Violet has her own reading corner, where she can sit with her books and one of us will read with her or she'll flick through them herself. She's keen on reading lift the flap books and we tend to have a theme on going. It's usually farm or zoo related! We spend a lot of time at the library, which has a great children's area and plenty of space to crawl. But it also means we can rotate books regularly and can read new ones for free. V has her own library card too!
When we started out with Montessori, I did a lot of reading up. I remember distinctly reading that children need to see the real- life object before they can put a photo, picture or a toy into context. After reading this, it encouraged us even more to get outside and be more creative with learning. I'm the queen of finding free activities, and recently we headed to a local park to see the rare breed pigs. Violet was able to stroke them, get up close and we even fed them. We took this opportunity to get her pig toy out and show her some photos of the pigs when we got home.
I did a similar activity after we'd been to a farm. We saw the cows being milked, fed most the animals and a calf had licked Violet's hand (which she found absolutely hilarious). We then talked about the cows and found them in her farm books. I really do think she is picking up words and will point to the cow in a book if you ask her to.
One thing I love about Montessori is how you can use everyday objects to learn and play. All of our toys are open ended, we don't have any battery operated toys and he majority are natural materials or household items. As I've said before, we follow Violet's interests as much as possible. She loves water play, so sitting in her paddling pool is a must when the weather is nice. Instead of generic bath toys, she has pouring cups, a whisk, spoons and other kitchen utensils to use in the water.
Violet loves spending time doing every day tasks too. She's really interested if we're in the kitchen and will often sit and watch what we're doing and join in if it's safe for her to do so. Her latest favourite task is helping me empty the washing machine. It does take a little longer than if I did it alone but she loves to get involved. We're not quite at the stage of helping me peg it out, but she will happily sit outside and watch me. We even watered the plants together the other day and she happily played with the hosepipe and watched the water for a good fifteen minutes.
Our recent trip to the airport, ties back in with gaining real life experiences and understandings. We watched the helicopters and planes coming in and out of the airport. If we're close by Manchester airport she'll watch the planes go overhead so it was nice to get up close to smaller planes at the local airport. Plus it was another free activity that meant we had spent some time outside.
Hope this was helpful if you're looking for Montessori ideas for little ones. I'm thinking of doing a post on where we get her open ended toys and which ones we recommend. Let me know if you would like to see this!