Monday, March 31, 2014

on the shelves - 20 months

A handful of E's favorite activities this month:

1. color basket one
A homemade version of the traditional Montessori material, Color Box I.  I made our color tablets by simply gluing paint samples onto rectangles of cardboard.  Elise is able to successfully match all three primary colors, and she really enjoys checking her work by "telling the whole story:" red, red; yellow, yellow; blue, blue!

2. caring for a plant
Up until this month, our only house plant had been a small, happily-neglected cactus.  When I saw these little daffodil plants at the grocery store, spring fever got the better of me, and I decided to bring one home!  Although it's looking a little past it's prime, Elise continues to enjoy smelling the blossoms and keeping it well-watered. ;)

3. beginning sorting 
While I drooled over a million and one awesome sorting activities on pinterest, I decided to keep this introductory activity simple.  I put two different types of objects in a basket - cotton balls and wooden eggs, and showed Elise how to sort them into a divided baking dish.  She caught on right away, and has has been getting a lot of satisfaction out of the activity - it must appeal to her sense of order!

4.  matching animals to their babies
Elise has gone completely baby crazy, so this is quite possibly her favorite activity of all time.  I tried to include both male and female animals - if you've ever examined a Schleich figurine, you'll know what I'm talking about.  Anyway, I'm glad I did because while Elise is very much a mama's girl right now, she is really drawn to the male animals, especially the dog - she calls him "Papa" and the puppy "Elise."

5. smelling jars
This is another homemade version of a traditional Montessori material, the Smelling Cylinders.  I'll add another set of jars soon, so Elise can match the scents.  For now, she is busy figuring out how to open the lids, and happily sniffing away at the essential oils I dabbed onto a few cotton balls.  While this activity may seem simple, I think it's really increased Elise's awareness of aromas in the environment.

6. hot and cold cards
Elise continues to be fascinated by hot and cold.  I made these cards out of photos I took of hot and cold things around our house - a steaming tea kettle, an ice cube, etc.  (Thanks to Elsa for the idea!)  Eventually, this will be another sorting activity, but for now we've just been talking about the cards and matching them to the environment.


  1. Thanks for this post! I'm inspired by your simple sorting activity. Finn hasn't done any yet because I have a feeling that he would not be interested, but I may be wrong! And your post reminds me to finally make those smelling bottles!

    1. So many materials seem easy to make - it's just a matter of actually doing it! Dressing frames are at the top of my list right now. Can't wait to see how your smelling bottles turn out! :)

  2. I love the little watering can! :) She's already doing so much at 20 months! :) Wonderful!

    1. Yes, and it pours really well, too - sometimes the best finds are just at the local hardware store!

  3. Wonderful works! I find LJ so different than L was. He will do a work for a bit and then something comes over him and he can't resist banging part of it either on the table or on something else. Way more aggression. L was always so gentle with things. Ha not so with LJ. Still looking for things for a gentle hands work!!

    1. It's so interesting how different siblings can be! Elise tests things for durability quite a bit - the gentle hands work has helped, though. I'll say, "That's fragile, so you have to use your gentle hands." She'll stop doing whatever she was doing, and start gently petting instead. It's very sweet, and sometimes gives me a pretty good chuckle.


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