Find out how you can create your own Montessori activities to do at home on a budget! Montessori education for toddlers is a wonderful choice. In case you are not familiar with Montessori, here is a brief overview:
Over 100 years ago Maria Montessori discovered that when children were given the tools they needed, learning happened on its own. These educational methods still inspire students today throughout the world, as they can benefit from self-directed learning through hands-on experiences. This leads to the development of fine and gross motor skills, along with many other wonderful achievements. While some schools may offer their own customization, the overall approach is always the same. All Montessori classrooms host five learning areas: practical life, sensorial, language, math, and cultures/science.
Check out our Montessori shopping list and photo inspiration at the end of this article
This article is written by Katie Strohecker
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lthough sending your child to a Montessori school is the best option, it is not the only option! With the rise of stay-at-home or work-from-home moms, it is not always in the budget, or feasible to send your toddler out of the home for preschool. But what is so great about Montessori, is that you can easily replicate these valuable lessons right in your very own home!
Included in this article is a collection of activities that you can put together for your child to enjoy! You can find most of the necessary items at thrift stores, the Dollar Tree, at craft stores like Michaels, Amazon, or look for free printables (like the one in this article) online. Some activities you will need to create or set-up yourself, but I promise…it is simple!
One other thing to keep in mind is toddler readiness. In other words, some toddlers are ready to learn certain tasks/skills, while others are developmentally unready. Avoid introducing a task or activity that will frustrate your child. Each child learns and grows at his/her own pace. It is our job as parents to foster and provide experiences that will encourage their growth both mentally and physically.
Note: Many of these activities listed below satisfy multiple areas of the Montessori classroom (example – playdough is sensorial, but can also be language or math depending what activity is being completed)
Montessori Activities To Do At Home for Practical Life Learning
- Find old shirts at thrift store (or in your closet) with buttons or snaps and cut them to fit in an embroidery hoop ($1.89 at Michaels).
- You can also practice zipping coats, jackets, or bags/purses.
- Husking corn
- Peeling bananas
- Slicing bananas
- Peeling cucumbers
- Peeling hard-boiled eggs
- Grinding peppercorns
- Clipping ends off green beans with scissors
- Peeling a tangerine
- Popping pea pods
- Juicing an orange
- Scrubbing potatoes
- Sweeping the floor-make a square on the floor with tape for child to sweep dirt
- Washing rocks, animals, baby doll, toy cars
- Dusting furniture
- Window washing with spray bottle and squeegee
- Place a ball of yarn in one glass jar and poke a hole in the lid-child will pull yarn and clip pieces with scissors.
- Practice cutting paper. Then allow them to put the pieces in a bag or envelope – cutting is hard work!
- Make your own lacing cards with shoelaces and card-stock.
- Pouring water into a bowl is great practice! And scooping items from one bowl to another (buttons, beans, beads, etc) by using measuring spoons of various sizes will help enhance their hand-eye coordination.
- Moving pom poms or cotton balls with tweezers from one dish to another, or into an ice cube tray
- Moving water from bowl to bowl by soaking and squeezing a sponge out
- Twisting lids on/off various containers from your kitchen
- Screwing a screw into a wood block (make or purchase here)
- Twisting a nut/bolt onto a screw (purchase here)
- Use eyedropper with colored water on coffee filters
- Squeeze syringe with colored water onto cotton balls
- Clipping clothespins on a rope or side of a bowl
- Such as folding towels or washcloths.
- Cut pieces of paper, wrapping paper, or tissue paper and allow child to glue onto construction paper.
- Getting dressed and putting on shoes
- Putting on coat, hat, mittens, etc. “Montessori coat flip”
- Songs (“This is the way”, “Put on your shoes”, etc)
Other Great Activities
- Wrapping a wooden spool with yarn (purchase at Michaels)
- Setting the table: Create a mat with outlines for each item
- Use an old coffee can or pretzel tub and cut a slit/hole in the lid large enough for child to drop in pom poms or plastic rings
- Hammer golf tees into clay
Montessori Activities to Do at Home for Sensorial Learning
- Color strips (use from a paint store and cut apart)
- Patterns (use scrapbook paper and velcro)
- Colors (use construction paper and household objects)
- Parts of a flower (label cups with “leaves, stems, petals”)
- Animals (land, water, air)
- Color sticks (color or paint popsicles sticks and match with plastic cups labeled with color)
- Trace everyday toys on notecards to match
- Matching letter magnets on cookie tray
- Same/Different: Use note cards cut in half and put same and different stickers on each card (2 stickers per card) and offer 2 sorting bowls
- Tape a clear ziplock bag onto a window and fill with hair gel, shaving cream, water/oil/food coloring, or water beads.
