There is no routine for rotating the girls’ main sitting area shelves. I regularly observe them and, about once a week or so, I will try to spend a longer amount of time just watching–seeing what materials they are drawn to and how they use them. I note if certain materials are avoided, if something may need to be presented differently, if an activity needs to be more challenging or less.
I also pay attention to what they are interested in and new skills they are working on that aren’t related to what’s currently on their shelf. For instance, during a change, V started pulling wipes from the container. So I rotated in their DIY tissue box, but made it more challenging by adding more tissues, making it more difficult to pull.
There are materials that have been rotated in and out many times. Based on observations it would appear that they are ready or would a certain material, but then it may end up being too difficult or it was just a brief interest. In instances like this, I’ll present it to them again and wait for a week. Their pound set is the perfect example of this. They enjoy crafts that involve mallets and hammering. So it seemed logical that they would be drawn to this particular activity. They were not, haha. This is the fourth time it has been rotated back on the shelf–after E was hammering another toy and I wanted to provide her the appropriate materials. A few times V would hand me the mallet and after I hammered a peg, she would happily continue on, content with the activity solo.
Their flip coin box has been out for a few months. V took to it first and E has more recently. Once they show that they have mastered it (posting the coin without hesitation repeatedly), I’ll replace it with something more challenging (like a little box with a slot and buttons). But right now, it still offers just enough challenge for them both.
They also have their DIY velcro activity, circle sorter (the next step in puzzle evolution after the single knob puzzles), and their bead maze.
They have shown interest in matching their farm animals and laminated photos that I put together, which we keep in the RV. So I set-up a similar activity, fruit/vegetable matching, with the tomato and avocado that they received for their birthday. As they master the two that are out, I will add more.
After being on their shelf for awhile and seeing how they were interacting with it, it was time to remove their ring stacker and replace it with a DIY threading activity. The girls have never shown interest in stacking rings. Never. However, they would hold the wooden dowel and attempt to thread a ring onto it. The dowel with stand is a little heavy and difficult to maneuver in such a manner, this is how I knew an alternative activity would be better–otherwise I would not have changed anything.
I would just like to add that as long as they aren’t harming themselves, someone else, or the materials, I don’t intervene in how the materials are being used. The only reason I swapped out the ring stack for the threading activity, was because I noticed that they would become frustrated with the weight of the ring stand. We want to provide the right materials to set them up for success, not frustration or failure.
What are some of your little one’s favourite activities?
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