The coronavirus pandemic is showing no signs of waning any time soon. As is apt for any parent, we should be constantly vigilant in protecting our children from exposure to the virus.
What’s good is that lockdowns are enough to greatly minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19.
However, as these lockdowns are bound to be in place for a long while, we can’t overlook the activities that our children will be doing while they are in isolation.
A home will always serve as a child’s first learning environment, after all. All the more so for toddlers who are in their crucial developmental years. That said, what activities should you encourage them to do?
Admittedly, it can be very hard to come up with ideas if you are not an educator. At best, these activities should help engage them while providing the potential for learning.
As much as you should focus on academics, you should also pay attention to emotional, social, and physical development.
Well, if you want a solid recommendation, then you don’t need to look further than the Montessori-style of doing daily activities.
Why the Montessori Method Is Valuable During This Time of Prolonged Lockdowns
Principles like fostering children’s innate interest in the world, day-to-day movement, choice, and establishing order in their minds and the environment are central to Montessori teaching. These tenets are vital during the era of COVID-19 because they help ensure that our children will still be able to maintain their vital development as human beings.
For one, the attention to movement or how they conduct their daily physical activities negates plenty of the restricting effects of the lockdowns. A focus on ordering their mind, on the other hand, helps them cope with the lingering stress and anxiety brought about by uncertainty and the hovering presence of the pandemic.
And, of course, what responsible parent doesn’t want to enrich their child’s innate interest in the world?
Even in the confines of our homes, there is still a social microcosm that is well worth exploring. The same goes for choice, as it is a hallmark of freedom.
These are the reasons why Montessori learning is nothing short of vital in these times of crisis. Its methodologies are well worth following simply because of its holistic educational nature.
Fun Montessori-Inspired Activities You Should Encourage in Your Toddler
Once you decide to go the Montessori route when planning worthwhile activities for your toddler, we highly recommend you start with the following suggestions. Take note that there are literally hundreds of activities you can brainstorm or try out, but these five are the best ones that arguably fit in a lockdown scenario due to their direct connection to education.
1. Encourage them to help out in easy household chores.
This is an activity that ticks a lot of checkboxes in the Montessori method. By allowing them to help you do chores, you not only enrich their communication and expression skills but also gets them moving. Obviously, it also teaches them a whole lot about caring and empathy.
These can be simple chores like letting them hand you the tools for cooking and utensils for dining. You can also ask them to do easy cleaning activities like wiping the surface of tables, cleaning up spills, or gathering up the kitchen scraps to be thrown in the bin. Such tasks help them realize the value of caring for the environment.
2. Instill a habit of doing various physical activities.
While this is not exactly just a single activity, we opted to go the collective way because there’s a lot of physical activities you can introduce to your child. Plenty of activities you can do that do not need equipment or tools. The simple act of running, walking, or jogging if you have an outdoor area will suffice.
Otherwise, you can encourage them to try out exercises that will enhance specific aspects of their physical skills. These could be activities like balancing, jumping, and lifting, to cite a few. For example, you can choose to have them lift weighted bags that they won’t have a hard time handling.
3. Get their artistic juices flowing.
It can be any solid aesthetic activity like drawing, sewing, or painting, anything that will tweak their imagination. These are as vital to their development as mental and physical stimulation.
Doing these activities ultimately unlocks their natural talents, which do well to build their self-confidence over time. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do any of them, too.
Enhance their mathematical skills by doing finger plays, puzzles, clay modeling, among others.
Even setting the table or cutting fruits (with strict parental guidance, of course) should serve to enhance their numerical abilities. Also, there are plenty of puzzle toys available nowadays that are well-designed for toddlers. Clay modeling, on the other hand, also stimulates their creativity.
Another completely no-cost activity is fingerplay. You can teach him simple addition and subtraction this way. Otherwise, you can always just rely on counting beads and other similar educational toys.
4. Immerse in music.
If your child is showing a deep interest in learning to play a musical instrument, we highly recommend that you support the passion. Cymbals, drums, maracas, triangles are all instruments that can capture a child’s fancy.
Even singing will suffice most of the time. Or better yet, set a schedule for some quiet time together when you just listen to the sounds of your immediate environment. Help them identify which object or living thing produces the sound, for example.
We hope that you find our suggestions worth trying out. That said, by no means should you limit yourself and your child to them. You can even come up with twists of your own if you want. As long as you are aware of the main principles of Montessori education, you won’t have a hard time coming up with ideas.
Ultimately, you, as the parent, know what is best for your child. And as long as you’re willing to invest time in doing these activities with your child, you’re already halfway there.