I think I was more than a little excited to present Sarah with her first Montessori lesson. Sarah has Montessori toys and has explored treasure baskets before but this would be the first time I sat down with her and presented an activity to her; an opening and closing basket.
This activity is a preliminary practical life activity. It gets those little hand and wrist muscles working as well as helping the child to learn to open containers independently. Since Sarah is still quite young, 13 months, her basket was quite simple. A small gift box (lift open), a ring box (pull open), a vitamin container (pop open), a glass jar (twist open) and a drawstring bag (pull open). Each container had a little treasure inside; a pompom, feather, wooden peg and coloured popsicle sticks.
I sat down on the mat in the playroom with the basket and asked Sarah if she wanted to come over. She was interested in the basket right away. I chose one container and then moved the basket to the side. Then I showed Sarah how to open the container and the treasure inside. I did this with each container. After this I let her explore the basket. The ring box proved a little challenging at first but once she got those little fingers in it quickly became her favourite. The gift box was the easiest but she really liked taking the peg in and out so played with this one for a while. The glass jar was a little too difficult. I had to have the lid quite loose so she could twist it the rest of the way. However, when she finally did manage it, the surprise of the big pompom was definitely worth the effort. Look at the little face. So proud of herself.
Opening and Closing baskets are so appealing to little people. Simply increase the level of difficulty as their skills improve. In Jack’s baskets we’ve had lock and keys, push parasols, velcro, zippers, buttons, anything really and always a hit.
It’s waiting on the playroom shelves now for Sarah to come back and play.