Writing in the Sand

April begins our new study of plants, flowers and things that grow!  Carter caught me switching out materials last night, so he woke up ready to go this morning.  I did manage to get him to finish half of his breakfast before we dove into the first activity.

He first chose the sand tray.  I can’t say that I blame him.  Though it was so simple to make, the feeling of drawing in the sand is such a peaceful and relaxing one. I had to play with it for a bit last night.  I used an aluminum baking tray (the size meant for toaster ovens) and some superfine craft sand that I had laying around from my artsy crafty days.

I introduced the sand tray to Carter by showing him that letters can be formed in the sand using our fingers.  I watched him draw letters and make up words: CEET=SEAT.  When his finger turned into a racecar and began to make roads through the sand, I took that as my cue that he was ready to move forward.

Next, I used some leftover card stock from my cutting adventures (which you will see the results of throughout the month in various activities) to make some short words and simple pictures for him to use with the sand tray.  Be sure to stick with short words, unless you have a BIG tray.  And, I am a fan of computer generated ANYTHING, but it’s also important that you model drawing and writing for your child often.  This is one way.

And, I wanted to share something from yesterday evening.  While I was making dinner, Carter pulled out an activity from the past.  As you can see, I had already began to reuse the construction paper for other things, so I’d marked the place setting paper off his interests.  But last night he brought it back out for the purpose of a snack party with some of his fluffy friends.

But then, sometimes walking around with a cool box on your head is more fun than anything!  I couldn’t help but think about the movie Parenthood with Steve Martin.  (They made fun of his child for walking around with a box on his head.)

Enjoy and thanks for your comments!

This activity can also be seen on One Hook Wonder’s Montessori Monday.


Setting the Table

Setting the Table

Carter is 3 years, 3 months old.

You will need:

Small plate (to fit on the paper)
Large sheet of thick paper
Black marker
Table Knife
Dessert Spoon


1.                Put the sheet of paper on the tray along with the cutlery and the plate. Ask your child to take the tray to the table. Remove the paper, put it in front of the tray.

The Materials for Setting the Table

2.                Say, “I am going to match up the plate to the one on the paper.” Trace around the plate with your finger, then trace around the outline to show that they match.

3.                Say, “Can you match up the cutlery with the outlines on the paper?” Encourage him to match up the items.

Matching the Pieces

Matching the Pieces

(You can add extra items like a glass or napkin, but only show where they would go. The next step is to take it off the paper and have him do it by memory, using the paper with traced objects to check.)

Extension of Activity

Conclusion: Matching the items was very easy for Carter, but once I took the paper away, he didn’t understand.  He wanted the paper back to continue to play the matching game.  He brought the paper back to the table.

I’m sure the reason he didn’t get it is because in our everyday mealtime at home, we do not formally set the table.  We simply put out a plate and a fork or spoon.  So, to help him understand I brought out 4 of each item and told him a story about 4 friends coming over for dinner.  He set the places for them at the table, but then wondered when his friends would be there to eat.  (I have to smile at how literal a 3 year-old is)  To make it worth our while, Carter went into his room and brought some of his stuffed friends to the table.  He took their orders and “served” them food.

Table for 4

The Friends Come to Eat

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