Follow the child, they will show you what they need to do, what they need to develop in themselves and what area they need to be challenged in. The aim of the children who persevere in their work with an object is certainly not to “learn”; they are drawn to it by the needs of their inner life, which must be recognized and developed by its means. – Maria Montessori.

That quote by Dr. Montessori is perfect for this post. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t know if this activity was going to be a hit. I thought they may spend more time mouthing the picks, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! I share this because there is so much truth in following the child.

The girls have been really into posting work lately. They have mastered their flip coin box and have started to create their own work (placing the figures of their pop-up toy in different containers). Observing them, I remembered a popular posting work that involved tooth picks, creating a slightly more challenging work.

I altered it slightly and used appetizer picks and a cheese shaker. The appetizer picks are only pointed on one end, which I was able to pound on the counter a bit to make more blunt. The girls are still mouthing, a lot, and this will help prevent injury.

This activity is perfect for their pincer grasp as they pick-up and handle the picks. It also involves a great amount of hand-eye coordination and control as they place the picks in the small holes of the shaker.

I introduced this work to V first. The shaker and picks placed on a small tray that I carried to the table with both hands. I then, silently, placed a few picks into the shaker, one at a time, and then removed them placing them back on the tray.

V was immediately engaged, placing multiple picks in and the removing them just to repeat. E observed and wanted to participate. Normally I wouldn’t have two of the exact same materials out. But under the circumstances–I had another shaker and I thought it would be a great opportunity for them to work side-by-side–I gave her another shaker.

And yes, there was a little bit of mouthing, haha.

Has your little one tried this toothpick activity yet?

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