When one of our neighbors saw how we didn't "maximize" every square meter we have to build a house and more than half of our lot is grass, she asked if we were saving the space up for a swimming pool.
No, not a future swimming pool. It's Cara's Montessori classroom, her work area! I can already see her building the Pink Tower, working with the Movable Alphabet, laying out the Golden Beads for the Bird's Eye View of the Decimal System!
But even before all that, our now 23-month-old and I have always been working outdoors a lot.
This space is the first thing you see when you're by our front gate (our neighbors must be wondering some more).
Top shelf: Food coloring and other things for painting (like cornstarch, cotton swabs and brushes) are always available. Chalk, too, for drawing on the ground.
Second layer: We sort things in our shelf--metal, glass, plastic.
Third layer: Supposedly a hand transfer activity (which doesn't get used--I was just seeing if we were ready for tray work). A container for funnels. Another for scoopers, ladles, and the likes. Some trays which she likes placing some bowls and glasses on to balance and bring to the nearby table--this "tray work" she enjoys.
Bottom shelf: Watering can and a small jug with water for maximum effort work.
Our DIY water table.
See a Scoop and Sort activity we did on the water table here.
Another DIY--repurposed a side of an unused crib (why I even bought one--because of all the pretty Pinterest nurseries and an OC tendency to want to check every item on must-have checklists handed out by baby stores), spray-painted some PVC pipe fittings, and Mighty-Bonded them to make another outdoor water activity.
There's a lot of practical Practical Life as well. Like washing our kitchen towels and floor mats, washing the gate, and weeding.
"When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength." - Maria Montessori
But mostly, we just enjoy the things that are already there all along.
The wind. She thought it was "funny, funny", she said.
The soil. Digging.
That's already treasure right there.
To look up and see no limits.
To look around and see possibilities.
"Let the children [and I say, grown ups, too] be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it's raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is wet with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning." - Maria Montessori
And when we're done...
... we pack away.
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