Thursday, January 6, 2011

Child Labor

errr, I mean Montessori-based preschool activities.  ;)

A big component of Montessori for preschoolers is teaching them about daily activities.  I have two books on Montessori and there are some good ideas in there:

I've discovered that even though doing chores with the kids takes about twice as long, it can be less frustrating.  Why? Because if they are actively engaged they are not going behind me making more messes while I am not paying attention. 
Gotta keep 'em busy or they will keep you busy, no?
This week I have been trying to kick my serious lack of motivation in this department by getting the kids involved.

Here are a list of chores you can do with the under 5 set. Please let me know if you have any new ones to add!  I am always learning (and forgetting) about new stuff to do with the littles.

Laundry - Toddlers can put laundry in the washer and push wet clothes in the dryer.   They can also scoop dry laundry detergent from a big container.  Oh and putting clothes in a hamper is great fun.  Preschoolers can fold simple items like washcloths and hand towels, hang small items on child-sized clothes line and match up socks.  My four year old can put away his socks and underwear in low drawer. 

Dishes - Toddlers can place clean silverware in a drawer sorter thing and load dirty silverware in the dishwasher.  Preschoolers can help hand wash dishes, set the table (with the help of a place mat guide... these are pretty, this is really easy), and clear their plate when they are finished.

Vacuuming - Could just be my kids, but using the hand vac is pretty much their favorite thing ever.  Close supervision and specific instructions are essential of course.

Sweeping Floors - They sell child-sized brooms and dust pans on Montessori sites.  I have also heard of cutting down a wooden broom handle is a more affordable option.  I don't have either, but I did take a section out of a swiffer to make it shorter. 

Straighting - In the afternoons I have the boys deliver all the wayward socks, shoes, coats, trash, etc from the living room to their respective homes.  We live in a rancher so this is quick.  The oldest loves racing around.  I think it's good for 'following directions' practice.

Other cleaning - A small spray bottle filled with water and vinegar cleans lots of surfaces.  With some guidance, little ones can clean windows, doors, mirrors... basically any hard surface.  Oh and they think feather dusters are a lot of fun. I just started teaching my 4.5yo how to clean a toilet and scrub out the sink. 

Things are not nearly as perfect as I would do them, not even close.  I figure I am trading perfection for teaching life skills.  And yes, some days I just do things on my own because it is easier and quicker.  I also try to keep all this very fun and matter-of-fact.  When they are in a bad mood and don't feel like doing it, I drop it.  (Forced chores will come then they are older. haha)

1 comment:

  1. In addition to teaching life skills and helping you keep your sanity, there are many developmental things that these activities teach as well:
    * clothespins = fine motor skills
    * silverware and laundry = sorting activities, matching, etc.
    * vacuuming = gross motor skills

    I love your post! Great ideas and perspective:)


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