Times goes by so quickly. My little one turns 22 months and gasp I've to start thinking about her second birthday!!! She's made so much progress in terms of development lately, I can't wrap my head around her milestones.
The biggest development -- since entering the language explosion phase between 20-21 months, Miss 22 months has completely left her non-verbal days behind. Now she delights in telling me where she wants to go in the day, which animals she wants to see when we visit her favorite farm and even how she likes her bath prepared (lol).
I encourage her to actively communicate through words so I can better understand her likes and dislikes as well as discover more of her big personality. It's extremely helpful to know what makes her tick. With her interests in mind, I can better plan the Montessori-inspired shelf activities I put on rotation. At 22 months, I decided to update her shelf work as the interest in her current 18 months Montessori-inspired tray activities has significantly waned.
Miss 22 months' new Montessori-inspired tray activities will focus on her growing recognition of letters and numbers, her developing interest in the animals and insects around us as well as more challenging fine motor tasks.
Outside of the work shelf, I have been increasingly involving Miss 22 months in practical life activities around the home. She's now fully in charge of lining the baking tray with aluminium foil, cleaning up spills on the dining table, cutting up tomatoes as well as activating the washing machine and dryer at home -- which she does like a pro!
10 Montessori Inspired Toddler Tray Activities at 22 Months!
1. Pom Pom Ball Scoop Station
Miss 22 months has been dying to try her hand at the scissors whenever she sees me crafting. I got her a pair of IKEA MÅLA zig-zag scissors which is relatively child-safe. I supervise Miss 22 months closely when she uses her zig-zag scissors and guide her to keep fingers away from the blades.
Seeing her interest to wield the scissors, I decided to include more fine motor activities in her work shelf to focus on refining her pincer grip. I ordered Learning Resources Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set which comes with a scooper that for pincer grip practice.
To work on motor planning and hand-eye coordination, I also created a variation of this activity by providing a paint palette for Miss 22 months to scoop pom pom balls into the palette slots.
Miss 22 months enjoys counting and putting pom pom balls into the individual slots. Assigning numbers to objects in this activity works on one-to-one correspondence, an important math skill.
2. Dropper Water Station
Water is still a favorite play element of Miss 22 months and this activity works on motor planning and building her squeezing skills.
I really like this dropper, also from the Learning Resources Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set. It is designed for little hands and sucks up a substantial bit of water. I had previously provided Miss 22 months with upcycled droppers from medicine bottles, but they were difficult to grip and the uptake of liquid was little.
Miss 22 months thoroughly enjoyed figuring out how the dropper works.
3. Colander Threading Activity
By a stroke of luck, I discovered that shoelaces are the right fit for the holes of the colander from IKEA's Duktig cookware set.
Turned it into a fine motor threading activity. Miss 22 months also used the shoelaces for creative play, imagining them to be noodles for cooking.
4. Puzzle Play for Numbers, Letters & Shapes
Miss 22 months likes to point out letters she recognises from my slogan T-shirts and numbers on lift buttons so I'm including letters and numbers in her work shelf to feed this interest.
I'm using FUNSMART 3-Pack Wooden Puzzles and pairing them with books about numbers, letters and shapes. I am thinking to introduce Miss 22 months to phonetic sounds as an extension of this activity and would be referencing Living Montessori's guide on how to teach phonics with Montessori letter work.
5. Learning Numbers in Chinese
While Miss 22 months makes leaps and bounds in the English language, I try not to neglect Chinese in our daily communication, to continue fostering a bilingual learning environment.
Also stepped up on efforts to make Miss 22 months' learning environment print-rich in Chinese and therefore created these learning cards with numbers in Chinese. This idea was inspired by a cardboard and beads DIY toy shared in the Montessori-Inspired Kids Learning Chinese facebook group by CHALK Academy -- thanks Cathy!
