Monday, 24 November 2014

Introducing... the Bean Lab!


Pouring beans from one jug to another... back and forth... endlessly...
 
A classic Montessori exercise that strengthens hand muscles, improves hand eye coordination and concentration through repetition. One that only some children take to.
 
Finn has never, ever, been attracted by a tray containing two jugs and a handful of beans, no matter how many times I offered it.
 
Classic Montessori tray
 
 
This, though?
 

We call it the Bean Lab!

Containers of different shapes and sizes, a variety of utensils, LOTS MORE BEANS, and the permission to make a mess offer him many more possibilities for exploration.
 
Not only does he pour, but he also scoops, transfers, uses his (sometimes wild) imagination to make concoctions, learns to level the top of containers, finds out which containers are equivalent in volume, and so much more.


He spent most of today working at the Bean Lab and even found out he could make slides out of Pringles boxes to make some kind of a marble run for beans!
 
So, which of these two set ups get your vote? Which one do you think your child would enjoy most?

9 comments:

  1. The Bean Lab gets our vote! Throw in a Schleich animal or two and I wouldn't see Elise until dinner! ;) Formal transferring lessons rarely get repeated at our home - they just seem kind of meaningless. I guess they are a good way to introduce a particular skill, but I think something like your Bean Lab set up is far more engaging to little hands and minds,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How funny that you mention animals, because yesterday Finn was pretending he was feeding the beans to an imaginary bird :) I think the Bean Lab is well suited for home, and I would love to give it a go at nursery too.

      Delete
  2. Oh, we must try this! My 2.5-yr-old will love it. :) When I give him beans and two glass creamer jars to pour between, that works for a short while, but then he begins doing other things with them, they end up on the floor, etc. This looks much more appealing. And it's all contained in the plastic bin, not on the floor! What are the two objects beside the wooden spoon (between the spoon and the wooden bean box)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tara, thanks for your comment! The two objects are caps that Finn stole from our radiators :) Let me know how your son liked the Bean Lab when you try it!

      Delete
  3. Looks like a lot of fun! Not sure I would consider it a Montessori activity though. No real control of error. Super fun for exploration and development of skill. I'm sure you will be able to put those skills into purposeful work soon, if you want to. Sounds like you're enjoying Bean Lab right now, and that's great too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carrie, thanks for your comment! No, no control of error, because you can't make mistakes with this! Personally, I think that's a strength of the set up. I think too many "right or wrong" activities can undermine a child's confidence and self-esteem...

      Delete
    2. Interesting, as I see huge growth of self-confidence and self-esteem once a child can do an activity successfully! "I did it Mommy!" I see an activity like Bean Lab perfect for exploring and development of creativity, and along the way developing some independent skills of pouring, scooping, transferring. I was thinking about how many people struggle with the preliminary practical life exercises of Montessori. I think many people use them when the child the doesn't really need it. It's not connected to a real purpose, such as pouring a glass of milk, scooping dog food, sifting flour, using a funnel to pour water into a vase, etc. So it has a very limited time period of usefulness (only until the child can successfully pour without spills). I also think in the classroom a preliminary pouring is repeated more as children use it to settle into their new environment. A child doesn't go through this process of adaptation in the home. I love your bean lab, I just don't think it has any comparison to a preliminary practical life Montessori activity.

      Delete
  4. I like the name for it. My son loves pouring water from pitcher to pitcher. Actually he loves pouring any and everything from container to container but he also loves the open exploration too... Here he is with a very big rice lab. Lol!

    Transferring rice: http://youtu.be/abgEGaZTICQ

    ReplyDelete
  5. We made our own black bean lab this weekend and Lotus loved it. Of her own accord she had been rummaging around the pantry getting out the bags of beans and lentils and sitting down in a corner with them with what seemed to be the intention of opening them. I was just about to tell her we can't open them when I remembered your bean lab! I quickly got out a big plastic box and some bowls and scoops and cups and let her loose with the beans. She was so happy and very soon turned it into imaginative play making cups of black bean tea for me to drink!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...