If you're a parent who has embraced the Montessori Method to educate your children, then you already know how important it is to provide a learning environment that encourages the healthy development of your child in every area of life. Each activity should work to promote the cognitive, emotional, social, and physical growth of the child. This post includes the best Montessori activities for 2-year-olds.
Developmental Milestones of a 2 Year Old
There is so much going on in a child's brain at 2 years old. She is soaking (literally) up the world around her like a sponge and is gaining dozens of new vocabulary every day. Multi-sensory activities are the way to go working to solidify and strengthen all those neuron pathways.
The CDC gives this list of developmental milestones of a 2 year old. This list is not exhaustive and doesn't apply to every single child. In other words, every child's developmental path will differ from the next child's development. With that said, if you are concerned at all, talk to your pediatrician. There are lots of options to intervene if there are obstacles facing your child.
Social and Emotional
- Copies others, especially adults and older children
- Gets excited when with other children
- Shows more and more independence
- Shows defiant behavior (doing what he has been told not to)
- Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games
- Points to things or pictures when they are named
- Knows names of familiar people and body parts
- Says sentences with 2 to 4 words
- Follows simple instructions
- Repeats words overheard in conversation
- Points to things in a book
Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
- Finds things even when hidden under two or three covers
- Begins to sort shapes and colors
- Completes sentences and rhymes in familiar books
- Plays simple make-believe games
- Builds towers of 4 or more blocks
- Might use one hand more than the other
- Follows two-step instructions such as “Pick up your shoes and put them in the closet.”
- Names items in a picture book such as a cat, bird, or dog
- Stands on tiptoe
- Kicks a ball
- Begins to run
- Climbs onto and down from furniture without help
- Walks up and down stairs holding on
- Throws ball overhand
- Makes or copies straight lines and circles
Activities for 2-Year-Olds
As many of you know, toddlers learn best through experiences that utilize all of their senses. Below are a few examples of activities inspired by the Montessori Method that you may choose for your own 2-year-old child or other children of this age who you are teaching.
One to One Matching Activities
These types of games are very good at helping toddlers create a good sense of order. Place animal flashcards on the floor, and provide the child with a basket of figurines that represent each animal depicted on the cards. Allow the child to place each figurine onto the appropriate card. Another idea is to introduce a basket of socks in various colors and designs, and have the child match the socks appropriately. You can also introduce math one to one correspondence with 2-year-olds. Simply use card counters and have the child match objects based on the number on the card. You can match object to object, object to image, and so on. There are so many variations.
Pouring and Chopping
2-year-old children are ripe for developing their fine motor skills. 2 year old are drawn to fine motor challenges and it is fun! Start by placing a plastic cloth on the table for easy cleanup. Offer the child a light-weight pitcher of water and a sturdy cup, and the child can practice pouring water into the cup without spilling. You may also provide a plastic knife and a banana or other soft foods for practice at cutting slices. Early practical life activities work well for 2-year-olds.
Print out coloring pages of the alphabet, and your child will be on the path to reading. Identify the letter, talk about words that begin with that letter, and allow the child to color the letter. If coloring is not a good option, then the letter may also be filled in with play-dough or watercolors. Always emphasize the sound, not the name of the letter. Introduce a salt or sand tray, too, if you feel the child is ready for the work. It is an ideal Montessori work for a toddler classroom.
Activities that address the senses simultaneously are extremely important for toddlers. For example, take aim at your child's sense of touch with a cloth bag and five different items. This activity is called a Mystery Bag. You may pick objects such as toys, spoons, books, and blocks. Show each item to the child before placing them in the bag. With eyes closed, the child may reach into the bag to touch and identify each object.
I hope you found these ideas helpful.