Walking the Line

No, I am not referring to Johnny Cash.
I am talking about a nice Montessori activity that comes under the Practical Life section Control of Movement.  To read about the different, traditional ways of introducing this and extending it, visit the AMI website’s description here.

The basics involve the child learning to control their body as they follow a line on the ground.  It helps improve balance and control.  Generally it is an ellipse, but as I was doing this at home I did the best with what I have on hand.
In this house we have a pale carpet which goes through the living areas.  We have a door from the living room into the central entry hall, which also has a door into the dining room.  The dining room then joins the living room through double glass sliding doors.  What this means is – I could construct a long, slightly ellipse-like walk the line circuit.

So, here is a view of my home made “line”.
The Line
This is the line coming from the hallway into the dining room.  It continues to the right at both ends and enters the living room from both sets of doors.
The line is simply black electrical tape so it is easily removed and should leave no residue when done with.  It flexes reasonably well I’ve found, so can make slightly wonky but curved lines.

And here is Miss Oh Waily taking her first walk around on it.
Walking the Line
We haven’t yet introduced it formally, with music and equidistant walking.  I am not completely sure if Master Oh Waily could manage it and that has made me a bit tentative about doing it with the two of them together.
Still, if he doesn’t get the opportunity he won’t ever manage.

Miss Oh can happily walk the line, and is probably almost competent at the second step – heel to toe walking.  The third step may be a bit hit and miss.  I’m not sure if I’m ready to clean up the water spills, but I’m sure she will be able to walk with an object, or even two, in her hands.  I can’t wait until we get to balancing items on her head.  I must look to buy a small bean bag or two for the purpose.
Naturally you are not restricted to the extension exercises mentioned at the AMI page.  Extensions to consider are altering tempo, adding turning, obstacles, taking verbal commands, “creative” walking (like an elephant, a mouse, etc), catching & throwing.  If you can imagine it and it requires physical control, then it can be added in to your child’s repertoire.

So no more wimping out here.  Next time we do the formal version I will write an update to let you know how we all get on.

What do you do with your children to encourage their co-ordination and control of movement?


Puzzles, cylinders and scissors

Master Oh Waily has been busy over the past few weeks.  He has shown some skill gains in several areas.
His current go-to activity is jigsaw puzzles. We have a variety of puzzles in the Oh Waily household, small six and eight piece wooden puzzles with bright, cheery pictures; a cardboard Thomas the Tank Engine puzzle picked up for $6 at the supermarket one day is a big favourite as is his 30 piece, double sided giant pirate puzzle.  Here he is concentrating on the small wooden puzzles.

Puzzles 1

Our set of beautiful Educo wooden puzzles.

I have also introduced Master Oh to the cylinder blocks. After initially being a little unsure, he took to the task and has mastered both of the blocks we have.  His interest has made me even consider trying to get the other two in order to make up the set, just to see how he would get on.
So here he is working his way through the two blocks.  As you can see, he still does not put all of the cylinders into the correct holes straight away but he does get there in the end.  The beauty of self-correcting materials.

Starting out

Starting out

Here we are, almost getting it, but showing some out of place cylinders.

Nearly done

Working through it.

And here he is with the final result.  All wobbly cylinders fixed up.

All done

All done.

As well as learning about size and dimensions, the cylinders also teach some pre-writing and pre-mathematics skills.  If you are interested in learning about the cylinder blocks, you can read more about them here.

And the final skill that is coming along nicely is his scissor control.  I made some strips for cutting practice using leftover stickers from Christmas and some lightweight card.  The aim was for him to cut between the stickers and then place the cut piece into his bowl for use in future art and crafting.   And here we see him in action.



Yes, some days we do have our pyjamas on long after we get up and about.

And that is how Master Oh Waily’s skills are coming along.
What are your kids mastering right now?