Our Shelves at 21 Months
When people ask me how old Camden is, I have started responding by saying "He will be two in December!" instead of saying 21 months. I am most certainly avoiding the eye rolls from non-toddler parents who are forced to do math in their heads, but I just can not believe two is almost here! At 21 months, has been more focused on practical life and gross motor skills. He is more likely pushing around his Swiffer (with two pieces removed from the handle to make it his size) or riding his balance bike than calmly working on a puzzle. He is also still crazy about his emergency vehicles and community helpers. While his major focus has been drawn away from his shelves, I can tell that the time that he chooses to spend on fine motor skills getting longer and longer. He seemed to be most interested in work presented in previous months. One of the best things about doing toy rotations is seeing his progress with the materials over time. This month had many old favorites out that I haven't written about yet and am excited to share!
Color and Shape Stacking Sorter
This stacking sorter has been on Camden's shelves since he was 17 months and has rarely been put in storage. At first, placing the shapes on the dowels was his focus but his interest gradually shifted to color sorting without any encouragement from me. He can now quickly finish the puzzle, but still chooses to do it several times a day. I try to find new challenges for him, but don't ever rush him away from work he is focusing on.
Twist and Sort
I was so excited to find this beautiful twist and sort work from Leader Joy Montessori. It is a wonderful extension of classic pegging work that requires the shapes to be turned to slide over horizontal pegs before they can reach the bottom. It has captivated Camden's interest for a few weeks now. He has slowly figured out how to turn the shapes so that they slide over the pegs and reach the bottom of the stacker. Taking the rectangles off has been a huge challenge for him and has caused some frustration, but he keeps coming back to it and I know that he will figure it out soon!
When I first introduced this cone puzzle around 16 months, I only put out the four inner pieces. Now the whole puzzle is out on his shelves. The extra pieces have been more of a challenge, but he has also enjoyed finding creative ways to stack the pieces or wear them as bracelets.
Construction Equipment Puzzle
Camden's interest in puzzles has waned a bit since last month, but he has enjoyed this simple construction equipment Puzzle. I like the big knobs and the pictures under the puzzle piece so that he can match the images to find where the pieces belong. He has an intense interest in construction equipment, so I knew that this puzzle would draw him in more than a different subject would.
Simple Shape Sorter
Camden was crazy about his plan toys simple Sorter for a few months and then started totally ignoring it. I took it as a sign that he wasn't stimulated enough by it, so I wanted to find a Shape Sorter that had more shapes, but was still simple. This Goki Simple Sorter is perfect! It only has one shape per side, so he has to turn the cube over to find where the shapes fit. This is definitely still a challenge for him. One side slides open so the shapes can be removed from the box- I think most of his motivation for getting the shapes inside the box is so he can get them out from the sliding door!
Fall Discovery Window Blocks
These discovery window blocks are still one of my favorite purchases. I made some spring discovery windows that were a huge hit, but the fresh flowers didn't last long. Camden and I collected colored leaves from our yard and these blocks have been out for over two weeks now! The colors have faded a bit, but they have held up really well. We used waxy green leaves so that they would hold their moisture and color longer. He has been spending a lot of time lining the blocks up and pushing them around like a train. He has also been building towers and is starting to figure out how to balance the blocks. I think these thick square blocks are a good place to start!
Cam loves making noise and has been going through quite a banging phase. The drum has been key for redirecting his desire to hit! In the past month, Camden has started singing (his rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star melts me into a puddle every time!) so it seemed like the musical instruments would be a good extension. He has also been enjoying the tambourine and egg shakers.
I also have printed out these FREE and awesome song cards from The Montessori Company to inspire him to sing as much as possible. He is learning the motions for the Itsy, Bitsy Sprider and brings me the card every time he wants to sing it. The set pictured is free, so go there and print them out now! I am hoping that she makes new songs in the future because I see these being a favorite for a long time to come.
When we went to the Seattle Children's Museum last month, Camden got a stamp on his hand and it was the highlight of the day! I figured he might like working with some fall stamps and boy was I right! He is still figuring them out so washable ink is very necessary. After he uses the stamps, he usually spends quite a bit of time washing his hands to get all of the ink off- practical life and art seem to frequently tied together in this house!
Gross Motor: Strider Bike
Camden LOVES this bike and helmet!! We got the sport version of the bike, which has a seat and handle bars that can be adjusted by hand and does not need a tool. We got this bike for him at 18 months and have let him figure it out on his own. At this point, he is essentially running with it and hasn't started lifting his feet off of the floor to glide, but he is learning to steer and is getting fast! I prefer the balance bikes over a scooter because the transition to a two wheeled bike will be smoother since he will learn how to balance on this bike first.
As a side note, I am looking for some children's music that is lovely for adults to listen to too! We love Little Seed by Elizabeth Mitchell. I would love to hear your recommendations for other music!