I wrote 1 to 5 in Chinese on the cardboard learning cards. Here's the legend:
- 一 (Yī / One)
- 二 (Èr / Two)
- 三 (Sān / Three)
- 四 (Sì / Four)
- 五 (Wǔ / Five)
Additionally, I incorporated a counting 'slide-able' element for the learning cards by threading short lengths of straw through the shoelaces that make up the Chinese strokes. I could imagine these language cards would also be useful for teaching Chinese character stroke order for older children.
The material combination of old shoelaces and recycled straws provided a nice level of tactile input as there's some resistance with pushing the cut straws through the shoelaces.
6. Matching Numbers using Dot Stickers
When I do crafting work, Miss 22 months asks to peel tape all the time. I decided to purchase dot stickers for her to practise peeling. To utilise those dot stickers, I designed a matching worksheet that reinforces her learning of numbers and letters.
I would be introducing this dot sticker matching activity to Miss 22 months after the number puzzle shelf work. This dot sticker matching activity requires a higher level of numerical knowledge and mastery, which would only be effective after foundational learning of numbers has been done.
7. Snowman & Carpark Counting Activity
Winter is coming to an end in a few weeks' time and while I'm excited about ushering in spring, Miss 22 months and I will definitely miss going to Snoqulamie on the weekends to sled and ski. Therefore to celebrate snow for the last time before all the frost melts away, I made a snowman-inspired bottle cap counting activity for Miss 22 months.
I also interchanged this snowman toy with another counting activity upcycled parking lot toy made from a shoebox lid. I drew 10 parking lots, labelled in both English and Chinese, and provided 10 vehicles for Miss 22 months to 'park' into the slots.
A great book to accompany this car and truck counting activity would be the Counting Cars and Trucks (Rookie Toddler) board book by Scholastic.
8. Nature Themed Puzzles
As Miss 22 months' fine motor skills improve, I'm moving her on to puzzles that no longer have the peg handles. These mini wooden puzzles from Melissa and Dough with nature themes are perfect.
The slightly raised puzzle pieces provide just the right level of grasping challenge and are compact to stow away after use in a travel case.
9. Scent Sensory Satchets
Miss 22 months knows the organs for her five senses and I've been helping her to understand that we make sense of the world with our different senses - sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing.
To sharpen her understanding of senses I have been deliberate in asking her to use her senses in everyday life -- from 'sighting' aeroplanes we see in the sky, 'hearing' the siren of fire engines on the road, 'tasting' new foods at mealtimes to 'touching' clothings of different textures when we do the laundry together -- and for 'smelling', this activity.
I picked 2 distinct smells to introduce her -- aromatic lavender buds and freshly bought coffee beans. As she explored and sniffed at the scent sachets, I talked about the practical uses of lavender (perfuming the house) and coffee bean (making coffee beverages) to help her understand the items and what their smells could be put to use for.
10. Sensory Learning about Bees
Honey is the only form of sweetener I use to flavor food and drinks for Miss 22 months. Recently she became interested in the packaging of the honey bottle which features illustrations of bees.
I decided to cash in on this interest in bees to help her learn about bees and where honey comes from. As such, I created this bee learning tray activity that includes:
- a garden-themed sensory bottle with bee figurines, a synthetic flower and corn meal to mimick flower pollen
- a Highlights magazine with an edition on the insect world
- photo print-outs of beehives, honeycomb and a bee extracting nectar from a flower
As a result of this activity, now Miss 22 months proudly tells me, "bees make honey!" whenever I ask her where honey comes from.
For other interesting bee learning activities, check out Teaching 2 and 3 year olds.
Montessori-inspired Tray Activities for 2YO
I also love these Montessori-inspired tray activities for 2 year old toddlers:
- 20 DIY Montessori-inspired activities with free printables by Montessori In Nature
- Montessori art trays at 2 years old by The Kavanaugh Report
- Montessori-inspired work at 24 months by This Merry Montessori
I hope you found these Montessori-inspired tray activities for a 22 month old toddler useful, and I wish your little one a joyful time exploring and learning!
To follow our play adventures, check out @miraculove_sg (Instagram), save our pins or join A Montessori-inspired Toddler Activity A Day Facebook Group.
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.