This is an update/addition to my previous post Montessori Knock-Off, which listed other ways to create Montessori type learning activities on the cheap (or free).
Here's another one we did recently (outside). Sand play!
A tray to keep the spills 'contained', dollar store funnels, small strainer, see-thru Tupperware container, small container to pour with & SAND. You can use just about any containers you have really, as long as they are see-thru.
We also used our 'root viewer' to play with (the test tube looking thingies in the wooden holder).
You get the idea from the pictures on how this was used. This was a 30 minute activity and it left her wanting more when playtime was over. She was fascinated with the disappearing sand and the process of transferring it on her own.
To start her off, I demonstrate an action for her. Then I ask her to try it on her own and congratulate/encourage when she does. I then let her continue play without any instruction, unless she asks for help.
It was fun to watch her figure out different things on her own and variations of what we did together.
Now BEWARE, there's a reason we did this activity outside. So, it turns out...the tray doesn't actually contain all the spills.