With each of my little ones there has been some sort of obsession. During my pregnancies, I have lots of time to sit and think, and observe my kids and how they learn.
If you are around kids, you will learn from the start that they learn a lot by doing! In fact they learn almost everything by doing. Walking, talking, interacting with others...It's basic and simple. It just makes sense.
Growing up I went to Montessori school. I remember distinctly never really being told what to do. I remember the teacher showing me how things worked, but I had freedom to choose what I wanted to do. And I remember getting praise for my efforts, even be they small. Among my many sweet memories is one where the teacher taught me how to wash and dry my hands properly. Being the "very good girl" that I was as a child, I carried that lesson with me even to this day! My wonderful time at Montessori didn't last long though. When I switched to public school it was a struggle to learn things I had no interest in at all. With my own children, I've learned that if they are interested in a subject, go with it! They will learn fast, and they will learn well. And hands on is, by far, best!
This past Christmas I tried to encourage that "hands on" approach with appropriate toys and gifts that I knew would grow with them, and allow for a lot of imagination play.
My four year old took to his little kitchen and accessories quite enthusiastically. (And my almost-8 yr old did, as well as her friend!) There has been lots of pretend play, tea parties, and playing grown-ups. It's been a beautiful experience and I'm so glad I chose to go that route.
I've been slightly obsessed lately with Montessori tools and toys, as well as Waldrof toys. They're so simple, and they encourage learning and imagination-play. I've seen much growth in my kids in the last month alone. Given that I've been mostly immobile during this pregnancy, it's taken me mostly away from my sewing machine and work table, and kept me sitting or laying down out of necessity. I've hand sewn a couple of dolls for my little ones, and I taught myself to knit! So now that I've collected a couple more skills, (and lots of ideas via Pinterest), I'm ready to start whipping up some good stuff once I'm more mobile after baby comes!
Are you a fan of Waldorf and/or Montessori tools and toys, and learning methods? What are your favorite items?