Do you have cookies at home after Christmas gifting season? I have tons of those familiar butter cookies. I found a way to use them for zero-prep playful learning that's great for a weekend play idea.
I stayed home from work to watch Ladybug Girl's on/off fever like a hawk. I hadn't prepared anything special to do together, so she was just on the iPad -- too much. So I had to scramble an idea together. Luckily the preps were easy and Ladybug Girl even helped.
Cookies (preferably the light ones)
Baking tray (or any work surface)
Little cups for mixing
Spare and sterilized paintbrushes (we have unused ones)
Cup of water for rinsing colors
First pour milk in each little cup available.
|Good practice for pouring too, one of Montessori's practical life activities|
Then mix in chosen food coloring to make the 'paint'.
|Fine motor skills practice right there. This could even be a color mixing lesson for secondary colors.|
|We spent a lot of time on this part alone. I was impressed at how her hand control improved.|
Lastly, dip a paintbrush and paint away!
|She asked for a cup of water for rinsing after -- smart girl.|
|Hey, she's finally using a big girl grip! For toddlers, this should still be fine though bigger cookies may be better.|
|She launched into a how-to spiel, like the hosts of the cooking or art shows she loves.|
She was so into the activity, I expected her to keep painting other designs, but my little attention-span-challenged daughter wanted to stop after just one because she thought of another 'how to recipe' she wanted to narrate. Decorating was "just too long!".
I tried, really did, until it began to be a sore point and we were both tense. So I remembered reading that you mustn't force learning at that point and dropped it.
|I may have grumbled a little bit more.|
Mental note. Now that I think about it, to her the magic must have been more about playing TV show host rather than playing bakeshop. I should have encouraged her to record a new how-to for other kinds of cookie designs, rather than just ask her to 'finish painting'.
So to bring back the fun, we had a little color mixing with all the milk paint left over.
|First on our tongues|
|And then the inevitable mess.|
And so in the words of Mister Maker: Our making time is over, but yours is just beginning!
Or as Ladybug Girl puts it "mix, mix, mix till everything's a blur!".
That's definitely like play time around here.