Meaningful Transfer Activities

A practical life skill toddlers need to develop in Montessori is the ability to transfer small objects from one container to another either by using a small ladle, a scoop, tongs or pouring activities involving pitchers of water and cups. 

I tried, I really did try, but I didn't think it was going to work with Tips Jr. I was using dry pinto beans and eventually the beans were just thrown all over the room and he had lost sight of the activity. I guess dry pinto beans just feel too inviting to not use one's hands as the means of transferring them from one bowl to another. 

But then one day I had an epiphany and I realized I really needed to start thinking outside of the box more with my little Montessorian since what works for other children won't necessarily work for him 100% of the time. Anyway.... that thought of thinking outside the box came AFTER the epiphany, which was this - use his breakfast cereal as the object that needs to be 'transferred'. And it worked! This little boy would want to eat his breakfast cereal so much that he would diligently work to transfer the cereal to his bowl with the scoop - a result I never got with the beans! In the end, all he needed was a meaningful transfer activity - something that actually did apply to HIS life and his needs and wants.

He worked at it even if he was only able to keep one cereal in the scoop before getting it to his breakfast bowl!
I don't have it pictured here, but I did start pouring some milk (just enough milk for his cereal) from the gallon container into a little pitcher and putting it on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Then, after he finished transferring the dry cereal to his breakfast bowl and putting that away, he would walk to the fridge, open it and take out his little picture of milk and carry it to his little table to pour it on his cereal.

The only problem is that one day he got impatient with the scoop and started using his hands to transfer the cereal to his bowl.... and then soon after that he stopped even eating his cereal and milk in the morning. So now we eat bananas every morning for breakfast and the transfer activity has taken a back seat for a while.


marjie said…
Thankyou! My daughter will not go NEAR a lesson with sand paper letters unless she wants to write a particular word (usually a name on an envelope as she likes to give "prizes" to others) then she asks for the letters and for me to spell it out for her. She then diligently traces the letters with her two fingers and does an incredible job of writing!I know this is not strictly "correct" but she needs to be able to directly apply her knowledge. Fantastic idea with the cereal. Must try it as my younger son LOVES transfers but sadly they often end in the same way you described!

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