You may have remembered that back in October I mentioned that Miss Oh Waily was cutting playdough with her small butter knife. Well I have finally managed to get her using this in a practical, real life way.
She has had bananas as her one of her snacks this week, and I have by some miracle managed to notice them when they are neither useful as offensive weapons nor ready for making into banana muffins. And in this household that truly rates as miraculous.
So for this week’s practical life activity Miss Oh Waily was given a soft but not mushy banana to cut up for her snack. Then she got to stab it with a toothpick and eat it. That added a nice bit of tripod encouragement for her fingers. As you can see in the photograph we had quite a bit of variety in the shapes and sizes of pieces cut. The aim was to have them a fair size for her to fit in her mouth.
Our regular practical life items have been worked on a bit harder over the past couple of weeks too. That would be the morning routine of brushing teeth, washing face, getting clothes, getting dressed and brushing hair. Miss Oh is doing really well, her only points of difficulty are opening the toothpaste* lid and pulling her trousers out and up over her bottom.
Then at night I have regularly started asking her to help set the table and clear the table afterward. (Just clearing her own plate and cutlery at the moment, the rest is just asking for trouble at the tired end of the day.) We occasionally get the knife and fork the wrong way around – but she wouldn’t be the only person I know who does that, and she has age as her excuse. Not too sure about the other person though.
On the sensory front I have just created a sand tub for her. Here’s the background to that, and a photograph of the offending items.
Lately I have been so tired† and lacking in concentration that I haven’t been following one of the most basic Montessori tenets – observing the child. This has led to frustration for all parties and a whole raft of issues that I don’t need to bleat to you about here. Suffice it to say I have finally figured out what daft things I’ve been doing on autopilot for the last little while and have managed to clear my head enough to make some fairly decent observations. Miss Oh has actually been showing me what she needs for a little while. I had just been missing the hints.
Some days I wonder how many times I have to relearn the basic ideas and actions.
One of the big hints was how successful the introduction of the new sandpit was. Luckily we managed to get it all done before all of the good weather packed its bags and headed off on holiday to the Northern Hemisphere.
It took far longer than I care to admit, but I finally got it. She is really in to texture and tactile experiences. She was and has been for some time, in to the texture of rice grains (and just about anything else I care to put out for spooning/transferring activities). Then there has been the constant companion of playdough. And now the texture of the sand. It’s all about touching them, molding them, running her hands through them and generally fiddling about with them.
Time to provide a sensory tub of some sort. What easier to start with than sand?
The weather has been iffy and that means no playing outside in the sandpit. So, I decided to bring it to her. Her cleaning tub is nice and deep. I tried to get a middle ground between too much (spills & cleaning) and too little (boring and no fun) sand. Hopefully I have it pretty close. Perhaps more sand since I can cope with the spills so far.
In addition to the basic set of egg cup, spoon and random scoop thing, I have also added a small, cheap strainer and half a dozen seaside themed beads (shells, seahorses, starfish) for her to sift and discover. It turns out that she just likes to play in it with her hands and the scoops are not of great interest. Not sure how the meerkat is coping with it all, however.
Now my challenge is to find the next sensory tub content. Stayed tuned for updates, there may be goop and goo involved.
* which is a bit of a blessing in disguise really since she is still a bit hit and miss over just how much toothpaste is actually necessary.
† Master Oh is still not managing to sleep through the entire night yet. And yes, this is wearing very thin. As is my patience, good humour, and eyelids.