COne of the things I love about summer and being at home with the smalls, is the amount of time we spend outside. As well as their usual toys, I try and find other activities that keep them amused in the fresh air
and stop them from killing one another. If you’ve read my blog before you might know that I’m keen on the principles of Montessori, and am keen to build Freddie and Sasha’s practical life skills, and therefore confidence and capability when it comes to having a go at new household activities. This cleaning shells activity is perfect for developing these skills!
When we went to Brighton several weeks ago, we spent time on the beach there collecting numerous pebbles and shells. They had since been kicking around our sand tray, so I decided to get a couple of buckets of soapy water, an old towel, plus two old toothbrushes, and let F & S clean the shells.
I showed them what they had to do scrubbing-wise, and then encouraged them to lay the shells out on the towel to dry afterwards. After this, I left them alone to get stuck in to their ‘new job’ (as Freddie liked to call it!).
This activity is great for enhancing concentration. Freddie is usually pretty adept at focusing on an activity, but I was quite impressed to see Sasha (normally a total whirlwind when it comes to whipping through as many toys/games/crafts as possible!), spending quite a lot of time scrubbing her shells and taking great care with them. Many people who follow Montessori principles talk about ‘OCCI’: Order, Concentration, Coordination, and Independence. Those are qualities children develop naturally by working uninterrupted with practical life activities. They also believe that if children are absorbed in an activity, then you shouldn’t interrupt, and you should allow your child to repeat this activity as many times as they wish.
Something like cleaning shells is also a great leveller for when your kids are fighting/getting over the top, and seemed to have a calming effect on my two- which tends to be much needed by 4pm!