For those who are considering using the Montessori method to homeschool or are currently doing so insha'Allah, I wanted to share this activity insha'Allah. This is another activity that is used in Montessori education. This activity helps develop object permanence in infants about 9 -12 months old. You can buy the object permanence boxes used in Montessori classrooms but some of them can cost as much as $54.00 (ouch!). You can see some object permanence boxes here insha'Allah. But all I did is hop over to the craft store and bought a wooden box with several drawers. You can even make one using a box that has one drawer like the Q-Tip Boxes.
What is object permanence? This term refers to the idea that an infant does not realize that an object still exists even though it is no longer in sight/view. When an infant reaches the milestone where he/she develops object permanence, the child then realizes that yes, an object does still exist even when he/she cannot see it.
This activity also helps a child practice fine motor skills which will be used later in writing. This is accomplished when the child uses the 'pincer grasp' (using the thumb and first finger to grasp something) to open the drawer. Through this activity the child also has an opportunity to develop hand-eye coordination and finally the child is able to work on object permanence insha'Allah. To do this activity with your child you will need a box or container that has 1 (or more than 1) drawer insha'Allah.
If you use a box like the one pictured above, first be sure to cover it with construction paper, or something similar, in a solid uniform colour (you want to avoid using more than one colour so the infant is focusing on the objective of the activity and not the different colours of the box). You can cut a hole in the shape of a circle on the top of the box and invite your child to drop a ping pong ball into it and then open the drawer to locate it insha'Allah. Be sure to demonstrate to the infant how to do this before you invite him/her to do it on their own. If you use the prayer rugs, you can simply open the drawer (no need to cut a hole in the top of the box) and show the infant that you are hiding the prayer rug and then ask him/her where is the prayer rug and allow them to open the drawer to find it insha'Allah.
If using a box or container that has more than one drawer like the one pictured below, you will do the activity in the following way insha'Allah: Sit with the infant across from you or next to you insha'Allah. I strongly recommend using a mat (called work mats in Montessori education) because this helps the infant understand and delineate a defined workspace insha'Allah.
Wait until you have the infant's attention and then tell the infant that you are going to hide the prayer rug insha'Allah. When you are sure you have the infant's attention, slowly open the drawer (or one of the drawers if your box has more than one drawer) and put the prayer rug inside. Ask the infant, "Where is the prayer rug?" Invite the infant to find the prayer rug. Do not be concerned if he/she opens the wrong drawer. The child will self-correct after doing the activity several times insha'Allah. Allow the child to open all of the drawers until he/she finds the prayer rug. When they find the prayer rug, simply smile and say "Jazakum Allahu Khayr. Yes, that is where the prayer rug was."
You can print out the prayer rug images here or design your own insha'Allah. The prayer rugs in my file are about 6 cm x 3.2 cm so you may need an image that is larger or smaller depending on your box. For durability, mount the prayer rugs on sturdy cardboard or cardstock insha'Allah.