15+ Montessori Inspired Explorations for Three Year Olds

Our Montessori days become more and more filled with learning and exploration. I aim to dedicate at least one hour each day to support my daughter in working with activities from our learning shelves. She recently turned three, and her inquisitive mind draws her naturally to it. I always try to respect her choices in activities, sometimes, I take her by the hand, we walk to the shelf, and I offer her a selection of two activities she hasn’t chosen on her own. My goal is to work with her on each task until she is ready to do it without assistance.

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About once a week I rotate materials on our learning shelves and create new learning opportunities.  I would love to share with you our favorite explorations. We only recently got our first bunch of Montessori materials and started to incorporate them into our preschool Montessori environment.

This memory game was the most attractive exercise. Very simple, yet requires so much concentration. We play this game with the color cards (color tablets) and Noah’s Ark Animals.

Here’s how to do it:

Animals and their homes montessori nature sort matching free printables sign up
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  • A child takes all the animals out of the basket in random order
  • Then he or she finds matching animals and places them next to each other
  • One of each animal is placed in a mystery bag, one in the basket
  • The basket with animals can be placed in another room
  • A child puts a hand in a mystery bag trying to guess the animal he or she is holding (can do it with a blindfold), pulls it out, and places it on a mat
  • Then he or she goes and brings the matching animal
  • Repeat for the rest of the animals.
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We started to learn numerals with The Sandpaper numbers using The Three Period Lesson.

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The Metal insets became very popular soon after appearing on the shelf. You can watch the presentation here.

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As I predicted the Cylinder blocks are impossible to walk by. We have been working on extensions and soon will start to use a blindfold to bring an extra challenge to it. Here is a straightforward presentation of the Cylinder blocks lesson.

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We focus a lot on Practical Life activities with our 3-year-old at home. Montessori practical life activities are designed to enhance the development of a young child’s motor skills, concentration, coordination, independence, and self-confidence. These activities provide an opportunity for children to learn basic life skills, such as pouring, slicing, tying, folding, and cleaning. By involving young children in these activities, parents can help them develop a sense of responsibility, pride, and accomplishment, while also fostering a love of learning.

To present orange juicing with a manual juicer practical life Montessori activity to a preschool child, follow these steps:

  1. Set up the workstation: Choose a sturdy table with a non-slip mat or place a thick towel under the juicer to prevent it from slipping. Place a bowl to collect the juice, a small pitcher to transfer the juice, and a piece of cloth or sponge to wipe up any spills.
  2. Explain the activity: Introduce the child to the manual juicer and explain how it works. Show them how to cut the orange in half and place it on the juicer. Tell them to twist the juicer handle to extract the juice.
  3. Demonstrate the activity: Demonstrate the activity step-by-step and explain each step as you go along. Let the child observe and ask questions if they have any.
  4. Let the child try: Once the child has understood the activity, ask them to try it themselves. Help them hold the orange and guide their hands as they twist the handle.
  5. Serve the juice: Pour the fresh orange juice into the small pitcher and serve it to the child. Encourage them to taste it and comment on the flavor.
  6. Clean up: Show the child how to clean up the workstation by wiping it down with a cloth or sponge and putting away the juicer, bowl, and pitcher.
  7. Encourage exploration: Allow the child to explore the juicer on their own, placing different fruits and vegetables on it to see what happens. This will help them understand cause and effect.
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Here are some examples of learning explorations I have out for my three-year-old child.

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We love using Montessori principles in our home. It’s nothing short of a genius. When I see Montessori magic unfold in my child, I get motivated to do more and dig deeper.

Learning printable for hands on explorations you might find helpful in your classroom

About Anastasia - Anastasia is an early childhood teacher and the founder of Montessori Nature - a blog about Montessori living and learning and nature-based explorations. With many years of experience working in a Montessori environment and homeschooling her children, she directed her passion for all things Montessori and nature into creating educational resources. You can learn more here and browse her printables on Teachers Pay Teachers.