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25 Things You Can Cook with Kids Under 6! 0

Cookingwithkids

The idea of cooking with kids can be stressful! The mess, the time, the possible disasters!

But once you give it a go... it is soo much fun! Since my son was fifteen months old we have had him involved in the kitchen and in cooking food, when he shows interest.

He started with washing leaves, then tearing them up for tacos, and we are now at the stage of showing him how to bake.

Here are twenty five recipes you can cook with kids under 5! 

1/.   Tacos - tomatoes need dicing, cheese needs grating, lettuce shredded

2/.   Quiche - cracking eggs, dicing ham, grating cheese

3/.   Making Pasta - cracking eggs, sifting flour, rolling dough, putting through the machine!

4/.   Fruit Skewer Snacks - Washing fruit, Dicing fruit, threading onto sticks

5/.   Cookies - Measuring ingredients, mixing, dividing and squashing them :D

6/.   Pizza - Measuring ingredients, rolling dough, cutting ingredients, grating cheese

7/.   Chicken Nuggets - Cracking eggs, rolling breast in crumbs

8/.   Lasagna - Cutting ingredients, grating cheese, measuring, layering 

9/.    Toasties - Cutting, spreading butter

10/.   Salad - Cutting, dicing, shredding, washing

11/.   Making Bread - sifting, measuring, mixing, rolling dough, baking

12/.   Meatballs - measuring, dicing, grating, cracking eggs, mixing, diving, rolling

13/.   Smoothies - dicing, peeling, measuring, blending

14/.   Bacon and Scrambled Eggs with hash browns - cracking eggs, mixing, measuring, grating potatoes

15/.   Fried Rice - dicing, measuring, cracking eggs

16/.   Hummus with veggie sticks - slicing, cutting, washing, blending

17/.   Pie - Measuring, mixing, rolling, dicing, baking

18/.   Making Butter - measuring, mixing, pouring, spreading

19/.   Pretzels - Measuring, mixing, rolling, cutting, TWISTING :D

20/.   Porridge - Pouring, mixing, using the microwave

21/.   Bangers and Mash - Sausages with mashed potatoes. Get the little ones scrubbing them, and those capable, peeling and cutting them up!

22/.    Ice Blocks - dicing, slicing, peeling, blending and freezing!

23/.   Crackers with cheese and tomato - Slicing, spreading

24/.   Ice Cream - pouring, mixing, more FREEZING!!

25/.   Soup - cutting, dicing, mixing, pouring, boiling

 

 

Why Montessori is for all children… 0

My son is currently 4, and is lucky enough to be attending a Montessori School here in Australia. It is a bit of a drive from our house, and with another baby on the way, it was a drive my husband and I were worried wouldn’t be viable next year.

I have been looking at different Education systems for the past three years for my work, however only this year have I had to look at it from personal circumstances with my own child. 

In Australia we have the Public School System, Catholic Education and Independent Schools, with Montessori schools falling under the latter.

I have visited schools in all of these categories, looked at our local options and been blown away at how little has changed in the 25 years since I started at school. Behaviour systems that endorse public shaming, very little concrete learning, and everything becoming digitalised. Interactive white boards, and ipads being spruiked like it’s the best thing in the world. In both situations I’ve left with my heart and head hurting at the thought of all these children missing out on the Montessori method of education. 

When researching Montessori at the start of your journey, you may read things like ‘Montessori is not for boys, ASD children can’t do Montessori, Montessori is too structured, Montessori is too free, and so on and so forth’. 

After three years of running classes, observing schools, managing centres and talking to parents, I strongly believe Montessori is for EVERY child. 

The prepared environment, the individual lessons and materials with isolated concepts, the way the Educators speaks to students, the structure of the work cycle; everything that happens in a Montessori school, happens because it’s proven to work. Science shows this is how children learn, this is what makes them happy.

And because this is how CHILDREN learn, whether they are auditory, visual or tactile learners, the equipment speaks to all of them and draws them into want to learn, inviting them to play.

As Maria Montessori stated ‘Play is the work of the Child’. Children play in a montessori environment, it is just not what society typically pictures play to look like. When we hear ‘play’ as adults, we envision children running around loudly, toys everywhere, dirt and no structure. This is a version of play, however so is the calmness and focus in a Montessori classroom. It is a version of play that children crave. Their developmental need for a sense of order, for repetition and freedom in choices. Their need for boundaries and for uninterrupted time.  All of this is in a Montessori setting, and for over a century, all over the world, it’s WORKED.

