Skip to main content

Crossing the Midline

  Getting Started: "Crossing the midline" is an important developmental milestone that most children master by the age of 3 to 4 years old—and refers to the ability to move one hand, foot, or eye into the space of the other hand, foot or eye. We cross the midline when we cross our arms or legs, scratch our arm, and as we read from left to right.Crossing the midline of your body is not something you think about as an adult, but as a toddler it helps build powerful pathways in the brain that support various motor and cognitive skills, as well as concentration.Children who have difficultly crossing the body's midline often experience trouble with skills such as reading, writing, completing self-care tasks, and participating in sports or physical activities. For example, in a child with underdeveloped bilateral skills will read from left to right but their eyes will stop at the midline to refocus, causing them to lose their place or train of thought. Likewise, they may stop when writing and switch hand to complete the page (often appearing ambidextrous).Developing bilateral skills and gaining the necessary coordination that comes from experience with "cross-lateral motion," can be fun and engaging for toddlers and preschoolers. Below are several fun exercises to help them "cross the midline." Catching a Ball. Have the thrower stand to one side so the catcher must turn their upper body to catch and throw the ball. Do this activity on both sides.Pop bubbles with only one hand, requiring...

Continue reading
  2869 Hits

Gardening Sensory Bin

  What you'll need: Black Beans (enough to cover the surface of the bin & fill containers)Shallow Bin with lid for easy storage (cupcake carrier pictured)Plastic Toy Sand Shovel and Rake ToolsSet of 3-4 small flower pots  Fabric FlowersWire Cutters Introduction: Gardening in an important part of our curriculum here at CMS. You may even receive the vegetables our children grow from time-to-time. As we jump into Spring, we wanted give a nod to our garden work with an easy DIY Montessori-inspired gardening activity that builds scooping skills and allows child-directed play as they build their own garden. Note: All of these items can be found at a local Dollar Store so that the entire box can be made for under $10 depending on what you already have at home. Getting Started: Fill the bin with the black beans and remove packaging from your various items. Using a pair of needle-nose pliers or wire cutters, measure your flowers against the pots and trim to your preferred height. (Note: We chose to trim just below the joint that kept the flowers in a bunch.)Introduce the activity at this stage to your child and let them explore the materials for a little while—touching, shoveling, and raking the beans, pots, and flowers to get familiar with how they move. (Children 3 and under should be supervised, as some items can be a choking hazard.) Next ask your child to fill each of the pots with the beans. You can encourage them to count how...

Continue reading
  2534 Hits

Egg Transfer Tray

  What you'll need: Empty Plastic Easter EggsDeviled Egg PlatterSoup Spoon   Getting Started: Today's activity is a great way to upcycle left over plastic Easter eggs. Simply gather empty eggs in a small basket or bowl, and get out a deviled egg platter (inexpensive plastic versions can be found at most grocery and party stores). Next demonstrate for your child how to transfer the eggs using a large soup spoon from the basket to the egg slots. Once they have completed all of the eggs, have them transfer the eggs back to the basket.Younger toddlers will also enjoy this activity. If transferring to the smaller egg slots with a spoon is too challenging, have them transferring the eggs to the platter by hand and only use the spoon to transfer the eggs back to the basket—providing a larger "drop" area. You may find that they will steady the egg with their opposite hand until they are comfortable... but our students always enjoy the challenge.   What it teaches: Fine Motor SkillsVisual Perceptual SkillsEye-Hand coordinationCognitive Skills  

  2488 Hits

Window Washing Activity

  What you'll need: Spray bottleWater and white vinegarWashcloths or ragsSmall squeegee (optional)Activity tray or basket Getting Started: At CMS our classrooms incorporate numerous practical life activities around cleaning. Children love to help out in the classroom!Bring this helpful skill to your home by setting up a window washing activity for your child. This is a wonderful exercise that is achievable for children as young as two, and that fosters independence and a sense of contribution to the household or family.Simply mix up a homemade window washing solution using a 2-to-1 solution of water and white vinegar in the spray bottle (adding essential oils for scent if desired).Set up your basket with the spray bottle, a wash cloth, and a small squeegee.Either present the basket to your child's environment and wait for them to take interest, or guide them toward the activity.First show your child how to wet the windows with the spray bottle, and then how to wipe them clean with the wash cloth or squeegee.Most children enjoy water play and will clean as many of the windows as they can reach. Praise their efforts, knowing they are building important skills, and a little extra water is an easy clean up.Have Fun!!   What it teaches: Practical LifeIndependence Self ConfidenceMotor Skills  

  2521 Hits

Scissor Work

  What you'll need: Child-Safe ScissorsPaperWorksheet Download Getting Started: Scissor exercises are an important part of preschool development that can be started as early as two years old. In fact, cutting exercises build a strong foundation for a number of later developmental skills, as they: Build the muscles in the palm of the hand, preparing children for handwriting, drawing and painting, or gripping things like a toothbrush, spoon or fork.Enhance eye-hand coordination & Bilateral coordination to promote independent feeding, dressing, and athletics. To begin teaching scissor skills, first show your child how to open and close their hand within the scissor handles and feel the sensation of cutting a piece of paper. If your child is having difficulty manipulating the scissors, try using other tools such as tongs, eye droppers, tweezers, sponges, or hole-punchers that require the same open-close motion/muscle manipulation.Next, teach your child how to hold the scissors properly, with their thumb facing up. Your child may need hands on help at first, and will require supervision until their skills are better developed. Take it slow (stopping if frustration overwhelms their learning) and have patience—this is a skill that can take weeks or months to master. Start with only straight cuts/lines, progressing to soft curved lines, wavy lines, and eventually cuts with sharp angles.Children will also enjoy the opportunity to shake things up and cut things they usually can't. It can be worthwhile to pull together a small box or tray of designated cutting materials that are fair game to...

Continue reading
  2464 Hits