Charlie has really, really enjoyed transferring things. He likes to take all of my shoes from one room and line them up in the kitchen, move all of his (and my) books off of our big book shelf into the floor, carry our clean laundry into the living room while I’m folding it… I’m sure this sounds familiar to parents of toddlers 🙂
The other day, I was organizing all of my school boxes while Charlie napped (the worst thing about changing jobs as a teacher — all of the stuff that comes home!). I almost finished, but I was still sorting through my huge art bin when Charlie woke up. I mentioned yesterday that he really enjoyed a transferring activity with large pom poms when he was just about a year old, and he noticed the sparkly pom poms in the photo above almost instantly. I put a handful in a small mason jar I had nearby (too many at first! Start with fewer so the child can successfully complete the task and keep the extras in a bin nearby for backups (: ).
I also had a strawberry huller from a stash I had bought for fine motor practice (for way cheaper than $4 each, but I wanted to link to one). I gave Charlie a lesson with the poms and tongs, carefully emphasizing how I was using the tongs to pick up the pom pom and place it in the next cup.
Charlie did not understand why he would use this weird, unfamiliar tool to move the poms when I could just use my hands. This is the same child who pretty much hates to use his fork, though he is capable of spearing food and feeding himself when he tries. I swallowed my pride and put the tongs away for later.
I also had a bag of floral gems nearby I had taken out of a sensory bin (from my classroom), and Charlie was so intrigued. He wanted to touch each one. I placed a few in the jar, which made a satisfying clinking sound, and he loved simply transferring the gems from one jar to the next. I did notice, after several minutes, he put one in his mouth, so I put these up so that he can only use them when I’m giving him 100 percent attention, and put the pom poms on the shelf (without the tongs) for transferring.
I noticed that Charlie started trying to pour the gems (and his W sitting! We’re working on it!), so the next step will be providing him with a pouring water or rice activity. Montessori Services has a nice selection, or you can borrow some ideas and recreate the sets with some objects from your home 🙂 When you set up a water pouring activity, just make sure you include a plastic tray (so you don’t mind if some spills) and a small sponge for cleaning up messes (you can cut up a regular kitchen sponge, but I’m trying to find a sea sponge I can cut up for Charlie because I love the way it actually grows larger!). You can color the water with food coloring or watercolors to make it easier to see, if you’d like. I need to find my big box of Montessori materials that has been in storage since we moved here, so I haven’t introduced this yet to Charlie. Let me know if you have any other tips 🙂
Also, I should note, that since these transferring activities are seen as preparation for handwriting, they would be done sitting at a table, and not sitting on the floor in front of the couch :), in traditional Montessori settings.