My oldest son and I took our dog for a walk yesterday afternoon and he did something that most adults would find very peculiar... Towards the end of our walk, while telling me he wanted to go home because he was feeling so tired, he simply couldn't resist picking up big chunks of snow and carrying them with us (see pic 😂).
This photo was taken a block from our house, right at the end of our walk.
Why would someone who's tired go out of their way to pick up heavy things and carry them around for no reason?
To an adult, this doesn't make any sense.
But this is what Dr. Montessori referred to as Maximum Effort and young children are drawn to it.
Like my son, who just couldn't resist picking up those chunks of snow.
You've probably noticed this yourself when your little one rushes to carry in packages delivered to your front door or insists on carrying things as big as they are!
Maximum Effort is when the child is engaged in “heavy work”, their efforts are heightened and they appear determined and focused.
If what your child is doing isn't dangerous, it's best to give them the space to do this kind of work to satisfy their need for it.
And while you might not love snow, it is fantastic for maximum effort activities. It takes a lot of effort to push it, move in it, roll it, lift it, etc, etc.
Dress appropriately and snow activities are great for children showing interest in heavy work.
6 Outdoor Maximum Effort Activities For Winter
Building a snowman
Making a snow fort or snow maze
Pulling a sled through the snow and up a hill
Making snowballs and throwing them at a target/in a bucket