Boisterous boys who could never sit still, or created chaos wherever they went can sit for almost an hour straight building a tower out of ten pink cubes. Children who couldn’t focus on anything for more than a minute, sit there for hours, day after day, pouring water from cup to cup, spooning beans from bowl to bowl with a calmness and beaming face like you’ve never seen before.

I see children bouncing out of the car, running to class, bursting with excitement to start their day. I see children not wanting to leave the classroom at the end of the day because they want to keep playing. I hear children helping younger children, whilst two others are sitting at the Peace table sorting out their conflict better than many adults I know can.

Until you have really observed, really seen Montessori in action, I promise you, you won’t believe me. I also promise you, that the moment you see your child’s face light up and look towards you with pride and such happiness after completing work from one of the shelves, you won’t be able to look at Education the same way again.

I know globally, it is extremely hard for services to keep up with the demand for Montessori, which makes access to a school difficult, starting a centre difficult with a lack of trained teachers available. I know that in some countries it is extremely expensive to attend a Montessori School and then there are some centres that are just not Montessori.

As a parent, I feel the pain and I know how hard it is to make decisions about a future we cannot predict, amidst the busyness of our own lives that are over-scheduled, hectic and overwhelming. 

But as the world changes, and technology shifts the way we function, the way we work and live; as environmental impacts come to light, and the world seeks new solutions, there has never been a more important time for creative, innovative, motivated citizens than right now.

Dr Maria Montessori designed her method of education to ensure students would become contributing members of society. The only education method that provides this holistic opportunity is Montessori, and the world needs it more than ever.

Nothing is more important than education. With education, we can change the world. But the world has moved on, and the system remains the same. 

Its time for change; it’s time for an education revolution.

Yes, we are the most expensive FDC scheme in Queensland... 2

Out there amongst society, Family Day Care is seen by most as the ‘cheapest form of child care’. Amongst other misconceptions are that its unregulated, dodgy, inflexible, just babysitting. There are some of these types of services, but many are pretty good.

We started I AM Montessori Family Day Care for two reasons:

  1. We believe that Family Day Care is the best form of care available, especially for children under 3. Because of this, we never aimed to be the cheapest option available. We wanted our Educators to earn what they are worth, for families to have access to high quality Montessori education in well resourced environments whilst providing a service to Educators that was professional, timely, and supportive.

When we say professional – we don’t want educators en mass. We want high quality, dedicated professional who love what they do and love Montessori. We want Educators who are continually working towards being better. They themselves, never stop learning. 

When we say timely – we mean in our communication, in our visitations, efficiency in everything we do. We also mean up-to-date systems and functions that incorporate people and technology to run an effective scheme, maximising the support output we can give our Educators.

When we say supportive – we mean in all areas. Not just with the paperwork side, meeting the minimum legal requirements and coordinator visits on the absolute minimum. We mean monthly one on one meetings, monthly PD’s on relevant topics, quarterly Montessori training sessions and heavily discounted resources. We offer a toy library and in depth monthly themed curriculum with family excursions to give the concrete learning experiences.  We collect all money and do all invoicing to families. You get paid Weekly and can spend your time concentrating on the children. We provide conferences and events throughout the year Educators can attend including an all expenses paid Christmas Party (sans children). We offer free anonymous counselling for our Educators with a qualified third party supplier so they always feel they can talk to someone, personally or professionally.

 

  1. To give families access to high quality Montessori services instead of getting stuck on a waiting list for three years.

 

92% of the positions we have available for our Educators are FULL, even though many of them are the most expensive Family Day Care provider in their area. This is because we don’t focus on the price to compete in the marketplace. We focus on quality. We focus on maintaining the health and wellbeing of our Educators so that they remain happy and motivated, thus ensuring all children in care are receiving the BEST possible educational opportunities and nurturing care out there.

Too many people try to market their service as only $7 an hour, or open however many days and hours families are demanding out of fear of losing business. Six months later, if not earlier, they end up burnt out, unhappy and working in a business they never signed up for, earning an extremely low hourly rate that doesn’t match the minimum wage.

Family Day Care is a business. When you approach starting your own, look at it from this angle. Its not a hobby, or just a thing to make a little extra money whilst my kids grow up (though this is a great reason to start). It deserves to be run like a business, with you as the central point in your planning, as a Professional Educator.

