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Themed Activities

Classroom Content Math Montessori Extras Practical Life Themed Activities

13 December Practical Life Activities for home or school

By Anitra

 

With November slowly coming to an end, it is time to shake up the shelves and add some December themed activities to them.  Changing out the activities frequently; but not too frequently, keep the children engaged, interested, and excited about working in the Practical Life area.  For those unfamiliar with the Practical Life area in a Montessori classroom or homeschool, it is the area that has many components to it that make it the most important area of a Montessori classroom.  They learn many practical, self help & care skills; hence where the name Practical Life stemmed from.  Since children learn basic working, concentration, and eye-hand coordination skills, it is the prerequisite to all of the other areas in a Montessori classroom.  Activities could include spooning, using a ladle, pouring, scooping, and cutting.  This is by far the busiest area of a Montessori classroom.

 

As Maria Montessori stated,“Activities here build on the child’s natural interest and help him develop good work habits, concentration, eye-hand coordination, a lengthened attention span and control of his body.”-Maria Montessori The Sense of Childhood, pg. 1.

 

Pictures of my classroom Practical Life shelves

 

 

If you would like more information about the Montessori Primary (preschool) classroom and all the areas of the environment, please click here to read my post where I describe in detail the Montessori environment.

 

I like to keep the work on the shelves fun and if possible, theme related.  For December, my themes are snow, Antarctica, Winter, Hanukkah, and Christmas.  The 15 December themed activities are actual activities that I use in my classroom.  I have tweeked, added to, and taken away various activities over the years, but this is my set up for this December.  I hope you enjoy them!

 

13 December Themed Practical Life Activities for home or school

 

 

1. Using tongs to transfer large jingle bells

Children love transferring objects.  This work is great for that!

 

 

2. Stringing large bells on pipe cleaners

This is a more complicated work.  It takes patience to string the bells on the pipe cleaners.  Some challenges are good for them!

 

 

3. Spooning “snow”

This spoon is wide and flat.  It is good to have a variety of different sized and shaped spoons for transferring works.

 

 

4. Using a ladle to scoop Christmas peppermint erasers

Using a ladle is another way to add variety to your activities.  The children LOVE the themed erasers as well!

 

 

5. Using a small spoon to transfer snowflake erasers

It may seem repetitious, but having the varying sized spoons adds a different element.

 

 

6. Using a medium spoon to transfer one to many with snowman erasers

Transferring one to many adds another element to a an activity.  It adds an option that wasn’t previously used in the other works.

 

 

7. Using tweezers to transfer small jingle bells

Tweezers are great for transferring objects.  They are a little more challenging than using tongs.

 

 

8. Using a tea infuser to transfer snowman erasers

A tea infuser is a very unique tool to use for transferring.  It allows the child to use their “squeezing” capabilities.  It is a favorite!

 

 

9. Building a snowman

Make and put out the pieces to build a snowman.  A top hat, a large circle, a medium circle, a small circle with eyes & a nose, and add a few buttons.  Children have everything they need to build a snowman!  This is another favorite in my classroom!

 

 

10. Art sponge-painted polar bears

White paint, a small sponge, a polar bear stencil, and blue construction paper make for a fun polar bear!  I have them “dab” the sponge up and down to give the textured look of fur or snow.  These are FUN to make!

 

 

11. Making a snowman

Make a snowman with a snowman and hat template.  On the tray there is a pencil and crayons, so after the children trace the snowman and the hat, they can decorate their snowman as they like!

 

 

12. Hanging felt snowflakes with clothespins

Using clothespins, children will pin the felt snowflakes around the outside of a rectangular basket.  This is another favorite, and has been proven to be difficult at first, but they end up getting the hang of it!

 

 

13. Pin-poking a snowman

Using giant sized push pins, (after receiving a lesson on the safety of the push pins), children can poke around the outside lining of the snowman.  If they take their time, follow along the black line, and place their poking close together, it is easy for the snowman design to be punched out.  They then can take it home!  Pin-poking is a favorite by EVERYONE in my class!

 

 

BONUS!!!!! A couple of Math December Themed activities!!

14. Snowman counting with buttons

Children can practice their counting skills with these snowman labeled zero to ten.  The children can count and place the corresponding number of buttons under each snowman.  This is another favorite!

