Sunday, February 15, 2009

This is a . . . tarantula! eek!

On the last post, someone asked if I had any activities for 18 month olds. . . here you go! This can be used with someone as young or as old as you would like!

Children from birth to age six have what is termed "the absorbent mind". Because of their absorbent minds, they easily learn the world around them at exponential rates! This "game" is a quick and easy way to help them learn the world around them.

Here's what you need: any three objects that you would like for your kiddo to learn. (Children love and are fascinated by small objects! I will talk more about this in a later post.) If you are working with an 18 month old, you might choose three very basic items such as an apple, an orange and a lemon. I chose a tarantula, dragonfly, and grasshopper for Lawton. When I was taught this lesson during my training, the trainers used a knife, spoon, and fork, but taught us the words in another language! It was tricky! (You will understand once you view the video). You can (but don't have to) have a rug or towel to control the work area as well.

Here's why you should do it: What greater gift than to give your child the adequate words to communicate with you! Kids love playing this "game" and don't even realize they are learning!

Watch the video and then meet back up with me below.

Okay, did you get it all?

Here are a few highlights that I want to make sure you get.

  • First, name all objects to clarify what they are. Lawton wanted to call the tarantula a spider (which it is) and dragonfly could have been an insect and the grasshopper a bug. Decide what terminology you want them to learn.
  • I then had him point to the objects because that is easier than saying the name when learning new vocabulary.
  • He handed me the objects next, but you can get as silly as you want - put the tarantula on your head, put the grasshopper on your knee, give the dragonfly a kiss, etc.
  • If they exhibit that they can locate the objects correctly, then say, "This is a . . . " and see if they can respond with the correct name. If not, no big deal, just name it yourself and keep playing the game. This way, they might not realize they are supposed to know the right answer and stress that they don't yet.
  • If they choose the wrong item, no big deal. Don't say, "That's not right! Are you crazy? Haven't I taught you anything?" (I'm kidding people) But instead, just rename the objects and keep playing the game. (or until they make the dragonfly buzz away and the grasshopper jump into your hair!


  1. I'm loving the new site Laura Beth! I especially appreciate the posts that have to do with the little ones out there. I look forward to seeing what else you have up your sleeve!

  2. My son really enjoyed this game. Jonah is 2 1/2 and loves playing 'Guess Who'. After a few rounds I tried using this game with a few of the cards to see if I could help him differentiate mustaches and beards. He loved it and wanted to add more and more cards. Sorting and making stacks when I asked. This was a lot of fun.

    I found your site last night and really enjoyed reading through it. I've been reading lots on Montessori at home and enjoyed seeing how you are implementing some of the techniques.

    I'm looking forward to future posts.

  3. Hey LB! Love, love your site. Thanks so much for making this site to help other moms. I can tell you love it! I will be checking back weekly(?) and I am going to give my sis-in-law the link too. She's going to flip (happily)when she sees it. :) Take care- "Muse" :)

  4. Great new all the ideas! Look forward to lots more posts.


  5. Laura Beth,
    I love this vocab building game! Very similar to a lot of the thearpy methods we've used. I love "defining the workspace". I think that really helps with focus. Thanks for that idea.
    So, if the child does not name the item at the end, would you prompt them to say it or just say the word yourself and play again?
    And what's the montessouri thought on when they loose interest? Should they complete the activity, clean up and move on. Or do you stop as soon as they loose interest, even if you weren't "done."
    Sorry for all questions!

  6. Amy,
    I would just say the object again and then go back to the game (first rename all the objects then go to putting the dragonfly on your head, give me the tarantula, point to the grasshopper, etc.) That's why instead of saying "What is this?" you say "This is a . . ." (and pause so they can jump in) so you can finish if they can't recall the name. (So they don't get frustrated for not knowing it) Naming it is a whole other step for the brain.
    If he looses interest, just stop. Come back to the same items later or the next day (or whenever) and hopefully the naming will come.