- Parts of my face (cut from felt).
- Create homemade playdough and add in spices, essential oils or glitter to engage more senses
Touch/feel books (Purchase here)
- Add different items into paint such as glitter, salt, sand, shaving cream, etc. for texture
- Bubble wrap painting
- Paint with flowers, potatoes, apples, toilet brush, cookie cutters, feet, fingers, dryer balls, toilet paper tubes squeezed into shapes
- Place paper over a leaf and rub with crayon
- Hot glue shape outlines on card-stock and then put paper over and rub with crayon (also can be done with letters or numbers)
- Movement to music
- Sort by color
- Fill with oatmeal, flour, snow, rice, corn, dry cereal, sand, colored water, confetti, shredded crinkle paper, feathers, etc. and provide scoops, blocks, animals, etc. to interact with in the materials.
- Hold up to eyes and see different colors through them
Montessori Activities to Do At Home for Learning Language
- Size classifying: use objects from around the house such as a small, medium, and large bowl
- Story sequencing cards (first-next-last)
- Nomenclature cards (labeling)
- Write letters on sand paper and have child trace with finger and make sound
- Cut letters out of felt and glue on notecards
Letter/Sound work (advanced)
- Provide letter cards and objects/toys from around the house that match beginning sounds
Books with labels/vocabulary
Writing letters on chalkboards with chalk
Montessori Activities To Do At Home for Learning Math
- Construction paper bars of varying lengths
- Stacking puzzles (purchase here)
- Peg board
- Match Q-tips with numbered jars
- Match wooden sticks or popsicle sticks with number cards
- Sectioned container with numbers and beans
- Write numbers on sandpaper and child traces with finger
Writing numbers on chalkboard with chalk
- Shape match cards (trace shapes on notecards and provide needed shapes in bowl)
- Stamp finger prints to match numbers
- Dab paint with clothespin/cotton ball to match numbers
Montessori Activities to Do At Home for Learning Cultures/Science
- Labeling animals (ocean, farm, wild, insects, etc.)
- Classifying animals (advanced)
- Movement (fly, swim, walk, hop, slither, etc)
- Body covering (shell, fur, scales, feathers, etc)
- Flower arranging (allow child to use fresh or fake flowers and a vase)
- Planting/growing seeds (purchase kit here)
- Watering plants with spray bottle or watering can
- Parts of a plant (felt activity)
- Nature tray with magnifying glass (Include leaves, twigs, flowers, pinecones, nests, feathers, dead bugs, shells etc.)
- Life cycles of butterfly, frog, pumpkin, chicken, plant (printables and puzzles)
- Sink/float (use bin filled with water and various objects to see density)
- Color mixing (using eyedropper/food coloring/cotton balls)
- Weather (clouds, rainbows, rain, sunshine, snow)
- Paint clouds using shaving cream and Elmer’s glue
- Nature collage (find items outside and glue on a paper)
- Magnets & metal household objects (Purchase here)
- Seasons song (Learn it here)
- Feelings song (Learn it here)
- Parts of the Body song (Learn it here)
- Grow butterflies (Purchase here)
*Art & Music are other components incorporated daily*
Below is a free printable that you can take advantage of when shopping for your own Montessori supplies. Most of these items can be found at the Dollar Store, or at other local discount shops.
Click on the image to view the full-size PDF
Enjoy these photo examples of Montessori Activities that you can do at home with your toddler!
A great resource for free printable Montessori activities is themontessorifamily.com. They have compiled a list of the ten best websites for FREE Montessori materials. This is a great time-saver as we all know the internet is endless and time-consuming to browse!
For more on this topic, check out the full All About Toddlers collection
Featured Contributor: Katie Strohecker