Once you have that right, then wait and take only the customers that suit your business for what it is. Don’t let them create it for you.

We don’t take on every Educator that contacts us, or that we visit and if your first question is about fees, we know the relationship isn’t going to work.

We are okay with being seen as too expensive, because we feel the service we offer is worth every cent, and so do the Educators that are with our service.

If you truly want to deliver a strong Montessori program, to become a professional in your field, earning what a professional should get paid then give us a call and look beyond the first question of “What is your Levy and Educator Fee?”.

We won’t take on more than 40 Educators, and we don’t just take on anyone. You need to have the Montessori heart, and a professional outlook. This is what Family Day Care is all about. This is what the children deserve.

Our fees are $1.50 an hour/per child for families and only $13.50 a week for Educators. These fees are currently the highest which will change in July 2016 as other schemes put their fees up. Our fees will stay the same until June 2017 at which point we should pretty much be on par with everyone else, in price only.

 

07 3848 2391

info@iammontessori.com.au

Phonics versus “Look Say” or “Whole Word” method in teaching reading and writing.  2

The English language is based upon 26 individual letter sounds or “phonemes”. Their are combinations of the letters that when combined create new sounds of course. Reading and writing English was traditionally taught using a phonetic approach. This means, children would be taught the sound to say each time they looked at a symbol (eg h or t). The beauty of this phonetic system of learning to read and write is that power is given to the child to then use this knowledge of individual phonics to decode any word they encounter. Essentially, the words and vocabulary you can acquire when you have a strong knowledge of phonics is potentially endless. Children are able to decode unfamiliar words by remembering the phoneme that matches each letter in the word. The Montessori method teaches reading and writing using this phonetic system. 

The other method of teaching children to read and write that has become popular in the USA is the “Look Say” method. This was introduced and championed by John Dewey, (the same man who brought us the Dewey Decimal System that we use to catalogue books in our libraries).

The “Look Say” method is an approach that teaches children to read and recognise whole words. For example, a child may be shown the word “cat” on a flash card and is told,  “This says cat”. The child, over time, then learns that when they see the symbol (cat), they are to say the word “cat”. Essentially, the Look Say method treats the English language as if it were Chinese. The Chinese written language is a Logographic language, meaning there are thousands of detailed symbols that represent individual words. The failure is however, that the English language is supposed to be a phonetic script. When we fail to teach children phonics properly, and if we teach them using the whole word approach, they are required to memorise thousands and thousands of words by rote and are incapable of decoding new words they come across independently. Instead of their brain having to remember only approximately 26 letters and their matching phonemes, children who are taught the Look Say method have to use their memory space to remember each and every word as a symbol. 

This can also have the effect of drastically reducing a child’s vocabulary because they have no way of decoding new words they have not been explicitly taught to recognise. 

Many educators in America blame the widespread use of the Look Say method in American schools as the reason behind the increasingly declining literacy and numeracy rates in the USA. 

Written language has always been a tool for human kind to express their thoughts and record their beliefs and history. The phonetic approach to reading and writing enables children to have the power to use language to express their own ideas, expand their vocabulary and read new words independently. 

Why We Do Monthly Themes 0

In many Montessori classrooms around Australia and internationally a part of the day will be dedicated to ‘circle time’ or group time. Every environment’s group time or circle time will be conducted a different time of the day. Some schools don't do circle time at all.

During circle time different topics will be discussed and presented to the children. Topics will vary from seasons to our families to the farm to North America to dinosaurs and many more. There is an endless list of possible themes that can be done but the choosing of topics will depend on the class age, maturity and ability to retain information.

The length of the themes that the topics are discussed depends upon the themes itself, for example the North American theme contains lots more than the families theme. It also depends on the children in your environment and their particular interests at the time. 

At I AM Montessori we create monthly themes for our educators to use in circle time or group time. We have learnt about food, Dinosaurs, Seasons, Occupations and even 'The Gift of Giving'.

In our monthly themes we discuss facts about the theme during circle time! We always include printouts, activities for the Montessori shelves, group activities, songs and stories relating to theme chosen!

Monthly themes in our classrooms help to develop the interest and knowledge of the child. By having monthly themes in our classrooms we demonstrate to children all about the world around us and the world we live in! Most children don’t realise that there is a bid world around us, they are egocentric, meaning that they only see the her and now and they only ‘their world’!      

By implementing monthly themes in our classrooms we try to broaden their horizons with different topics!

