It’s been a long year hasn’t it? And with many families still isolating and so much time being spent at home, it’s fair to say that ideas for how to keep pre-schoolers busy are wearing thin. We’ve crafted, we’ve baked, we’ve completed all the jigsaws but those little, curious minds are desperate for more. So, we thought we’d share with you some of our Montessori secrets. And spoiler alert – you don’t need to spend loads of time or cash setting up elaborate activities – there’s fun to be had in even the most mundane of household tasks. Learning comes from everyday experiences –  so get them involved and exploring at home:

  1. Laundry learningThere’s endless amounts of exploring to be done for little ones in simple tasks like laundry, so get them to help load the washing machine. Or, if they’re a bit older, give them little laundry sorting jobs, like asking them to find all the red socks, or pegging pairs of socks together. Practicing this skill will help with the fine motor skills they’ll need to hold a pen, such an important skill to develop and they’re ‘helping’ too – which always goes down a treat!
  1. Invest in some pipe cleanersThese simple crafting tools have limitless possibilities for little minds and fingers. For younger children who can sit up, get them threading the pipe cleaners through the holes in a colander. For the older ones, pipe cleaners and paper plates can work together to form all kinds of creations – let their imaginations run wild! Making faces with pipe cleaners can also provoke conversations about feelings and emotions, which is so important at this increasingly testing time.
  1. Painting without the messKeep hold of any old paintbrushes or makeup brushes and give them a good clean. Then, get a bucket of water and use them to paint the wall. The children will be mesmerised to see the water drip down then immediately dry and ‘disappear.’ Or, try mixing powder paints in puddles outside. They’ll see the colours collide, splash around in them then watch them wash away (just be sure to read the label first!)

Make sure to shower your little one with praise as they complete the tasks successfully and when everyone’s in need of a little break, remember, screen time isn’t the enemy. There are plenty of shows on CBeebies to capture children’s imaginations that are educational as well as entertaining. Or, extend their world with appropriate programmes about animals or places they’re interested in, on channels like National Geographic or The Discovery Channel. And most of all, as parents, don’t be too hard on yourselves. We’re all getting through this year the best way we can.