19 - 21 Months

The Montessori activity you already have in your house

So often, the best activities use ordinary household materials. If you have two containers, a spoon, and any kind of grain, you can try a fun Montessori activity that works on fine motor and resilience, while teaching a practical skill at the same time.

Here’s how to do this classic Montessori transferring activity:

You’re going to need

  • A tray with a low lip (optional, but good for containing messes)
  • Two containers
  • Small beans, rice, lentils, or anything small and spoonable
  • A small spoon that can hold a lot—Chinese soup spoons are perfect if you have them

How to do it

  • Fill one of the containers about ½ full of grain, put both containers on the tray, and set it in front of your child. 
  • Demonstrate the process by first picking up the spoon between your thumb and middle finger (thumb on top). With your other hand, hold on to the container of grain and scoop some into the spoon.
  • Slowly move the spoon over the empty container and show how to tip the spoon gently to pour the grain.
  • Do this as many times as it takes to empty the first container and fill the second. When you’re getting close to the end, show how to tip the container to collect the last grains.
  • Take both containers off the tray to look for any spilled grain. If you find some, pick it up and try to use a pincer grasp (thumb and index finger).
  • Now it’s your child’s turn. Encourage patience and let them know it’s not a race—they can take their time. Spilling is part of the process 🙃

Extensions and alternatives

  • If your child is getting frustrated, try using larger items like small rocks, uncooked beans, or large nuts
  • Use a different type or size of spoon
  • For more of a challenge, make the empty container small enough that your child will have to stop spooning before the first container is fully empty


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Posted in: 19 - 21 Months, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Real World Play, Montessori, Playtime & Activities, Child Development

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