Over the last few months, I have taken notice of Monkey beginning to explore his surroundings in ways that are much more thorough than ever before. While he is moving quickly from place to place with new walking skills, he is also slowing down and taking notice of the many details, both large and small, all around him.
As these changes have occurred, I’ve found myself searching for more meaningful and helpful activities to encourage this explorative time. Please chime into comments and share other activities if you have them!
1) Walks: When we go for walks now, Monkey tends to be outside of the stroller for a good portion – practicing walking; sitting on the ground to pick up seeds that have dropped from a tree; touching flowers and leaves, etc. I am sharing this video below of us walking together this week. I’ve noticed that Monkey seems to feel more confident when carrying some sort of toy or has a pull toy along for the stroll:
2) Sound makers: He is so intrigued with anything he can create music or sounds with. Our music player has been on the fritz for a while, but we have been putting out instruments for him to play with lately and I it is obvious he enjoys this immensely!
Music Activities: I love this idea! Since he was a tiny little guy, we have brought Monkey out to the back yard to explore the various wind chimes hanging up.
3) Reading: Monkey has loved books and being read to right from the start and this hasn’t changed a bit. He will sit and look through board books on his own or will gladly curl up in our laps to read him a short story.
It troubles me that so many children in this day and age are not at all interested in reading and I know that reading to your children plays an important role in influencing a like for reading so it is something that is important to Josh and myself to do. When I hear a child or even an adult say that they don’t enjoy reading, I will usually follow up by asking if they read with their family growing up. The answer is usually no. The list of benefits for childhood reading is long and impressive – it helps with speech development; enhances vocabulary; provides the opportunity to bond; and teaches children that reading is fun.
4) Talking and Sharing Information: Aside from reading, the other thing I keep reminding myself to do daily is to talk to Monkey as I do even the most mundane of daily chores when we are together. As I recently read through these suggestions below posted on the How We Montessori blog to aid in encourage language development, I was reminded that even the most basic everyday actions can turn into learning lessons:
- name body parts when dressing and washing
- name foods as we prepare and eat them
- name other objects as we use them (clothes, tools, toys)
- name people and places
- read through our photo book and name our friends and family
- name objects that he brings to me such as “flower” or “stick”
- name our experiences like “rain” and “wet”
- describing actions, what we are doing or about to do
- ask questions, give commands
- encourage him to interact and converse with a wide range of people.
5) Opening & Closing: Click on the link to see this simple, wonderful activity that I am looking forward to putting together for Monkey to explore very soon!
I have been finding so many fun things to start introducing to Monkey when the time is right. Since I don’t often have the time to put together a full blog post, I have been saving quite a bit of these on my Pinterest board “for the kiddos.”
I hope you will check them out and share any other ideas with me here!