For over 100 years the Montessori Method of education has stood the test of time. Today, the method is only gaining in popularity.
Parents are now extending the Montessori principles and activities to their own home. Like many other parents I’ve found this method of teaching very valuable for my three year old with autism.
At-home Montessori activities are perfect for children with special needs like my own child because they are based on basic life skills.
Here are some of the at-home Montessori activities I’ve added to my son’s at-home preschool curriculum.
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First off, I am by no means a Montessori Mom Expert, nor do I pretend to be one! I love the concepts and principles associated with the Montessori Method and have implemented many activities to help my son with autism who struggles with speech and language development.
I’ve added in the following easy at-home Montessori activities into his daily schedule and have seen how he loves them and how they help his speech development in particular. While I try to “Montessori” as much as possible, I’m still just learning as I go!
First things first…
Before you begin at-home Montessori activities with your child, there are a few key principles you need to know to help your child find success with the Montessori Method.
- Respect is key
Respecting how your child learns and allowing them to learn through exploration and at their own pace is key for Montessori success.
- Focus on life skills
Much of the Montessori Method is centered around skills your child will need to use each day. Such tasks as cleaning up a spill on the table or placing items in their designated place teach your child responsibility and how to care for themselves.
Take the time to include activities that demonstrate how to do simple life tasks that match your child’s age and ability. For instance, show your child how to spray and wipe a window to clean it.
- Help your child find inner motivation compared to rewards
Many times as parents we help keep our children motivated through a reward system. If they do a task correctly they are rewarded with candy, stickers, or small toys.
But with Montessori, it is about teaching your child to find their inner motivation to learn and find pride in their accomplishments. You can do this by rewarding your child with encouraging words and verbal praise.
I’ve found applying this method to aid my son’s speech development has worked wonders. Offering him candy or stickers did not keep him motivated enough to use words for requesting everyday things.
- Place emphasis on organization
With Montessori, the whole home becomes a learning tool for your child. The best way to help your child learn is by keeping items at his/her level.
Since life skills are important in Montessori teach your child to explore their environment to find things he/she needs.
If your child wants a healthy snack, keep the snacks on lower cabinet and refrigerator shelves to make them easily accessible to your child. This helps increase their independence, responsibility, and self-care.
Although I try to keep this principle as best I can, it does become difficult with a child with autism because things like sensory bins cannot be left out. While I still let him pick between two different activities, those activities that make extra messes are put away on high shelving.
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At-home Montessori Activities
Now that you know some basic principles to help get your child started in the Montessori approach. Although there is an emphasis on teaching practical life skills, your home is filled with objects to teach math, science, language, gross and fine motor skills.
No need to break out your sewing machine! These are simple sewing techniques with no heavy equipment.
Sewing is a useful skill your child can use throughout their life. Teach your child how to thread a needle; push a needle through fabric; sew a button on a shirt and much more.
This teaches fine motor skills as well as incredible focus, concentration, and patience.
For children with special needs, there are Montessori sewing toys you can purchase that involve threading plastic string or cord through wooden objects or threading large wooden beads.
Here are some cute, fun, and easy lacing and sewing Montessori toys:
Yoga is perfect for your child to do between other Montessori activities. It aids gross motor skills and helps provide him/her with a sense of calm and well being. Organize a designated area with a yoga mat and yoga cards.
I’ve taken to doing yoga and Pilates lately and it’s now become a family affair. While my son can’t do some of the more complicated yoga moves, he loves to mimic some of the basic yoga moves I do like downward dog and cobra pose.
This task is similar to sewing, but a little simpler! To set up a bead stringing station, supply your child with craft string or pipe cleaners and let him/her thread Pony beads onto the string or pipe cleaner.
Bead stringing allows your child to get creative because he/she is not limited to beads. Try threading dried pasta on a shoelace!
Or get even simpler with bead stringing and opt for Wooden Animals, Fruits, and Vegetables Threading Beads
A pouring station is simply that- a designated station for pouring things! You can use a variety of items for pouring including:
-Dried black beans, kidney beans, pasta, etc.
This activity is perfect for increasing concentration and coordination. The downfall however is that it can get messy. But that’s how children learn best!
My kiddo loves colored rice in the pouring station with cups, bowls, ladles, and spoons. It helps boost his concentration, fine motor skills, and with colored rice he can learn to say colors out loud. (The biggest goal for my son is all speech development!)
For those with special needs children, it may be best to keep pouring stations or bins in cabinets or up on high shelving.
Supply your child with a spray bottle of all natural cleaner and a soft cloth. Teach him/her how to point and spray as well as the hand movements associated with washing things.
This at-home Montessori activity is great for getting your child to help with the laundry. Take a large pile of clothes and assign your child the task of matching socks by color and pattern (assuming your socks are not all white).
Related Articles: 14 Incredible Sensory Toys For Children With Autism
Jump rope is a high energy, gross motor developing activity to get your child moving any time of the day!
This is one of the best at-home Montessori activities for gross motor development to use as a breakup between other preschool or school activities.
Rhyme time is one of the at-home Montessori activities to help develop your child’s language skills!
All you have to do is find objects around your house that rhyme (doll/ball) then take turns creating rhymes for the objects.
Car wash is a sensory bin type learning activity involving a plastic bin or sink, toy cars, soap, a sponge or scrub brush, and a drying rag. All you need to do is combine all the objects and have your child “wash” them!
Here are some other items your child can wash instead of cars:
Fruit and vegetable cutting
Fruit cutting is an introductory life skill to teach your child how to use a knife (butter knife) to cut fruit and vegetables like bananas and carrots. This skill helps develop fine motor skills and focus and is one of the at-home Montessori activities that promotes the development of a practical life skill.
You can either prepare ahead of time by gathering fruits and vegetables that are soft to easily cut or purchase a wooden fruit and vegetable toy set with wooden knife. The play set allows your child the freedom to practice their cutting skills anytime they want!
There are two ways your child can paint: Finger painting or with paintbrushes.
While finger painting provides a great sensory experience, using paintbrushes helps build patience, concentration, and fine motor skills. It’s also an extremely creative outlet for helping your child express him/herself as well.
You can have your child paint whatever he/she wants or give your child the task of painting a scene. Then have your child explain the scene and tell you a short story about it. This will help your child release some extra creativity!
The Montessori Method of education can be started with the simplest of activities because it is the one education method that focuses on practical life skills.
Your child’s brain is like a sponge. He/she soaks up knowledge or new skills by observing and interacting with the surrounding environment.
There’s no need to enroll your child in a Montessori program. Your home is the perfect environment for teaching a variety of skills your child will use throughout life.
I’ve applied the above at-home Montessori activities for my special needs child with autism. The activities are easy to follow and teach him a variety of life skills. Plus the activities help improve overall development, especially with speech and language!