Great ideas are for sharing! Here are a few that I have stumbled upon over the years that can be found as you are picking up dinner tonight.
Any time we work with a mess, we use these flexible cutting boards. This gives the boys a portion that they are responsible for cleaning when they have finished their work. The Montessori method is known for holding children responsible for cleaning up their work, but I happen to be a stickler for a tidy house. I struggle with keeping my nose out of their enthusiastic and unskilled attempts. This solution is a win-win! While they are outside with a rag and a hose being responsible, I can quickly wipe down the rest. This allows them to feel completely capable and allows me to fix the dining room back to my standards. The ease with which everything is cleaned gives me the strength to let them experiment with many difficult mediums. Clay? Sure kids! Paint, glue and glitter? Go ahead! We can do this!
Shot glasses... Stay with me!
Shot glasses are the perfect spare homeschooling jar. They are small enough for those tiny hands to carry successfully, and cheap enough that any accidents are small affairs. There is less glass to track down, and it wasn't your fancy drinking glasses, so it is easier to respond from a place of patience. The Montessori method espouses using glass containers where possible, but Montessori supply stores come with a heftier price tag than grocery stores. Around here, they serve as paint palettes, transfer toys, containers for sorting works and counting works, and beginning glasses for training babies how to use a cup. They are as versatile as your imagination allows.
Next up in the list is more of a category. Tiny food can serve as the ingredient for most of your play based homeschool curriculum when your child is young. Homeschooling pre-kinder and kindergarteners shouldn't take much of the day anyway, so allowing it to coincide with snack time works out well. Have your child build their sight words out of seeds, make shapes from small marshmallows and tooth picks, or count and add goldfish, Cheerios and raisins. When they have finished with their work, you can read a story and they can snack on their materials.
Colanders, measuring cups and small spatulas are much loved around this house too. Every month or so I swing by the home goods section to see if they have something new we need in our collection. I have watched closely over the years and I can attest to the Montessori insistence that children prefer real equipment to toys. Our mud kitchen has held both adorable plastic tea kettles and old used pots and pans. These Sweet Joys choose to work with real materials every time. If you are looking to add open ended play to your homeschooling experience, start here!
How about you? Have you ever found a favorite toy at the grocery store? Or some indispensable homeschooling item? Let me know below!
I hope our journey inspires your own,
Buckets and Berries