When I first started we didn't have any trays so I used shoe box lids. The activities, or work, are supposed to look nice and appealing to the children, but we did the best we could do.
One of the first activities we taught the toddlers when we started doing more Montessori work with them, was the spooning. We used cotton balls to start. We were taught to show the children that they should work from left to right to prepare them for reading.
They are to take the spoon and transfer the cotton balls from the left to the right.
We also used pom poms.
At the Montessori we did color sorting with dyed pasta and different colored cups. Here we used colored pom poms and an egg carton.
I made this for Hannah and she was to fit the balls into the correct hole. Also works on object permanence.
Hannah also liked to put balls into a container and take them out.
The girls were taught to use tongs to transfer objects from one bowl to the other, again working left to right.
For further motor development I had them tong objects (noodles) into ice cube trays. For Tabitha this was also one-to-one counting.
When she was really young Amelia used her hands, which still helps to develop the pincer grasp.
The girls (and now Harold) all enjoy putting things into the cheese shaker.
Using toothpicks was lots of fun.
To extend this activity they threaded foam beads onto the pipe cleaners. I have also had them thread Cheerios onto them.
I also included bean tubs where they had to find the different beans and place them in an egg carton for more one-to-one counting.
Another early Montessori activity we taught the children was pouring. They learn to pour with little pitchers on a tray. I love that we are at home and the girls have lots of chances to help refine their skills in every day life, not just as an activity on a shelf.
For example, helping to cook in the kitchen.
I mean, we had this dustpan and brush activity on the activity table...
and I taught them to sweep using child sized brooms and tape on the floor for a visual reminder of where to sweep the dirt to...
but when we make a mess while helping cook in the kitchen, they get to clean up real messes.
These are several of our favorite Montessori type activities that help to develop their fine motor skills and practical life skills.
Don't miss any of the posts in my Teaching Toddlers series:
Tuesday: Teaching Toddlers Reading Readiness
Wednesday: Teaching Toddlers with Montessori Activities
Thursday: Teaching Toddlers while teaching older children
Friday: Favorite Resources for Teaching Toddlers
Don't forget to stop by the other crew member's posts to see what they have to share.