Summer is here, and so are the many opportunities to enjoy the outside with your preschooler. This season also offers a multitude of fun and creative ways to extend learning into the outdoors by utilizing basic Montessori pre-school lessons. Two of the learning areas, in particular, practical life skills and sensorial learning, are easy to translate into engaging summer activities that both you and your preschooler can enjoy.
Practical life skills
The purpose of this Montessori learning area is to gain confidence and mastery in completing simple tasks that improve the environment they are in while working on small motor skills, creativity, problem-solving, and focus. A natural extension of this in the outdoors is creating and tending a garden. Whether you have access to a spacious yard, a community plot, or a sunny window sill, gardening is an activity that can last all summer long. Your preschooler can help you choose which plants to grow, sort seeds by size, draw a map of your plant locations, and get their hands dirty making the perfect soil mixture. Your preschooler can also be in charge of the watering schedule, either helping you to water or filling their own watering can and tending to the plants on their own. Once you have a thriving garden bearing the fruits of your labor, you can introduce another activity: preparing tasty summertime recipes. Preschoolers can arrange the toppings of a garden veggie pizza, or pick, wash, and destem berries to be served with shortcake. It can be an engaging problem-solving activity to think of the vegetables, fruits, and herbs that are ripe in your garden and then think of the favorite foods they can make with them, or you can create a whole new recipe together.
In Montessori schools, it is paramount to learn through all five senses, and there is no better place to do this than in the outdoors. Water activities are a great way to cool down and experiment with the unique sensorial qualities of water. Water tables, kiddie pools, or even a couple of buckets are natural tools for unstructured sensorial play: dunking and floating objects, practicing pouring water from one container to the another, and generally splashing around. Another simple activity you can do with your preschooler is a sensorial scavenger hunt. Your scavenger hunt list can include items such as “something that is green,” “something that is fuzzy,” “something that smells pretty,” “something that tastes sweet,” and so on. The scavenger hunt is endlessly adaptable to whatever outdoor environment you have access to, and you and your preschooler can take turns creating the scavenger hunt list. Additionally, these activities can also grow with your preschooler and become more challenging by incorporating Montessori elementary school’s five great lessons, such as elements of the timeline of life or the story of the universe.