Montessori, Practical Life

Activity of the Week: Cutting

This is actually multiple activities for this week, covering two versions of cutting.
Little Miss doesn’t have a long attention span yet, so spending lots of time on one activity is something we don’t quite manage.  This means that we try to do at least two activities a day and so far the favourites have been the button sorting game, the rice pouring game and the scissor cutting game.

This week we are revisiting the safe use of scissors, and adding in the safe use of knives for cutting.

Unfortunately our digital camera’s battery has been playing up and will not hold a charge anymore, so the images will be few and far between until this can be replaced.  I did manage to take some photos of her cutting activity before it died, so here is a look at the newest activity the Miss has been doing.

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Cutting Objects: Playdough

With the use of a small butter knife and very thinly rolled out playdough, we are starting to learn the actions required to cut things safely.  Naturally the knife is not razor sharp and doesn’t have any serrations at this stage of the process.  It is, however, still sharp enough to do this practise.
This idea is one of the Montessori Practical Life Skills, using playdough was our innovation.

First up, here’s the equipment:  a small butter knife, and some playdough rolled into small sausages.

The Equipment

After that we have some action shots of Miss OWW and her cutting technique.  Note that despite being over two years old, there is no definitive sign of hand dominance yet.  Miss OWW is left-leaning for some activities and right-leaning for others.  She often seems to want to do things left-handed but then finds herself passing objects off to her right hand in order to complete what she wants to do.  Perhaps she will take after her great-grandfather and be ambidextrous.  (My grandfather wrote with his right hand, but did all of his other tool work with his left. Mind you, he was brought up in the very early 20th century, so there is a chance that he was completely left-handed but forced to write with his right at school.)

The Blue Dough II

The Blue Dough – Lefty

The Blue Dough

The Blue Dough – Righty

The Red Dough

The Red Dough – Lefty

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The last photograph is a bit gratuitous since the process is obvious from the other two, but since I don’t have any images of Miss OWW with scissors in hand I thought I would throw in a freebie dough cutting one to tide us over.
Did you also notice that we have a degree of elegance in our cutting technique?  Take another look at the second cutting picture – see the pinky?  We might be eligible for tea with the Queen if she keeps that up.

As for the other cutting activity, I will show you what we are doing with scissors just as soon as the camera is back in working order.  Might be a week or so, depending on how accessible batteries are.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from everyone what they are doing with their little ones.

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