 

 

15. Mitten counting with felt snowflakes

Similar to the snowman counting, children practice their counting skills with the mittens labeled one to ten.  The children count and place the correct number of snowflakes under each mitten.

 

There are so many other amazing ideas that I incorporate into my classroom during the month of December.  So many that I am probably going to put together a “Part II” of the December Themed Activities for home or school, and include more of the math and language themed activities.  Be on the lookout for that in a week or so!

 

If you noticed, I use very simple, easy to find materials that I get from either the Dollar Tree or the 99 cent store to put together my activities.  There are two main reasons for that: One, they are cheap, and if something gets broken; no big deal, I’ll just replace it since it only cost a dollar!  The second reason is that you can put together a shelf full of activities for around $20.00!!  Is that not amazing?!

 

I hope that I was able to inspire you and encourage your creative juices to go out and get some materials and put together some of your own amazing activities for December!  Now get out to those dollar stores and get to finding some great stuff!! Happy Hunting!

 

Anitra

 

Themed Activities

Top 20 Halloween Books for Young Children

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

The theme in my classroom for the next two weeks will be everything pumpkin and Halloween related.  We will cover the pumpkin life cycle, the parts of a pumpkin, discuss Halloween, and do many art projects related to the theme.  I have so much information, art projects, and books to share with them that I feel that spreading it out over two weeks is a great way to cover it all.  I really enjoy teaching themes that are two weeks in length, because I know that I have some great information to present to them!!!  If you’re interested and intrigued to see more about our two week Pumpkins and Halloween theme, please check out daily updates on Instagram and Twitter.

 

With such an extensive theme with a lot to talk about and cover, I thought that it would be great if I shared a list of my Top 20 Halloween Books for Young Children.  A theme wouldn’t be complete without a great collection of books.  If you know me or if you’ve been following my blog, you know that I am an avid collector of books!  I personally own and have read each book on the list and a few have actually become my favorites over the years!  I chose books that are humorous, silly, and have great stories and illustrations.  This collection of books is great for any classroom, homeschool, or your child’s home library!

 

Top 20 Halloween Books for Young Children

 

 

1.

If You’re Spooky and You Know It

If You’re Spooky and You Know It is a Halloween-themed twist on a classic.  It has witches, skeletons, werewolves,mummies vampires, and Frankenstein clapping their hands, nodding their heads,stomping their feet, jumping up and down, honking their nose and dancing all around!

 

2. Five Little Pumpkins

Five Little Pumpkins is an interactive finger play song/riddle where children can join along and count with each pumpkin.  It is fun, engaging, and has easy to remember text.

 

3. Ghost in the House

Ghost in the House is about a ghost in a house that creeps along and meets other friends.  This book includes counting and repetitive text, with a fun and exciting ending!

 

4. Happy Halloween, Stinky Face

Happy Halloween Stinky Face is about a boy who is curious and filled with questions about Trick or Treating.  His Mama has all the right answers for his questions, and reassures him he will have a fun night!

 

5. The Night Before Halloween

The Night Before Halloween is a Halloween twist on another classic.  This book talks about the preparations of the haunted house before Halloween night, and discusses the fun the children have on Halloween night!

 

6. Even Monsters Need Haircuts

Even Monsters Need Haircuts is about a boy who after hours, cuts the hair of the monsters and ghouls in his father’s barbershop.  It’s a normal night of cutting hair until an unexpected visitor comes to the shop.

7. This is the House That Monsters Built

This is the House That Monsters Built is a remake on the classic, The House that Jack Built; with a vampire, a ghost, a mummy, a witch, a black cat, a black widow, bats, and Frankenstein.

 

8. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything is about a little old lady who takes a walk through the forest and encounters some interesting ‘characters” along the way and declares that she is not afraid of anything.

 

9. The Biggest Pumpkin Ever

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever is about two mice who grow a pumpkin for the town pumpkin contest.  They are quite surprised when it is one of the biggest pumpkins the town people have ever seen!

 

10. Pumpkin Eye

Pumpkin Eye describes the sights and sounds on the streets on Halloween night.  It has fun, rhyming text, that captures your attention.

