January 29, 2010

Teaching Poker at a young age

I have two quick Montessori tips for you this morning (this cold morning where I woke up to a thermometer reading -10).

The first is a how-to for those of you who want your children to become professional poker players.  Bear's well on his way...

What?  You're not in to that kind of thing?

Ah, that's OK because it turns out, using poker chips with small children teaches them many skills beside when to hold and when to fold.

To do this activity you will need a box with a removable lid.  Champ made Bear's box out of wood, but even an old shoebox could do the trick.  Cut out a slot in the center of the lid sized so that the poker chips can fit through easily.  If you don't have chips,  buttons could be substituted.

Fill a bowl with a small handful of chips and model for your child how to take each poker chip, one by one, and place it through the slot.  Once all the chips have been used, demonstrate how to remove the lid, retrieve the chips and start over.

It's such a simple idea, but it teaches children fine motor skills, allows for them to practice opening and closing something, develops their pincher grip to prepare for writing AND because it's self correcting, it serves their individualism.

If you have an older kiddo, you can use this activity to teach advanced counting skills, or use a piggy bank and brush up on coin identification.  

Practical Life skills are a major component of the Montessori education.   We make homemade pizzas pretty regularly around here and since Bear loves to help, it's a great place for me to develop these skills.  If you have children, you probably encourage practical life skills without even knowing it, but I thought you could use a little snapshot of how I incorporate them into pizza night.

I give Bear his own hunk of dough and model how to roll it out.  I roll out my pizza while he "rolls" out his.  He has his own little bowls of sauce and cheese and toppings to put on his pizza while I make mine.  I talk about what I am doing as I prep my pizza and he  preps his pizza right beside me. 

I've gotta say, the first few times we had cheese and sauce everywhere, but he caught on quickly and now actually saves me time by preparing his own pizza.

Have a great weekend everyone, STAY WARM OR ENJOY THE WARMTH YOU HAVE!


Shell said...

Thanks for the tip! The boys keep trying to play with dh's poker chips, now I can say that it's educational1

Catherine Anne said...

You make me laugh~ GREAT post!

Emmy said...

We're making our own pizzas tonight! We did it last week and the kids loved it.

Darlene said...

You are truly teaching Bear some great motor skills at a young age. Way to go!!! We will just stay in and stay warm this weekend. Lexi's two basketball games have been canceled tomorrow due to all of the ice and snow.

Aimee said...

Your tip about the poker chips is also extremely beneficial for any kids with motor delays. My son Fiver (7) has been in occupational therapy for a loooong time and these are the kinds of exercises that his therapist does with him -- we also follow up at home with other fine motor exercises.

Good tip - stay warm! :)

Pam said...

How creative! These skills are so very important not only for fine motor, but congnitive skills such as thinking, planning and organization. I used to love cooking with the kids in my classes. Don't forget when the weather gets nice - SAND. Sand and water tables used to be standard in early childhood classrooms, rarely now, do you see that. Soemthing to look for when selecting a school! Enough on my "soap box", enjoy the beauty and fun in your winter wonderland!

Erin said...

He's so cute with his rolling pin & dough! I love it! Great idea!

Kate@And Then I Was a Mom said...

And I bet that poker chips activity burns a little time on looong winter days, yes?

Mrs. Bird said...

Oooh, practical life was my specialty ;) Great post! One of my favorite activities, and the kids loved it too, was cutting up a sponged into cubes and then letting them squeeze out the water with a garlic press. Seriously, they could focus on that forever. Even the two's :)

alita said...

That is fun! Domo, my 2 year old, would LOVE this! What a fun post.

I have never had the boys make pizza with me, but what a great idea. They L-O-V-E making pie and rolling out the dough with me. They are very involved in the kitchen actually. I love cooking with them. I never even think that I'm teaching them anything because it so much F-U-N!

Jennifer Campbell said...

You fit so well with Montessori!!! My kids love to cook with me as well! We are definitely not making pizza's, but other things!

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