Infant-Toddler Montessori Lessons

Setting the Table

Age: 18 months-3 years

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Steps:

  1. Arrange a tray with a placemat that has lines drawn indicating where each utensil belongs, a place, fork, knife, spoon, cup, and napkin.

  2. Invite the child to set the table with you and bring the tray to a table.

  3. Unroll placemat onto the table.

  4. Select the plate and place it on the placemat where the large circle is.

  5. Remove the fork and place to the left of the plate where the lines are.

  6. Remove the knife and place to the right of the plate on the indicated lines.

  7. Select the spoon and place in the lines on the placemat.

  8. Place the cup in the circle at the top of the mat.

  9. Lastly, pick up the napkin, rolling from bottom to top and place the ring over the top. Place the napkin at the very top of the place setting.

  10. When you have finished setting the table, place each item back on the tray in the order in which you brought them and invite the child to have a turn.

Purpose:

  1. Fine and gross motor skills

  2. Development of concentration

  3. Ability to follow sequenced directions

  4. Care of self

  5. Care of environment

  6. Grace and Courtesy

Pumpkin and Gourd Sorting


Age: 1 ½-3

Steps:

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  1. Arrange a large basket with several different sized pumpkins and/or gourds.

  2. Invite the child to work with you at a rug.

  3. Remove the pumpkins and gourds from the basket slowly, taking time to carefully examine each one before placing it gently in the middle of the rug  in front of you.

  4. Once all the pumpkins and gourds have been removed, place the basket to the side of the rug.

  5. Select the largest pumpkin and place it all the way on the left hand side of the rug.

  6. Taking time to look with your eyes first, select the next largest pumpkin and place it to the right of the first.

  7. Continue on in this manner until you get to the smallest pumpkin or gourd.

  8. Once all have been sorted from largest to smallest, place them back in the center of the rug and allow the child to have a turn.



NOTE: You may make this lesson easier or hard depending on the readiness of the child! If he is not yet ready to sort by size, the lesson could be sorting by color. You may also wish to begin with only 3 pumpkins or gourds at a time to lessen the level of difficulty.



Purpose:

  1. Visual discrimination

  2. Development of senses

  3. Development of concentration

  4. Ability to grade

  5. Ability to follow sequenced directions



Root Vegetable Matching

Age: 14 months-2 years

Steps:

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  1. Arrange a basket with matching sets of real root vegetables such as turnips, carrots, potatoes, etc.

  2. Invite the child to work at a rug with you.

  3. Say to the child, “Today, we are going to match root vegetables!”

  4. Remove the first vegetable from the basket, taking time to carefully examine it. Hand it to the child to feel and examine himself.

  5. Place this vegetable in the top left corner of the rug.

  6. Remove the rest of each type of vegetable and place underneath the previous in a neat column.

  7. Once all of each type of vegetable have been removed from the basket, select one of the matches. After examining this vegetable and handing it to the child to examine as well, place it to the right of the one it matches.

  8. After finding several matches, invite the child to match the rest as he seems ready.

  9. Once all of the vegetables have been placed with their matches carefully place them back in the basket one at a time.

Purpose:

  • Visual discrimination

  • Development of vocabulary

  • Development of concentration

Apple Printing

Age: 14 months-3 years

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Steps:

  1. Arrange a tray with a styrofoam plate, a bottle of paint or cup pre-prepared with paint, an apple, a child-safe vegetable cutter, a cutting board, and a piece of paper.

  2. Invite the child to work with you at a table.

  3. Place the cutting board in front of you and the child and place the apple on top.

  4. Pick up the vegetable cutter, being sure to point out to the child that it is sharp and can be dangerous, so it should be handled extra carefully!

  5. Hold the apple in your left hand and place the vegetable cutter in your right hand (assuming you and the child are right-handed) and press down on the vegetable cutter in the middle of the apple so as to cut it in half.

