Monday, April 27, 2009

Refined Hand Movement Exercises for Toddlers

Large-sized nuts and bolts are one of the most popular toddler exercises in the Montessori program for toddlers!

* Material needed: Six large nuts & bolts
* Two small bowls and one larger bowl
* A small tray

Put the bolts on the nuts, place the sets in the larger bowl, and put all the bowls on the tray. Keep the tray in the Practical Life section of your home classroom so your child can return to use it whenever he or she likes.

1. What to do: Invite your child to try this exercise.
2. Take the tray from the shelf and place it on the table.
3. Sit on your child's non-dominant side (on the left of a right-handed child).
4. Pick up one nut and bolt. Hold the bolt with your left hand and unscrew the nut with your right hand (if you think your child is left-handed, switch hands).
5. Put the nut in one bowl and the bolt in the other.
6. Ask your child if he or she would like to try.
7. Let your child tinker with the process and work alone (sometimes it is easiest if you excuse yourself and wander off a bit).
8. Your child can put everything back together and put the tray on the shelf.

Younger toddlers and infants who are still putting things in their mouths can work well with wooden or plastic (depending on your feelings about plastic) versions of nuts and bolts, too.

Learn more about teaching your child at home with Montessori with our curriculum newsletters.


Warren Branson said...

What a great practical life activity. It's great for developing those fine motor skills.

Anonymous said...

I have a question regarding the demonstrating of the new activities...

My daughter is 2y 4m and we are learning about Montessori and implementing activities at home.
My question is...
What do you do when your child shows no consistent hand dominance? Do you demonstrate on both sides? Do you take a 'stab' at which hand will be dominant in the activity to be presented?

My daughter seems to have better fine control while crayon drawing with her left hand, but throws and does larger actions (eats) more often with her right hand.

Any thoughts would be welcome on possibly ambidextrous children. Thanks for your blog, I've been enjoying the reading.

Montessori House said...

Thanks for your comment about children and hand dominance. Many young children switch back and forth between their left and right hands. In this case, introduce exercises using your dominant hand. As you observe your child doing different activities, keep notes as you are doing on your child's hand preference. It sounds like you are on the right track as you let your daughter choose which hand she prefers to use with different movements.