I am not too crazy about the entire Montessori approach, but there are definitely some things that really work for our family, such as the practical life activities-
We really encourage the kids to be as independent as possible for their ages, from dressing themselves, cleaning up after themselves, pouring a drink, making a bowl of cereal... and this past Friday, my Little Einstein and Munchkin, who usually go out with daddy or watch a video while I cook, asked if they could help me cook for Shabbos-
So I asked them what they would like to help me make to which they answered, "chicken soup!"
Munchkin got a peeler and Little Einstein got a knife (not too sharp, but sharp enough to cut with) and the fun began! I gave them zucchini and carrots and they had a ball- and YES, I was completey supervising them and guiding them how to do it in a way that they wouldn't cut themselves:) But kids are so much more capable then we expect and it makes them feel so good about themselves that they did such 'adult' activities.
Today we were learning about Tu B'Av and how it is a special day on the Jewish calendar for Jewish boys and Jewish girls to get together and meet for potential marriage... so with that little discussion, we decided to make boys and girls out or Playdo- but not just any playdo... EDIBLE playdo:)
Here's the recipe, and its PER CHILD:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs wheat germ
I gave each munchkin a paper plate and put all the ingredients on each plate. They then used their hands to 'knead' the dough until it formed a playdo texture. Some kids needed a little more sugar or wheat germ to get the perfect texture, but it is SO easy.
They then made their little people, we went out to play and came back and ate them up for snack:) They didn't each the entire batch, but enjoyed what they did eat!
And last but not least, I made 2 charts today (which I laminated so I can reuse them over and over):
The first one is a "Negel Vasser" (hand washing) and Tooth brushing chart. I put their names on top of each chart and when they wake up in the morning, they know to go straight to the bathroom and wash hands, brush teeth and then they get to put a sticker on their chart. And before bedtime, after they brush teeth, put a sticker. Once they have completed 7 days of all 3 things, they get a prize!
It's a great incentive and they LOVE putting stickers on their charts and counting down the days. I tried uploading a PDF of each chart but couldn't quite figure it out- if anyone has any idea how to do that, please let me know!
Feel free to print this out and personalize it for your munchkins:)
THEN... now this is my magical chart:) our CLEAN UP chart for the playroom. Yes, yes, we are VERY blessed to have a big spacious playroom for our munchkins... but at the end of each day, it looks like a nuclear disaster.
I tried teaching them to put back each toy when finished playing with it, but I ran into 2 problems:
1- The munchkins play with alot of their toys together (Little Einstein will use blocks to build a train shed for his trains on his train tracks and legos to build bridges and Munchkin will put Menchies in cars and take them for rides on the car mat etc.) So they wern't just playing with ONE toy...
2- I found myself telling them to clean up ALL day and was getting a little tired of hearing my own voice:)
So this is my solution, which worked like a CHARM:
I printed out pictures of all their toys. Made a chart and at the end of the day, each munchkin stuck a picture of the toys (I use rubber cement to stick it) that they had played with in the column with their name in. Then they would put back each toy in its designated place and move the picture of that toy to the "All Clean!" column.
It was quick, easy and I didn't have to say a word. I made a "mom/friend" column for if mom played with them or a friend came over and needs to help clean up. I really hope it lasts and doesn't lose its momentum!!!! Feel free to print it for yourself if you think it will be helpful.
Wishing all a wonderful week,