I’ve been reading about things to do with my 2 year old to start focusing on learning during the day since we aren’t doing preschool until he’s 4. I’ve gotten ideas from lots of Montessori blogs, but some of it is just normal toddler activities. Here are some things he’s been enjoying and others that I hope to try in the future:
- Playing with stamps. We have letter stamps from Michaael’s and I draw something with the letter and he stamps near it
- Matching activities. I took photos of lots of his toys so we do matching of animals, trains, blocks, etc. We have done item to picture and picture to picture since I printed doubles
- Using tongs to put pom poms in a silicone ice mold
- Doing wooden puzzles
- Using beans to count on a few pictures I drew that have different numbers of circles
- Using paper “number rods” and putting them in different spots and running to each number
- Trying to “sew” with paper by threading it through a folder I cut slits into
- Making and playing with play dough
- Using scissors and tape
Things we plan to do include:
- Throwing balls at a target
- Making stamps out of potatoes
- Making our own paint
- Growing a carrot top in water
- Making a teddy bear parachute
- Playing a game where we run around and when I say “stop” we have to run somewhere specific
Jack helping at his learning tower
Parenting a toddler has been fairly challenging lately, and Jack is definitely getting more assertive with his choices and communicating it more. Our days have been involving a lot of mini tantrums where he gets upset that he has to put on a new shirt because his current one is wet, or we need to get in the car to drive somewhere but he wants to take a walk,
One thing that seems to help us a lot is following the Montessori idea of giving Jack as much freedom as possible and letting him help with our daily activities so he has a sense of control over more things. One of his favorite ways to help has always been in the kitchen. Getting a learning tower has been one of the best things we have bought. Jack loves to wash produce, transfer it from one bowl to another, or put things in the food processor and help turn it on. He is also more likely to get excited to try foods that he helps prepare.
Jack also helps with the laundry by putting the quarters in the slots (even though he likes to play with them so it takes way longer). He will also help move things into the dryer or carry some items back down the hallway for me. When I unload the dishwasher he will help with the non-pointy silverware, and he loves helping to clean up messes with a rag. Jack has also been enjoying turning lights off and on by himself and opening and closing doors. He likes to somewhat accurately water the plants too.
There are some activities he loves to help with so much that I have a hard time completing them; if I ever get out the swiffer while he’s around I have to wait quite a while until I can get a turn with it!
I am always on the lookout for board book that have realistic looking illustrations for Jack which is in the montessori style. I think that having really cartoon-y pictures might be confusing once kids see the animals in real life, and I also prefer books which are not too busy if possible.
- My and Jack’s favorite book is the animals one by bright baby which is a great company in general. Jack learned many of his animal noises from the real photos of animals on the pages. It’s also relatively long and has lots of different animals.
- Baby woof woof was one of our most read books as well. I liked the realistic photos and Jack liked that it was lift-the-flap style, and also that there was a picture of a ball which was his favorite object for a long time
- Even though Where is Spot is more cartoony than I would like, the animals look pretty realistic, and Jack really loved the easy to lift flaps that were easier for him than the woof woof book above. It’s also nice to help label household items and to show the concept of a mommy and baby dog.
- This first numbers book has realistic photos of different items and is lift-the-flap. I wish that two of the items weren’t a cupcake and candies, but Jack loves the balloon pictures. He also surprisingly loves to trace the large numbers.
- We got this set of 4 bright baby books for our airplane flight across the country and Jack enjoyed them because they are touch-and-feel. They also have basic photos of items he knows like balls, cars, cats, and dogs. They are each fairly short but are a cute set.
I think that when your kid is in the board book age, it makes sense to also get books that won’t be annoying to you as a parent, so I appreciated that these books had few words and no annoying rhymes that get stuck in your head or characters doing things that don’t make sense Since we have a lot of books about animals, I’m excited to take Jack to the local animal sanctuary sometime so that he can meet more animals in person!