Thursday, February 26, 2009

Toys For Tots With A Twist

That was the rave catch phrase a few years ago. It fit my second oldest daughter to a 't' ~ my oldest? Not so much.

Many, many times in her growing up years I secretly and not so secretly lamented that I had not chosen a Montessori route for my academically challenged daughter. Schoolie she was not. Artistic and full of expression? Oh yeah.

As Keller came on the scene, my mind began entertaining the Montessori route once again. This time, I determined to educate myself and employ a great deal of the methodology to his burgeoning mind. Having read several books on the subject, I began early.

My morning Quiet Time and cup of coffee became my natural use of technique. Sitting the lad next to me, I would hand him a bowl and some dominoes; a basket and some lightweight plastic golf balls; a baggie and some chunky blocks. Happily, happily my little boy would play beside me, engrossed in his endeavor while I read my Bible.

In other ways, I added manipulative's and homemade unique items to his 'toy box.' Little did I know my horizons were about to expand exponentially! Having been turned on to a blog by a fellow Sonlighter, when my eyes fell on Carisa's colorful, exciting, in-depth, hands-on approach, I knew immediately I would be gleaning much from this woman.

Her choice to use trays for spatial recognition, and the table as a staging area propelled me at once to add these two elements to our day. I felt like I belonged on the infamous V-8 commercials, smacking my head for obvious missed components of reason and sound judgement!

At sixteen months, Keller is no slouch when it comes to tackling something new. I was confident that he'd cooperate . . . I was unprepared for his GLEE!

Not ready to head out shopping, I began by gathering items I already had in the house. Plastic container tops became my makeshift trays; checkers and counting rods two items to manipulate with. The results? FANTASTIC!

We began with the checkers. I separated the red/black into small, clear jars with pop on/off lids. I added two bowls and a see through glass to the tray.

Keller engrossed himself in the red checkers first. "Red!" I encouraged him (my very first color introduction with him!) He gingerly took the checkers out one by one, and added them to the glass. Before the session was over, he had successfully taken on/off and back on again the lids; poured checkers from the glass to the bowl; separated colors; and chattered with me throughout.

Because of the needs of my older children, I stopped forward motion with Keller, getting him down from the table. This act would prove the power of what I had just accomplished. Within twenty minutes, I had assembled tray number two, and began walking toward the kitchen with it. L'il Man saw what I was up to, and began vocalizing GREAT excitement . . .literally running to the high chair and begging me to hoist him up!

The counting rods proved to be less of a hit from my perspective, in part because he was most interested in throwing them. ~big grin~ Yet he did take interest in handling them for a short while. Long enough for me to see further value in the station and the spatial presentation.

We'll be doing much more in the days ahead. I'm preparing a shopping list, and looking forward to many more delightful Tot School days in the future. Care to join me? Follow Carisa at her wonderful, tasteful, informative blog. You'll be glad you did! :D


atara said...

You are an awesome Mom!

jmquilts said...

How fascinating and fun! What a sweet young man with a very special mom. (((hugs)))

dixiecup12 said...

Great idea! We use the same principle for Patrick's therapy. Kind of similar to Applied Behavioral Analysis techniques. You should look into it. You can totally use it to teach a typical child. Keep up the great work. So many parents don't even worry about teaching the babes. Our babies will always rise to and then surpass the challenges they are given. should look into the Your Child Can Read series....Keller can soooo do it.

mary grace said...

You sent that photo to Math-U-See, right? Tell me you did. :-)

knit1kids4 said...

I love this idea - and I love how she had it organized. I bet my three old would love this! Thanks for sharing

Andrea said...

Good ideas!!!

I will be using them with Aven!



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