Learning Guide 44 - 48 Months

Learning Guide 44 - 48 Months

By Olynda Smith


The Same But Different

This box offers lovely opportunities for imaginative play, a wonderful blast from the past and lots of opportunities for playing together. 


If you’ve been with us for some time, you’ll notice that there is an item in this box that your child has encountered in an earlier box.  This is by design! A key element of the Montessori Method is the importance of repetition.  There are a few ways that repetition supports our children.


Like all of Dr. Maria Montessori’s work, she came to understand the importance of repetition through observing children.  She noticed, as you may also have noticed, that young children can spend long periods of time doing the same thing over and over again!  This may seem puzzling to an adult observer until we realize that what they are “doing” is not what we think.  We may see that they are busy taking the bees out of their hives and putting them back in again and again. But they are not actually taking bees out and putting them back in again.  They are actually building in themselves the many skills involved in doing that work: color matching, gross motor movement, hand strength, and concentration to name a few.   


We adults are not so different.  I am also a yoga teacher and have spent countless hours practicing yoga poses on the mat.  If you were watching me you might wonder why I have done the same pose for 20 years!  But I am not doing a pose.  I am building myself through doing the pose.  I’m building strength, balance, mindfulness and love.  In the same way, the children may repeat something many, many times.  What they are building through their play is themselves.  


“We are built to play and built through play,” writes Stuart Brown in Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul.


Circling Back 

Children also benefit from repeating activities that they did in the past.  By coming back to work with this toy your child gets a chance to see how much they have grown. They will likely do some things they remember doing, and they will find brand new things to do as well.  


It can be comforting and often settles children to revisit an old toy.  When they see the growth they have had, that can give them what they need to try something new and challenging!  If you have old toys of theirs tucked away, make sure to bring them back out as a “blast from the past” in their rotation every once in a while. 


What Is Missing?

Here is a simple, fun game that helps develop memory.  It is a wonderful way to get kids moving on a rainy day.    


Take a few items and place them on the floor in a line.  At first pick only three to five items. You can increase from there. 

Point to each item to review the name of that item. 

Cover the line of items with a blanket and ask your child to run across the room and back to you.

 As they run, take one item out and hide it in your lap or hand.  When they come back, have a big reveal by taking the blanket off the items.  Ask “What is missing?”  They guess until they get it right and you can show them.

 Take turns - your child will love getting to be the one taking an item away.  This game also helps adults develop memory as well! 


For advanced players, you can use more items!  Another advanced variation is to change the order of the items instead of taking one item away!  If you are introducing your child to a second language, you can play in that second language after you have introduced the names of the objects and are sure your child knows them.  You can also choose items that are the same shape, but different colors and have them name the color of the missing item. 

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