  6. Place the vegetable cutter back on the tray and cutting board back onto the tray and place the piece of paper, styrofoam plate, and paint in front of you and the child.

  7. Select the bottle or cup of paint and pour a small amount onto the styrofoam plate.

  8. Pick up the apple and place on the paint, covering the white portion of the inside of the apple.

  9. Then place the apple down on the sheet of paper to create an apple imprint.

  10. Invite the child to have a turn with the other half of the apple as he shows readiness!

  11. When finished creating apple imprints, invite the child to place his work on a drying rack to dry.

  12. Take the apple and styrofoam plate to the trash.

  13. Wash the vegetable cutter at the sink with the child and dry it before returning it to the tray.

  14. Replace the styrofoam plate, a fresh piece of paper, and apple on the tray so it is ready for the next child.

 

Purpose:

  • Development of fine motor skills

  • Development of gross motor skills

  • Ability to follow sequenced directions

  • Appreciation and development of artistic skills

  • Hand-eye coordination

 

American Flag Toothpick

**Note: This lesson requires direct teacher supervision!

Age: 2 ½-5

Steps:

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  1. Assemble a tray with a styrofoam cube, and a bowl with American flag toothpicks.

  2. Pick up a toothpick and say to the child “These are called toothpicks. The ends are pointy and very sharp so we have to be very careful with them so we don’t hurt ourselves!

  3. Take the toothpick and press it firmly but slowly into the styrofoam.

  4. Select another toothpick and do the same.

  5. When the child is ready, invite him to have a turn!

 

Purpose:

  • Fine motor and pincer grip development

  • Indirect preparation for writing

  • Development of concentration

  • Hand-eye coordination

Tweezing Insects

Age: 1-4

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Steps:

  1. Prepare a tray with a bucket with soil, and plastic insects hidden, (be sure they are large enough to not pose a choking hazard!), tongs, and a small bowl.

  2. Pick up tongs and slowly sift through soil until you find a hidden insect.

  3. Squeeze tongs to pick up plastic insect. Place the insect in the small bowl.

  4. After demonstrating a few, hand tongs to child to have a turn.  

 

Purpose:

  • Strengthens pincer grip and fine motor skills

  • Development of concentration

 

Scooping Shells

Ages: 1 ½-3

Steps:

  1. Arrange a tray with a bucket of water with a few shells inside (making sure they are not small enough to pose a choking hazard), an empty small bowl, and a spoon (may have holes like a colander or not.

  2. Invite the child to work with you at a table.

  3. Pick up the spoon with your right hand and place it into the bucket of water and shells. Bring the spoon towards you and scoop out a shell.

  4. Place the shell gently inside the empty bowl using the spoon.

  5. Continue on until all the shells have been scooped out of the bucket.

  6. Use the spoon to place the shells back into the bucket of water.

  7. Invite the child to have a turn.

 

Purpose:

  • Care of self

  • Develops fine motor skills, including a strong pincer grip

  • Development of concentration

 

Shamrock Coin Put and Take

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Ages: 13 months-2 years

Steps:
1. Assemble a tray with a jar with plastic lid and small slit in the top and a small bowl with large St. Patrick’s Day coins (big enough to not pose choking hazard).

2. Invite the child to work at a table.

3. Pick up one coin from small bowl using pincer grasp.

4. Carefully drop coin into slit in top of jar, pausing to listen to the sound as the coin drops in.

5. Continue on in same manner until all coins have been placed in jar.

6. Slowly remove lid off can.

7. Remove coins, placing back in small bowl one at a time.

8. Replace lid back on top of jar.

9. Invite the child to have a turn.

 

Purpose:

  1. Hand-eye coordination

  2. Fine and gross motor skill development

  3. Focus and concentration

  4. Development of pincer grip

Cutting Pine Needles

Age: 14 Months-4 years

Steps:

  1. Assemble a tray with one bowl, a small basket with small clipped pine tree branches, and a pair of child scissors.

  2. Pick up scissors and point out to child how to hold correctly with your thumb in one side and fingers in the other.

  3. Pick up a branch in the other hand and slowly, carefully demonstrate for the child how to cut the needles over the bowl on the tray.

