Many of us probably didn’t know how precious moments of silence are until we became parents or teachers. We all can agree that our world lacks silence today more than ever before. The noise we create is not necessarily produced by loud sounds. Noise can be made by clutter, unnecessary overload of visual and sensory information and stimulation. Noise takes away focus from what truly matters and distracts attention. Children react to overstimulation in their own way – through emotional outbursts, frustration, aggression.
Being able to create silence is valuable skill children need to retain in order to develop strong mental health. According to this article, silence can literally grow person’s brain.
“We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system…. “Silence is a resource”.. . It could be marketed just like clean water or wild mushrooms. “In the future, people will be prepared to pay for the experience of silence…Two-minute silent pauses proved far more relaxing than either “relaxing” music or a longer silence played before the experiment started. ” (Source)
Benefits of silence are truly appreciated and valued in a Montessori environment. The Silence Game – a creation of Maria Montessori. She stated: “Children are not only sensitive to silence, but also to a voice which calls them … Out of that silence”.
The Silence Game is a way to cultivate mindfulness in children through an ability to gain awareness of the noise surrounding them and exercise self-control.
Color Hunt – Outdoor Exploration
Tools to use:
- magnifying glass
Begin your outdoor nature color hunt by brainstorming possible colors that might be found and make the chart. The parents’ role is to remind your child which colors are on the list to help the child to stay on task. Attention to detail is a great skill to teach young children. The magnifying glass does a great job when it comes to that. Looking at different colors of blooming trees and flowers up-close to a wonderful experience.
One of the precious skills that get developed through this exercise is the ability to observe. It involves self-driven deeper learning – a great skill to have that is beneficial in any profession.
Use 2D and 3D objects to create the alphabet. Take pictures of your child’s work and make a collage.
DIY Activity Board
This is something anyone can make! Keep in mind we are not carpenters, we have very limited access to wood and no fancy tools. Nope, just the bare basics were used to create this – a piece of scrap wood, a hand saw, some sandpaper, and a drill. Oh and a variety of hardware (i.e. nails, screws, etc.).
Create a frozen block of ice that you fill with colored cubes of ice, plastic toys, etc (maybe a water creature theme, dinosaurs,etc) Have your child ‘excavate’ the items from the ice.
Have them try a variety of techniques to melt the ice (salt, sand, warm water, sugar–obviously, some of these don’t work, let your child try out different ideas and discover what works and what doesn’t). You can even give your child some ‘tools’ to use such as paint brushes, sponges, spatulas, droppers, etc.
Walking is good for your physical health– but it’s also a terrific activity for early literacy health. This activity will practice the alphabet while identifying surroundings at the same time. The ‘Alphabet Walk’ can be played two ways.
- Pick a letter of the alphabet and try to find as many things on your walk that beginwith that letter (bird, bush, bakery, etc.).
- Use the entire alphabet and try to find something during your walk that begins with every letter (apple, boy, car, dog, etc.).
In the Evening…
Flashlights are always fun for children to play with, in addition, you can play games like flashlight tag. Check out these links: https://www.kindercare.com/content-hub/articles/2016/october/lights-out-6-totally-fun-flashlight-games-to-play-after-dark
Shadow Hand Puppets
Some of these may be difficult for children to create, but it can be a great way to get parents and children playing a guessing game together.
Shadow Puppet Templates
More templates (Fox and the Crane, Three Little Pigs, Princess and the Pea, Gingerbread Man)
Shadow Puppet Theater
Turn a cardboard box into a theater!
On a clear night, check out the sky and enjoy the moon and stars with your child.
Make a slider of the moon’s phases
Download and print (three pages)
Cut out the white circle on page 1, glue page 2 along the edges of the top and bottom only (trim the sides down). Page 3 is a template to be cut out of black paper (for the slider). Put it between pages 1 and 2 and slide it back and forth to create the different moon phases. Let you child move the slider as the moon changes throughout the month.