one with a drumstick, and one with both. I showed her how to lay out the sorting areas and then place each card in its appropriate spot. She did perfectly on this, and still really enjoys seeing what each animal eats.
I thought, since there were no more new materials, that Nugget might disengage at this point. But she pulled out the texture balloons and we played with those for a while. Then she wanted to do the Mystery Bag, which she's gotten so much better at! She uses it appropriately and always finds the right object.
I decided to put out one more new activity -- the Small Number Rods. I just put out 1-5, and showed Nugget how to arrange them from smallest at the top to biggest at the bottom. In a few days I'll pull out the Sandpaper Letters and start associating the rods with the numbers. She's into a counting phase these days, so I think this might be a good time to introduce this.
After the Number Rods, she did the marbles again and some more puzzles. Then she went to the animal beginning sounds activity and ran through that with no problem at all (expect needing to be reminded of the names of a couple of the more unfamiliar animals).
She now wanted to pretend to be a duck in a pond (our blue striped rug often is her pond; the brown striped one is a mud puddle). I suggested we pull out the Knobbed Cylinders and do all 4 so that when they were done, she could jump into the middle and pretend it was her pond. I was shocked that she thought that was a great idea! She brought out the Cylinder Blocks (counting each one as she did so) and we disassembled and reassembled them (I made a show of helping, but she really did nearly all of it herself). Then she jumped into the middle, jumped out, and removed all the cylinders AGAIN! My husband was really getting a kick out of listening to this because she pretends each cylinder is a baby looking for its home or its mommy. I think he said Maria Montessori would be spinning in her grave. :) But I'm happy, because Nugget was doing the activity on her own and enjoying it!
The last item she chose was tonging Easter eggs, and she did that quite a few times. We finally finished up about 90 minutes after we started! We had a great time in the room, and I'm feeling so much more positive about the whole thing. I'm so glad that she chose to start working on her own. I might even have a bit more motivation to get a few more materials made before Sprout comes.