  4. After you have cut some needles, place the scissors down and pick up the bowl, pointing out to the child the smell the pine needles make!

  5. Invite the child to have a turn.

 

Purpose:

  • Stimulates sense of smell

  • Fine motor development

  • Concentration and focus

 

Decorating Gingerbread Men

Ages: 13 months-5 years

Steps:

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  • Assemble a tray with cut out Gingerbread Men (may be made out of sandpaper for an added Sensorial appeal), googly eyes, glue, red and green pom poms, and orange smiles cut out from construction paper.

  • Invite the child to a table and select a Gingerbread Man.

  • Ask the child what the Gingerbread Man is missing on his face! Pick out two googly eyes, put glue on the back of each, and place on the Gingerbread Man’s face for his eyes.

  • Select an orange smile, put glue on the back, and attach for the mouth.

  • Select a few pom poms, apply glue, and attach to the Gingerbread Man’s stomach.

  • Invite the child to make his own!

 

Purpose:

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Fine motor skills

  • Focus and concentration

  • Language Development talking about parts of the body

Tweezing Indian Corn

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Ages: 16 months-4 years

Steps:

  1. Arrange a tray with an ear of Indian corn, a pair of tweezers, and one small bowl.

  2. If the child is right handed, sit on their right side. Pick up the tweezers, pausing to show the child the correct way to hold them. Say “this is how we hold tweezers.”

  3. Pick up the ear of corn in your non-dominant hand, and use the other hand to slowly remove a kernel of corn on the top, left side of the ear of corn, using the tweezers. Place the corn into the small bowl on the tray.

  4. Continue on demonstrating for the child how to tweeze the corn, moving slowly and carefully left to right, so the child mimics your graceful movements and control.

  5. Invite the child to have a turn.

Purpose:

  1. Develops pincer grip and fine motor skills

  2. Focus and concentration

  3. Prepares for future writing and reading as presentation is done left to right

 

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Fall Nature Sorting

Ages 14 months-4 years

Steps:

  1. Assemble a Sorting Tray with pumpkin seeds, acorns, leaves, and twigs in the center. (If you can go for a Nature Walk outside with your class beforehand to collect these items, even better!)

  2. Invite the child to a table and bring the Sorting tray with Fall items in the center.

  3. Carefully select an item from the middle, taking time to explore it with your hands and eyes, before handing it to the child to marvel at.

  4. When the child is ready she should hand the item back and you will place it in one of the sections on the outer edge of the tray.

  5. Pick up a different item from the center and repeat the above step, this time placing this item in a seperate section of the tray.

  6. Continue on sorting the items that are the same into the same section.

  7. Once you have sorted all of the items, place them one at a time back in the center of the tray and invite the child to have a turn.

 

Purpose:

  1. Develops visual discrimination and ability to classify

  2. Appreciation of nature

  3. Focus and attention span

  4. Following sequenced directions

 

Leaf Imprints

Age: 16 months-4 years

Steps:

  1. Take children outside to collect different leaves, flowers, grass, etc. in a basket.

  2. Assemble a tray with a plastic mat, play dough or clay, and the basket of gathings from outside.

  3. Knead playdough onto plastic mat to make a flat surface.

  4. Choose one item from the basket and gently press it into the playdough or clay.

  5. Pick the leaf up from the clay and examine the imprint left.

  6. Place leaf back into the basket, and invite the child to have a turn.

Purpose:

  1. Develops fine motor skills

  2. Develops visual discrimination

  3. Attention to detail

  4. Appreciation of nature/environment

Bobbing for Apples

Ages: 16 months-3 years

Steps:

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1.    Prepare a tray with a large bowl full of water, a basket filled with apples, (real or artificial, depending on age of children), a set of tongs, and a towel.

