Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Flour sifting/scooping/patting

Here's a great montessori-based activity that can be modified for infants and toddlers through preschoolers--

Set up two large bowls on a towel (towel reduces skidding/movement of bowls and also helps contain spilled flour).

For toddlers, provide a large spoon.

Place some flour in one of the bowls (starting on the left).

Show your child how to scoop the flour from one bowl to the other. When they are finished, show them how to carefully pour the bowl on the right side into the left bowl and repeat, if they want.

For preschoolers:
Introduce a sifter (preferably a small one that fits in their hand)

Show them these steps:
-set sifter down in left bowl
-use spoon to scoop a few scoops of flour (give them a number--5 or 6--to encourage counting) into the sifter.
-set the spoon down in the middle
-squeeze the handle to get all of the flour out of the sifter.
-when finished, pour flour back into left bowl

For infants:
-set up just one bowl with a small amount of flour
-sit up to table with child in your lap
-help infant reach hand into the flour and encourage him to "pat" or "squeeze" some flour
-let him explore the texture, meanwhile giving him words--"it feels soft, doesn't it! When we pat it, it makes a little cloud of flour! It turns our hand white!"
-no worries if the floury hand goes straight to the mouth!

This is one of the first sensory/tactile experiences infants are often introduced to in a classroom setting. It can be repeated again and again and they will learn to enjoy it more each time and explore for longer periods of time.

Fine and gross motor, hand-eye coordination, practical life skills, literacy development (left to right progression), counting, understanding properties of solids, tactile experiences, following directions,'s just plain fun!

When finished with the activity, show your child how to wipe up their area with a moist sponge.

You can use any material for scooping--cornmeal, salt, rice, beans, etc.
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