Each day Henry and I are going to (try to) do a project. At this age, my criteria for a project are that it needs to involve some sort of sensory experience, it needs to be hands-on, and at least part of the activity needs to be something he can do independently. When I first introduce the materials for a project, I don't do any instructing. So...no speaking and no demonstrating. I just let him explore. Sometimes this is hard because I just want him to figure out the point of the activity right away. My adult self gets in a hurry! But it's so much better to bite my tongue because often times he comes up with other purposes for the materials that I wouldn't have thought of. We usually do our projects in the kitchen because they are easier to clean up and I like to keep it separate from his other toys.
Yesterday's project went like this: I put out a bunch of kitchen utencils and three big bowls. I poured some dry macaroni noodles in each bowl and let him do the rest. He was completely fascinated for a solid 30 minutes. Stirring, pouring, and switching the noodles from one bowl to another. He was deep in silent concentration! After 30 minutes, he took a break to roam around the house which is when we ate lunch and then took naps. He came back to the projects after he woke up. Success!
Today's project was called Muffin Tin sorting. I took a few toilet paper tubes and cut them into shorter tubes. Then I put them in a large ziplock and set them next to the muffin tin on the floor. Henry is a kid who likes order, so I knew it would be best to have 12 tubes...one for each spot on the muffin tin. At first he wanted to dump the tubes out. Fine with me! Then he put them back in the bag. He wanted to shut the bag. I then realized he would likely get stuck on wanting me to open and close the bag because he loves to open and close things. So, I went ahead and put one tube into the muffin cup. He caught on right away and filled the rest of the cups one by one. Then he put each one back in the bag and started over again. He loved it! I watched the clock and this kept him busy for a good 20 minutes.
And, of course, everything gets flipped over and turned into a drum eventually :)
My plan is to drag out one of my fun containers from when I was teaching to store all these projects in, so that I can build up my stash. I'll let him play with the same ones for awhile and then pack them away for a bit so they seem new when I reintroduce them. The best part is that most of the projects are free because you just use stuff you have around the house. Though I guess you do have to adopt a bit of a hoarder mentality. Yesterday I stopped myself before throwing away an empty oatmeal container! Thanks to Pinterest, the ideas are endless. I can't wait for tomorrow's project because I have a good feeling he's going to love it. More to come...