2.    Pick up tongs and model for the child how to hold them, slowly opening and closing for them to see.

3.    Slowly demonstrate picking up an apple with tongs from the basket and gently place the apple in the water-filled bowl.

4.    Transfer all the apples from the basket to the bowl with water one at a time.

5.    After all the apples are in the water, transfer them back to the basket one at a time and invite the child to have a turn.

6.    Use the towel to dry the tongs and each of the apples one at a time, and return the lesson to the shelf.

Purpose:

1.    Strengthens fine motor skills

2.    Hand-eye coordination

3.    Develops attention span

Water Spooning

Ages: 2 ½-5

Steps:

1.     Prepare a tray with two bowls of the same size, another bowl with plastic stars (or other object that will float), a pitcher, a spoon, and a towel.

2.     Teacher and child don aprons

3.     Take the pitcher from the tray and fill with water.

4.     Pour some water into the bowl on the left side of the tray, then the right.

5.     Use the spoon to gently spoon the objects into the bowl on the left side of the tray.

6.     Once all the objects are in the left bowl, use the spoon to slowly and carefully transfer one object at a time to the bowl on the right.

7.     Once all the objects have been transferred to the bowl on the right, turn the tray so the child may start from the left hand side and allow them to have a turn.

8.     After the child has practiced, show them how to return the objects to their original bowl using the spoon one at a time.

9.     Pour water from the bowls into the pitcher and pour the water from the pitcher into the sink.

10.  Use the towel to dry the inside of all the bowls and the outside and dry the pitcher as well.

11.  Return the tray to the shelf.

 

Purpose:

1.     Develops fine motor control

2.     Hand-eye coordination

3.     Attention span and concentration

4.     Develops ability to follow sequenced directions

 

Sorting Shells

15 months - 4 years

Steps:

  1. Collect an assortment of shells. Some should have similar attributes (color, shape, size) that they can be identified and discriminated by

  2. Arrange shells in a basket and invite the child to a rug

  3. Retrieve one shell from the basket and carefully examine it before handing it to the child to do the same. Place on left side of rug.

  4. Select a shell with a different identifying attribute and examine as before, allowing child to do the same and place to the right of previous shell.

  5. Continue on in this manner, placing shells that have matching attributes together in a group

  6. Once all the shells are sorted by size, color, or shape, gently replace the, one at a time to the basket and invite the child to complete the lesson by himself.

  7. Another day, sort the shells by a different identifier.

 

Purpose:

  1. Develops visual discrimination and ability to classify

  2. Develops concentration

  3. Attention to detail

  4. Fine motor and pincer grip essential later for pencil grip

  5. Stimulating interest and appreciation for nature


Easter Egg Matching

Age: 16 months-3

Purpose:

  1. Practice matching colors

  2. Develops fine motor skills by pulling apart and fitting eggs back together.

  3. Develops attention and ability to sequence and follow directions.

 

 

Steps:

  1. Arrange a basket with 6-8 Plastic Easter eggs, each opened so the halves are placed face down in a circle.

  2. Demonstrate to the child (with as few words as possible), one color at a time, how to place back together each top half with its matching-colored bottom.


Tonging Easter Eggs

Age: 16 months-3

Purpose:

  1. Develops fine motor skills and strengthens the muscles in the hand for future tasks such as holding a pencil.

  2. Develops focus, concentration, and ability to follow directions.

 

Steps:

  1. Arrange a tray with an egg carton with six Easter eggs in the top row as well as a pair of tongs.

  2. Demonstrate to the child how to hold the tongs and slowly, carefully pick up the first egg in the top left corner and place it gently in the bottom left corner of the egg carton.

  3. Do the same with the next egg and so on.

  4. Return the eggs one at a time from left to right back to the top half of the carton.

  5. To add interest for the child and help slow his movements you may wish to indicate how the eggs are making no noise as you place them carefully in their spot and challenge the child to see how quietly they can do it!