Monthly themes can be chosen according to a number of different aspects. For example, the child’s interests at the time, what’s happening around the world at a particular time (e.g. earthquake, dinosaur exhibition, season of summer), or what’s happening in a child’s life (e.g. starting primary school or a new baby in the house).

Themes can be as big as North America or a smaller topic like clouds!

By doing monthly themes we are hoping to instil a love for that subject and for the child to extract and retain as much information as they can about all the themes!

If the theme is delivered correctly any child should take away some learning from it! 

By doing important global topics such as the continents we hope to spark awareness of the world we live in! By delivering a theme of the solar system we hope to develop an understanding of planets, stars, our planets and the larger aspect of the world we live in. By doing a theme about trees we hope to enhance a child’s love of nature and to develop and enhance a respect and love for nature!

Monthly topics help to keep both the educators and the children stay focused during circle time and maintain educators and children excitement about our world!

Why Montessori is ruining the Australian child care industry... 2

All over the country, people in the ECEC sector are screaming and pulling their hair out asking "Why montessori?". There is conversations about how montessori is ruining intakes in mainstream centres and services, how every parent seems to be ceasing care to go to a montessori service.

Montessori is single handedly ruining Australia's ECEC sector... well ruining society's 'norm'.

Parents are choosing montessori services because the philosophy aligns with how they parent, with how they believe education should be for their child, because the method prepares them for a world we don't know about yet. Parents want what the normal sector can't give.

EYLF is heavily 'montessori aligned', but it's actually not the same. Just because you align to the EYLF does not mean you are basically the same.

Montessori is more than just child led learning and nature. Montessori is highly detailed and takes hours of preparation, months of in depth training to really understand how a classroom in a montessori service actually works. The amazing detail behind everything that is put into that environment.

It is not just about jumping on Pinterest, seeing something that has Montessori placed on it, making it up, putting it on your shelf and saying its montessori.

As an Educator in a montessori service, you are continually asking Why? What is the purpose? Where is the control of error? What is the isolated concept?

From the size and type of jug used in a pouring activity to the type of crayon chosen for an art tray. Every little detail is questioned and fine tuned so that it meets the complete need of the child.

Those children are observed with such a skill that only ongoing development and training can provide, and every tray and job on the shelves is created for the children in that class, at that time.

EYLF is a step in the right direction, but it's not montessori.

Three years ago I charted and predicted the montessori movement in Australia, and it has continually met every expectation I have had. I was just a parent with a twelve month old child, who saw what parents wanted, and noone in the ECEC sector was providing, fast enough.

The reason Montessori will ruin the ECEC sector as we know it, is because it's not just about the first six years of life, it's about life. It's a way of life, in and outside of the four walls we traditionally know as a classroom.

The movement was here before Prince George enrolled. The amount of Montessori Long Day Care centres with waitlists, the amount of new centres opening, and the huge Family Day Care movement proves that supply is coming for that demand and those who do not take the parents of today's children seriously will be left behind.

Out of all of the 'alternative' forms of education, Montessori has the strength to become mainstream due to its commonly recognised areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, Language and Culture. Every parent gets to a point in their child's life where they can go with the grain of society, or go with their gut and choose what their heart believes is right. This difficult decision is easier when you investigate montessori and see the words 'maths' and 'language' as these two areas are drilled into us by society as being extremely important.

This is why Montessori, rather than Reggio or Steiner will become the philosophy parents choose. It is more comfortable to be able to see those areas in the curriculum, even though the holistic approach is the key.

Just wait and see what the sector looks like in 24 months... 

Montessori is the future of Education, and Maria Montessori saw that over a century ago...

Mathematics in Montessori 0

What is Mathematics?

“The laws of Nature are written in the language of mathematics.. the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word”. Galileo Galilei

Maria Montessori understood that mathematics is a language we use for interpreting and understanding the the world around us. She realised that mathematical concepts need to be first absorbed through the senses before children can abstract mathematical information.

For this reason the  Montessori mathematics curriculum moves from concrete experiences to increasingly abstract representations. Before children are asked to learn symbolic representations of numbers and memorise number facts and rules, they should first be immersed in a myriad of sensorial experiences with numbers. In the Montessori classroom, the sensorial curriculum prepares children for later abstract work with numbers.

When using the sensorial materials children experience various dimensions and shapes and relationships between these. The materials isolate one concept and are self correcting and encourage independence and problem solving. Each sensorial piece of equipment is designed using the base ten system. Children need to know numbers to ten to work with the decimal system. 

