A "side note" before I get started on marbles. :-) Yesterday, T. was playing with this toy (left) putting the shapes on any which way. So I sat down next to him and showed him the shapes and colors and "tried" to get him to match it accordingly but no way was that going to happen. He was getting frustrated with me so I backed off and let him do it his way. He really hadn't matched anything yet up to this point. He's 2 years.
So later I made a really simple matching activity for him. I placed each eraser on the tray stating the name (great for vocab building) and in the cup was another set of the same erasers. I showed him by saying "match frog." And placed the eraser on top of the frog. Then I'd pull another one out. "Match bear." Placed the bear on top of the other bear and so on. Then I put the second set of erasers back into the cup and said, "Trent do." And he did it! He played with that his own way quite a few times. Today that number stacking toy was chosen again and he had them all over the floor then decided to go play with the nuts and bolts. Um. Hmmm. :-) So we did our typical, "Trent, clean up. First clean up then play." So I started placing the shapes on every which way. He told me "No! No!" and fixed it! Did it all. The picture was in the middle of the whole thing but he did correct them all on his own. Even pointed to the shapes and counted "3, 4" for most of them. LOL The teacher in me had a GREAT BIG SMILE!
Today we did an old favorite...marble painting. One benefit of having such a small group (usually no more then 6, sometimes I have 7 as A. is old enough not to be "counted") all the time is that I can allow for more choice making with paper color, paint color and so on. Working in a center-based preschool, that was a little more difficult...definitely more time consuming! And a bit more expensive when it came to paint. So, definitely a plus here. I'm always looking for ways to allow for children to make choices and live with them.
* Marble painted M Moose. We just did moose and I thought, this fall, I'm going to work it so that we can make a marble painted M Moose. :-) Have the child cut out a block letter M out of card stock then marble paint it brown. Add antlers and other features.
* Transferring activity: use a measuring spoon or other utensils such as tongs to move marbles from a bowl to a peg, golf tee, or to the suction cups of a bathroom mat.
* Displacement Activity/Water play: The children always enjoy when I place large and small marbles with their water play. Intentionally place several different sizes of bottles so that each bottle requires a different amount of marbles to displace water.
* Sorting: The children love to hear the "ping" of a marble on a metal surface. Anything that makes noise of course. :-) So, sort marbles by color or do counting with marbles in a muffin tin.
* Allow them to make their own "marble works" by taping aluminum foil/wax paper tubes together. If you have mailing tubes you can use golf balls, ping pong balls and so on.
* Place a marble inside of a sensory bag (such as gel or paint) to add another fine motor component. They'll naturally try to move that marble around in their bag.
* Use a different amount of marbles inside a set of bottles, all the same and preferably not transparent. You can use these for listening activities. Order them from softest to loudest. You may wish to make another exact set and they match the sounds.
Of course, use marbles only when you are supervising as they are choking hazards. Have fun!