You might be thinking, “Oh this is a nice and easy DIY activity, but how will I know if my child will like it?” Or better, “How does this help my child learn how to read?” If those questions resonate for you, I’m glad you’re here!
Maria Montessori used the term, “Follow the child.” Essentially, teachers observe students closely and note the child’s interests, and skill level. After, with his/her trained eyes, its the teachers job to either follow up the child’s interest by introducing a similar activity in order to help build on the interest or introduce them to an activity that is at their level with an element that is enticing.
Without knowing this, you do this already when you’re shopping for gifts for your child however go deeper. Ask yourself, “Is it the color, the action, the item that appeals to my child?” Digging deeper will help you understand your child and help you create activities that will lead you to greater successes when you’re trying to capitalize on their interests to best maximize learning. It’s not easy but once you get the hang of it, it can be addicting as it is extremely rewarding to watch the excitement and learning unfold.
You may have seen variations to this activity. It is a popular and often shared as a sensory activity, but this post will stand out as it is designed to help children learn how to read. I know, that notion sounds insane. Give me five sentences to explain. Before a child learns the sounds of the ABC’s, they must be able to hear sound differences. I refer to this as ‘ear training.’ In the educational world, this is referred to as Phonemic Awareness. The more practice your child has with this skill, the stronger the reader they will become. Phonemic Awareness without getting too technical involve skills such as, hearing sounds, hearing differences in sounds, counting syllables, combining sounds and joining the sounds together to make a word and identifying and making rhymes. This particular Montessori Inspired activity is learning how to match sounds.
Can a 1 year old match sounds? Nope, but they’re learning that if they shake the egg, they can make and produce sound. They’re indirectly learning rhythm, the action of shake, Fine Motor work of grasping using their whole hand (this leads to learning how to use scissors) and exploring sound differences. The child with ample practice and understands the concept of matching around age 2.5 may begin to understand. The ideal time/window as Maria Montessori would suggest is 3.5. She created sound cylinders and they are by far one of my favorite and most ingenious activities she’s created. The one year old who participates in this activity will hopefully see this again a year later and by then will have the skill set to match the sound. The familiarity is indirectly preparing them for that perfect moment when they show readiness to match sounds. It’s “Hey, I’ve seen this before. I can do it!”
True to following Montessori teachings, I followed my twins when I created this activity. We attended a workshop last week and in the classroom was an activity with Easter eggs. Each egg were filled with items with cards to match. The learner had to shake and match the sound according to the items in the eggs. My boys were thrilled by them. I think they enjoyed the shape, the action of shaking and producing sounds. They enjoy music and dancing so this activity appealed to their interests and need. I knew after watching them, this was an immediate must!
A few days later, I gathered supplies and five minutes later, I created an activity that appealed to their interests and is purposeful. My kids are having fun and are clueless to the fact that this will help them learn to read!
Here’s the quick steps:
1) Try to buy Easter eggs of one color (you’ll want to do this so the focus is on the sound, not the color)
2) Gather pairs of items to insert into the eggs. Try to go for larger items so if the egg breaks you’ll have less of a choking hazard.
3) Insert the items and seal with tape
This will take you less than 10 minutes to make!
I bought the eggs on clearance last year for .25 and used items found in my home. My boys are 13 months and were thrilled! They pranced around our home with an egg shaker in each hand. I selected items with different weight in hopes that the sound produced would be different from one another. For twenty-five cents and joy, I’d say this was a definite hit!
Find me on Instagram for a video lesson. My YouTube page is in the works. I hope you feel inspired and I hope you begin to see the rewards in your efforts by the excitement and joy when your child either matches the sounds or shakes to make sounds!
Thank you for stopping in!