As children work with the materials they unconsciously absorb the relationships between numbers one to ten. When a child works with the red rods for example, the tenth rod is ten times longer than the first. When they work with the pink tower, the smallest cube is 1cm3 while the largest is 10cm3.

The exactness of the materials allows children to make their own mathematical discoveries. When using both the green and yellow sets of knobless cylinders children can create the rainbow number facts to ten.

As children progress through the mathematics curriculum they are gradually introduced to the symbolic representations of number. Children work with operations with numbers and also use the materials to help memorise mathematical facts.

What are the Key Montessori Materials? 0

The Montessori curriculum is a scientific based curriculum. Each resource and material has been made during Maria Montessori’s time studying the children in her Casas. In the 3 – 6 prepared environment the classroom and the materials are divided in five sections. The five sections are practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics and culture. The practical life area contains activities on trays and baskets that teach the child life skills, for example sweeping, pouring, chopping and how to hold a book. The sensorial section works on refining the senses. The senses are visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory, baric, thermic and stereognostic. The language section begins with teaching stencilling and pincer grips, next teaches all the letters in a phonetic and tactile way before moving on to the pink, blue and green language series and finishing with grammar. The mathematics section begins with teaching works all the way up to multiplication, division and even long division. The culture section covers everything from botany, zoology, biology, geography, astronomy and history.

In all of the above sections there are very famous and memorable materials used to teach the concepts.

One of the most famous material is the pink tower. If you google Montessori, pick any link or website and the words ‘pink tower’ will appear very quickly. The pink tower is in the visual discrimination area of the Sensorial section. It works on the concept of height discrimination. There are ten cubes each differentiating in size of 1cm cubed. The biggest cube is 10cm cubed and the smallest cube is 1cm cubed. The children make a tower, using the biggest block on the bottom and working up to the smallest cube on the top of the tower. This is always a favourite in the classroom and gets used every single day! http://www.iammontessori.com.au/search?q=pink+tower

Another key Montessori Material is the Movable Alphabet. This is used in almost all of the exercises in the Language section. It is a box with 26 sections in it and 4 or 5 of each letter in the boxes. It is usually wooden but can sometimes contain plastic letters. Letters are used to spell out words. We use it all the time and it means that every child can be ‘writing’ words even if they struggle with pincer grip and pencil work.  http://www.iammontessori.com.au/search?q=movable+alphabet

The culture section contains puzzles of the world, the continents, and the countries. These begin with the sandpaper globe and coloured globe. We then do the world puzzle, move onto the different continents and then move onto the countries. For example, we do the world puzzle, move onto the Puzzle of Asia and then move onto Map of China. When teaching geography, we begin with the biggest and move onto the smallest. We teach the solar system, then the earth, then the continents, then the countries and then the towns in that country etc. http://www.iammontessori.com.au/collections/cultural/products/puzzle-map-of-ocean

The mathematics section is famous for the golden bead materials. The beads are used throughout the section. They start with one bead which represents a unit, a ten bead bar which is ten beads, a hundred square which is one hundred and a thousand cube with is one thousand. They children are introduced to the beads and explained what they mean and the different hierarchy and placement of numbers before they are shown the written symbol for each bead. Beads can be used for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and for learning numbers, for example 64 has six ten bead bars and 4 units. http://www.iammontessori.com.au/products/45-golden-beads-bars-of-10-w-box

In the infant and toddler prepared environment the most popular materials are the imbucare boxes. These are posting boxes with different 3D shapes to be placed in the boxes. http://www.iammontessori.com.au/products/imbucare-box-w-large-cylinder

All Montessori products are available on www.iammontessori.com.au in the ‘shop’ section.

 

Freedom, Creativity and Imagination… where did you go? 0

How is creativity and imagination fostered? 

I was very lucky to receive piano lessons whilst I was growing up. The teacher I have the fondest memory of was a teacher who would record songs for me on a tape each week and ask me to listen to this tape over and over at home. My homework each week was to learn the songs by ear and come up with a new melody or chord structure. I LOVED learning music this way. 

Unfortunately, we did not stay with that piano teacher very long because my parents were afraid that I was not “really learning music”. (As Mum and Dad were not particularly musical themselves they were worried that I wasn’t reading the notes as much as I should have been). Now I am a professional musician (who did learn to read the notes eventually anyway), and I realise the gift that this teacher gave me and helped me develop. She inspired me to be creative and to imagine. She taught me to use my own knowledge to create new ideas. She gave me a little and then gave me the time to create a lot. Through these lessons I learnt to ponder, to choose and to refine my work. She let me feel that I was capable of coming up with my own ideas and that these were valued.  