 

11. Crankenstein

Crankenstein is about a boy who is cranky, irritated, or angry but just not on Halloween, but always!  A very fun, silly book that will surely make you laugh!

 

12. Five Little Ghosts

Five Little Ghosts go on an adventure to find somewhere to play and have tons of fun.  It has great, rhyming text and a fun story.

 

13. Skeleton Meets the Mummy

Skeleton Meets the Mummy follows Sammy the Skeleton on a trip through the dark woods before he goes trick or treating.  He finds that someone, or something is following him!

 

14. Pumpkin Party

 Pumpkin Party is a fun, rhyming book about the fun of a pumpkin party!

 

15. The Littlest Mummy

The Littlest Mummy is about a family of mummies.  Mae, the youngest and littlest mummy was too little to be scary, wear srappings, or dance at the bash.  But, she was not too little to make a friend!

 

16. The Haunted Ghoul Bus

A boy accidentally boards The Haunted Ghoul Bus one day, and had no idea of what his time on the ghoul bus would bring!

 

17. The Ghosts Go Haunting

The Ghouls Go Haunting is a great Halloween twist on the classic, The Ants Go Marching.  It is fun, spooky, and a silly Halloween story!

 

18. The 13 Nights of Halloween

The 13 Nights of Halloween is a twist on another classic, The 12 Days of Christmas.  It is equally as catchy, fun, and easy to sing along with!

 

19. 10 Busy Brooms

10 Busy Brooms is a great witch counting book with fun, silly text and great illustrations!

 

20. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat!

The old lady is back at it again!  But this time with a Halloween theme.  There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat is just as silly, hilarious, and crazy as all the other books in this series!

 

I hope you enjoyed my list of Halloween books.  I’m sure that many of them will become your favorites for many Halloweens to come!

 

Anitra

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Montessori Extras Themed Activities

Activities, books, & ideas for Apples/Fall unit study

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

With the first day of Fall approaching on Friday, September 22nd, I am gearing up to begin a two week unit study of Fall and apples with my classroom.  Although here in sunny Southern California, it is far from feeling or looking like Fall.  The hotter Summer temperatures have slowly started to subside, and we’ve seen cooler temperatures this week, but we are from fro Fall weather.  Even though the Southern California weather is not fall friendly, I still am excited to start our Fall and apple unit study.

For the next two weeks; starting Monday; I will teach the young children in my class about how our environment changes for Fall, different leaves, the parts of an apple, how apples grow, and the different types of apples.  We will have apple tasting, and vote for our favorite apples, examine the insides of an apple, make leaf rubbings, and an apple blossom tree…just to name a few!

 

 

There are many books out there that could go with the study of Fall and apples, but I have chosen to share with you my favorite three books.  I have used each of these books over the years, and have found that these cover many of the topics and areas that I teach rather well.

 

Top 3 favorite books for Fall and apple unit

 

 

A Day at the Apple Orchard

 

By: Megan Faulkner & Adam Krawesky

A Day at the Apple Orchard follows a group of children through the apple orchard.  They pick apples, taste them, and make juice & cider.  The book also describes the life cycle of an apple blossom tree, and shows the growth through the different seasons.  This book is great when teaching how apples grow, the proper way to pick apples, and things that can be made from apples. It also discusses why it is important to protect apple blossom trees for continued blossoms.

 

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt

By: Steve Metzger

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt is a twist on the classic We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.  The children go on a hunt over the mountain, through the forest, around the waterfall, and across the lake.  Along the way, they find red oak leaves, hickory leaves, birch leaves, and maple leaves; until they encounter an unwanted guest!  This book teaches about different leaves, and is fun and entertaining!

 

Apples for Everyone

By: Jill Esbaum

Apples for Everyone has beautiful pictures that detail how apples grow, the different kinds of apples, talks about Johnny Appleseed, and discusses the history of apple trees.  This National Geographic Kids book has colorful and amazing photography that makes this book a favorite of mine.

 

 

I can’t wait to start our unit study of Fall and apples.  I have so many science, fine motor, art, language, and math activities planned for the next two weeks!

 

Want to follow along as we learn about Fall and apples?  Interested to see how our unit study unfolds?   Be sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for pictures of all of our activities and fun!!  I hope to see you there!

 

Anitra

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