My recent read, the "Memory-Making Mom" book by Jessica Smartt, really struck home and brought to mind poignant moments from my childhood. Unsurprisingly, my most unforgettable memories were of family traditions and rituals associated with special occasions.
As a mom, it is now my turn to create traditions and rituals for my little family the way my parents did. It doesn't matter how simple the traditions and rituals are. They key is to do them with consistency and continuity, together as a collaborative family effort.
My goal is to introduce to my toddler all the holidays of the year, so she gets an understanding of why certain days of the year are more important than the rest and how those days could be celebrated. Having this knowledge broadens her perspective of the world, as well as deepen her appreciation for different cultures and customs.
The fast approaching Easter holiday is no exception.
Introducing Easter to my Toddler
I explain to my toddler that Easter is a day for celebrating new life and welcoming springtime.
With the help of the "Easter Surprise (My First Lift & Learn)" book by Tiger Tales, I shared with my toddler object and symbolic associations pertaining to Easter. I like that this book shows real, enlarged photographs of relevant Easter objects, from fluffy bunnies, spring blossoms, decorated eggs to little chicks.
9 Montessori Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers!
As an extension of the Easter book reading, I created a fun collection of 10 Easter Montessori-inspired activities for my toddler to partake in. I hope to reinforce her learning of Easter through these hands-on activities.
These activities are varied, ranging from sensorial exploration, matching and sorting, math learning, arts to fine motor refinement.
1. Easter Themed Stereognostic Bag
Stereognostic Bags (also known as Mystery Bags) help to develop children's tactile senses (ability to identify materials based on touch alone) and enhance material visualization.
I made an Easter themed stereognostic bag with a number of small objects that my toddler is familiar with -- a soft bunny toy, a carrot wooden toy, measuring spoons (associated with hot cross bun making) and sheep figurines (associated with springtime on farms).
For this activity, I encouraged my toddler to select an object inside the bag, feel its texture, shape and size, and name the object. Then, my toddler takes it out of the bag to place on the table, and we determine if the object was correctly identified. I like the way it gives my toddler a sense of accomplishment to have her hypothesis proven right.
This activity also promotes language development as rich vocabulary could be used in the play conversation.
Matching and sorting:
2. Uppercase Lowercase Matching Puzzles
These handmade learning puzzles might not look as polished as store-bought ones, but are unique (there are limited Easter themed puzzles around) and useful for alphabetic learning.
I wrote uppercase and lowercase letters on egg shaped cardboard pieces cut into puzzle halves. I did not write the lowercase letters in cursive font (because my toddler recognises printed lowercase letters) but I would recommend them to be for toddlers starting out in lowercase letter learning.
These uppercase lowercase matching puzzles are self-correcting and enable children to independently explore and do trial and error learning.
3. Alphabet Letter Matching
This letter matching activity was inspired by Sharpening Arrows and reinforces letter recognition and knowledge. For older children, it's a way to learn the spelling of new words.
I drew circles in an Easter egg, labelled the circles 'HAPPY EASTER' and provided letter dot stickers for my toddler to do letter matching work.
This activity could also be modified for color matching to reinforce color recognition.
4. Bunny Tail Color Matching
This is an easy activity to set up for toddlers to do bunny tail color matching. The completed bunnies could be strung into an Easter garland for festive home decoration.
I cut bunny silhouettes from colored construction paper, drew circles where the bunny tails are located and provided dot stickers of corresponding colors for my toddler to do the matching work.
This activity is also a good way to practise math counting and one-to-one correspondence.
5. Dot Stickering Hot Cross Buns
Hot cross buns are spiced sweet buns marked with a cross on the top in white icing, traditionally eaten on Good Friday, and have become symbols of Easter celebration.
I cut bun shapes from cardboard scraps, used a white marker to draw circles in white crosses and provided white dot stickers for my toddler to sticker within the circles.
A nice follow-up to this activity would be the singing of "Hot Cross Buns" nursery rhyme.
6. Easter Rock Painting
Inspired by Happy Hooligans, I provided open-ended art materials for my toddler to try her hand at Easter rock painting -- large smooth pebbles, acrylic paint, paint palette and a paintbrush.
Paint on the white pebble was more visible than on the grey pebble but any detailing (dots and lines) made didn't show up clearly. I presume more layers of paint were required for the acrylic colors to mask over the natural pebble color.
The painting session didn't last long enough for my toddler to pile on more paint layers so I decided to wait for the paint to dry and add detailing using a white permanent marker.
The white pebble turned out looking galactical while the grey one looked tribal. I adore the art outcomes. These painted Easter egg rocks would be great for Easter hunts or Easter basket decoration.
7. Easter Egg Loose Part Decoration
This is a non-messy art activity that allows toddlers room for self-expression and creativity. There is no right or wrong when it comes to exploring and utilising loose parts and they can be manipulated or put together in myriad ways to produce different outcomes.
I provided my toddler with a felt Easter egg as the base for the decoration work and supplied colorful loose parts -- ribbon scraps, buttons and beads.
She explored and investigated the items, laid them on the felt base and shifted them around constantly. I couldn't capture her decorative attempts in time (alas!) but i reminded myself that the process art is just as important as, if not more, the outcome.
We did collaborate once and this was the result!
I love how this activity could be repeated time and again, independently by toddlers.
Fine motor refinement:
8. Easter Egg Threading
This Easter egg threading activity is good practice for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Threading also builds soft skills like patience, determination and focus.
I cut an egg shape from a white carton box, decorated it to look like an Easter egg, punched holes around the border and provided a shoelace for threading.
Tip: I chose a shoelace with a tapered tip so it was easier for my toddler to weave it in and out of the holes.
9. Egg Hatching Scissor Practice
This idea originated from Ms Stephanie's Preschool and was perfect for my toddler who has been diligently practising scissor use with one hand (a transition from two). This activity requires advanced motor planning and well-coordinated bilateral hand movements.
The setup is simple -- cut Easter eggs from colored construction paper, draw zig-zag lines, and provide a pair of zig-zag scissors for toddlers to cut along the jagged lines. My toddler is using the IKEA MALA zig-zag scissors.
An extension of this activity could be helping older children learn which animals lay eggs (oviparous) and which animals have live births (viviparous). Pre-K Pages has a great post to teach preschoolers and kindergarteners about species laying and hatching eggs.
As an early introduction to this concept, I read the "Who's Hatching? Tap-tap-tap" lift-the-flap book with my toddler, which depicts a lizard, alligator, chameleon and turtle hatching from eggs.
I hope your toddler enjoys these 9 Montesori-inspired Easter activities. Happy Easter!
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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.