Bean Pouring (as opposed to pouring, you know,lunch…)

Kids love to pour things out.  I figured if I gave Bl (15 mo) a pouring activity, he might get all his pouring practice out before he got around to dumping his lunch all over the table.  Didn’t quite work, but he still seemed to really enjoy it.

Here is an easy & fun version for the little ones (although Br(3) took a turn at it as well):

Pouring Beans!

Materials:

– 2 cups (I used 2 double-handled cups, the same size, to make it easy for him to grip & hopefully encourage him to go both directions – work on both brain hemispheres!)

-dried beans (for this first time I used dried lima beans as they were the biggest I found.  larger pieces don’t “stick” as much together, so are easier.  As the Bl gets better at it, we’ll move to smaller things-smaller beans, lentils, rice, salt, water… oh the messes to come :)  )

-tray (the one we used was from The Dollar Store)

bean transferring
Initially, he just wanted to transfer the beans. Hey, good fine motor practice!

I initially put the tray in front of him, with the intent of “modeling” how to pour it from one cup to another.  Before I had a chance, he was already fascinated with just transferring beans one at a time between the cups! Once he seemed to bore of just transferring, I modeled slowly how to lift the cup, then, once it is fully over the other cup, turn it to pour the beans into the cup still on the tray.  I also modeled picking up any beans that spilled & putting them back in the cup.

pouring beans 2

There is a great “control of error”- the lima beans spilling out of the cup on to the metal tray- he could easily & successfully remedy (picking them up and putting them back in the cup). Bl definitely noticed and was interested in picking up those pieces that spilled.  I know Montessori philosophy is big on “self-correcting activities”-  activities where it is obvious to the child when a mistake is made & they can correct it themselves without an external entity having to point it out.

While simple, this activity is great for a number of other reasons.  Pouring activities help build both physical & cognitive skills.  I found this explanation on the value of pouring activities at the site “Simply Montessori” that I liked.  It also helps build skills necessary for independence.  At 15 months, there aren’t a lot of things Bl can do independently yet, but this is an activity that can help build the skills necessary so he can!

 

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The importance of boogeying in the kitchen

I was speaking with one of the Early Childhood Education experts from First 5 of El Dorado County the other day (Kristen Torres, to be specific).  She was telling me she gets asked all the times by busy parents “what is the ONE thing I can do for my children that will make the most difference?”  Kristen’s response “Dance!”

While I am all for getting my “boogey” on, mostly in the kitchen these days, and grabbing whatever kid wanders by first to conscript in, I was a little surprised by her answer.  Kristen went onto explain that “rhythm” is important for a number of developmental steps (at this point I was concerned for my best friend’s son…hope he inherits his mommy’s rhythm!).

Language is rhythmic, walking & running is rhythmic.  By dancing with your children, you are helping to develop their rhythmic awareness in a fun & engaging way (all about play as learning!).  There often happen to be other side benefits: bonding (see my “conscription” above), aerobic exercise, “crossing the midline”- left/right & top/bottom (important for connecting brain hemispheres), vestibular system development (inner ear- important for balance & sensory integration) from our fancy spinning, and if you sing along loudly like me, vocabulary development.*

*on that note, be a little careful of your musical choices.  Like don’t accidentally download the ORIGINAL version of CeeLo’s “Forget You” like my husband did.  Don’t want to develop that kind of vocabulary….

So, grab that kid, crank those tunes (but try not to blow out their developing ear drums…), and get your dance on!  If your husband gives you funny looks when he comes in, pass him a kid and tell him it’s required curriculum: you’re making your kids smarter!  :)

 

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