This is the most constructive creativity - the opportunity for people to develop and explore their own ideas in whatever mode or medium they feel passionate about. 

I spoke recently with a Primary School teacher from a school on Brisbane’s north side who explained that a child in her class had recently told her that, “I used to have a fun time in preschool but now here it is just hard work”. The same teacher received other similar negative comments from her young students who all felt that there was nothing fun anymore. Some parents even let this teacher know that their children had started pretending they were sick on the days that the teacher had scheduled tests. Needless to say, this Early Childhood Teacher who has been teaching for the past ten years was heartbroken. One, because her students felt such stress and unhappiness in her environment, and two because she did not have the flexibility at her particular school to change her pedagogy to suit her students, even though she wanted to. This teacher said to me, “There is no time in our planning for creative work anymore. We don’t have time for art, we don’t have time for exploring the children’s interests”. She also related a story to me from the previous day: She had asked the children to write CVC words in their books. One little boy had written the first word down (cat), then next to this word he had started drawing a beautifully detailed cat complete with whiskers! She told me; “I just let him do that instead because I saw that for the first time in the whole day he looked pleased. He was concentrating and working tremendously hard on his creative work. He was enthralled because this picture was coming from his heart. 

Perhaps the children in her class felt school was “just hard work” because it was exactly that. The children were not given any opportunity to develop their own interests or use their own imagination. 

Montessori education follows the idea that learning and well-being are improved when people have a sense of control over their lives. Montessori believed people learn better when they are interested in what they are learning. She argued that at all costs children should be given the freedom to explore, be creative and imaginative because that is their true nature. 

I believe everyone has a special gift that they bring to the world. Montessori education encourages children to find what they are really passionate about and gives them the time to develop this gift. We all want or need to be I.T. experts or musicians but we DO all need to find what we love doing and have the creativity and imagination to realise how to achieve our goals. 

How to know when to add new activities to the shelf! 1

Do you know how to rotate toys (activities/exercises) in your environment?

Do you know when to change the materials on your shelves?

If not, read on and see our advice helps!

It is always a struggle when you are trying to rotate materials, equipment and toys on your shelves at home or in your classroom. It is hard to know when to change the toys but there are a few tell tale signs that it is time to do so now. 

If your child/children are not interested in the activities out on the shelves you will notice they might be using them incorrectly or may be they haven’t even touched them in a while then you may need to change or rotate the materials.

By minimising activities on your shelves it will be easy to notice if one toy is being played with incorrectly or if one activity is not played with at all and therefore you will recognise when it might be necessary to change the shelves around.

People usually have lots of toys and activities nowadays so it is easy to have toys on display and toys hidden for rotation.

Activities on the shelves should be prepared for your child according to their developmental needs at that time but as they grow and develop their needs change and this requires a amendment to your environment too!

This may be the perfect time to transform your shelves!

The adjustment to your shelves will sometimes be minor but may also require major changes too!

Minor changes can be changing a part of an activity. For example if you have a pouring or spooning activity on your shelf and you noticed that the child can pour it from one jug to another without spilling any or you noticed that they don’t use the pouring exercise anymore then altering the substance that you pour with might excite them back to using it again! If the child had mastered the skill of pour then try to use a smaller material to pour e.g. change the pouring pasta exercise to a pouring red lentils exercise!

Another minor adjustment could be changing the colour of the material that is used! Dying dry materials such as rice for spooning with food dye can add excitement to a forgotten spooning exercise.

Sometimes, however changes may need to be more major. Sometimes it involves removing the puzzle that they throw around the room and replacing it with another puzzle. Sometimes it requires us to look at what is actually going on; are they misusing the activity because it’s too hard or too easy? If it’s too hard then replace it with a slightly easier puzzle. If it is too easy then move on to the next puzzle.

Changes in your environment can make the world of difference as to how play is constructed and carried out in your environment. The keys to creative and constructive play is to have a small amount of activities readily available for you child on child-sized shelves and try to observe how and how long for the activities are being used.

Keep the other toys and materials you have hidden away and rotate the shelves as you see fit!

Try to remember if you add an activity you should take off another one! Having too many crammed onto a shelf can chaos in your environment!