Tag:

Motor skill development

Classroom Content Practical Life

10 amazing Valentine’s Practical Life Activities

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on and purchase products.  Please see the Disclosure Policy for more information.

 

Valentine’s Day is 13 days away, and I have begun decorating and planning for the Valentine’s theme. With it being the beginning of a new month, I am busy creating and putting together many new works and activities for all areas of my classroom.  The Practical Life area is no exception.  I try to change out my Practical Life activities and exercises at least a few times a month.  That way, the activities keep the children intrigued and happy to explore the Practical Life area of the classroom.

The Practical Life area in a Montessori classroom or home school is the area of the classroom where children develop the necessary skills related to the care of self.  Many of the works foster fine motor skills, grasping, cutting, transferring, and hand eye coordination.  These skills are a necessary precursor to writing, reading, and mathematical functions.  There are many activities that can be included in the Practical Life area; there are no limits as to what you can add!  It is important however to consider the different developmental stages of the children in your classroom.

For more information on the importance of the Practical Life area and a description of the other areas of a Montessori classroom, you can read What is all the hype about? A detailed look inside a traditional Montessori classroom.

Whenever possible, I like to tie in the Practical Life area of the classroom with the weekly theme.  There are so many amazing activities to do for Valentine’s Day, so this is a theme that we do for two weeks!  The pictures are of actual works in my classroom, and will be introduced one at a time over the next two weeks.  Take a look, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did putting them together!

 

 

10 Amazing Valentine's Themed Fine Motor Activities

 

1. Pink playdough with heart shaped cookie cutters in different sizes

Make heart shaped cutouts using playdough and cookie cutters

Materials:

  • a tray
  • playdough
  • heart shaped cookie cutters
  • rolling pin (optional)
  • a pair of scissors (optional)

Objectives:

  • grasping
  • fine motor skills
  • hand eye coordination

 

 

2. Hanging heart doilies with clothespins

Hang the heart doiles around the top edge of the basket using clothespins

Materials:

  • rectangular basket
  • heart shaped doilies
  • clothespins

Objectives:

  • fine motor skills
  • pincher grasp
  • pencil grasp

 

 

3. Heart bouquet

Make a heart bouquet using heart cake toppers

Materials:

  • plastic heart cake toppers
  • glass vase
  • a tray

Objectives:

  • fine motor
  • eye hand coordination

 

 

4. Heart shape cutting

Follow along the line and cut out the heart shape

Materials:

  • scissors
  • paper with heart shaped traced on it
  • hot dog tray

Objectives:

  • scissor practice
  • fine motor skills
  • hand eye coordination

 

 

5. Transferring plastic hearts with a small, flat spoon

Transfer the hearts from one bowl to many using a small, flat spoon

Materials:

  • a tray
  • 1 large glass bowl
  • plastic hearts
  • a spoon

Objectives:

  • pencil grasp
  • fine motor
  • hand eye coordination

 

 

6. Valentine’s Pony Bead Sorting

Using their fingers, pick out and sort all of the pony beads by color

Materials:

  • a tray
  • 1 large glass bowl
  • 3 to 5 small bowls
  • pony beads in different colors

Objectives:

  • fine motor skills
  • sorting
  • hand eye coordination
  • pincher grasp

 

 

7. Transferring heart shaped jewels using a tea infuser

Transfer all of the heart shpaed jewels from one bowl to the other using the tea infuser

Materials:

  • 2 glass bowls
  • tea infuser
  • heart shaped jewels
  • a tray

Objectives:

  • hand grasp
  • hand eye coordination

 

 

8. Transfer heart shaped beads with tweezers

Transfer heart shaped beads from one bowl to many using tweezers

Materials:

  • a tray
  • heart shaped beads
  • 1 large bowl
  • 2 small bowls
  • tweezers

Objectives:

  • fine motor skills
  • hand eye coordination
  • pincher grasp
  • pencil grasp

 

 

9. Transfer heart confetti using a meduim sized spoon

Transfer the heart shaped confettin from one bowl to the other using a meduim sized spoon

Materials:

  • a tray
  • -a medium sized spoon
  • heart shaped confetti
  • -2 small bowls

Objectives:

  • hand eye coordination
  • grasp

 

 

10. Pin poking heart shapes

Using a large push pin, poke around the heart shape close enough to be able to punch out the shape.

Materials:

  • a tray
  • a small bowl
  • a large push pin
  • a poke mat
  • heart shapes to poke

Objectives:

  • fine motor skills
  • hand eye coordination
  • pincher grasp
  • pencil grasp

 

 

Many of the materials in each of these activities can be found at the Dollar Tree, believe it or not! They havegreat Valentine’s themed itmes, perfect for any classroom or homeschool environment.   I get all of my trays, glass bowls, and many other items from there as well.  You’d be amazed at the wonderful finds and great quality classroom itmes they have!  Check out the Dollar Tree; you can even order in bulk online!  You can’t beat that!

 

I will be posting pictures of the children in my classroom doing all of these activities, so be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

 

 

Anitra

 

Classroom Content Montessori Extras Parenting

4 Ways to Get Your Child to Focus and Concentrate

By Anitra

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

 

Let’s face it. In the age where children and even adults are commonly diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) at am alarming rate, there must be something that can help to get people to focus and concentrate in school and at work.  There are many perscription medications that claim to help with focus and concentration, but at what risk to your overall health and well being?  Luckily, there are other ways to get similiar results that are failry cheap, easy and fun; all at the same time!

 

 

Getting focused and staying focused is not always an easy task for children and adults alike.  Some days it may easier than others to get focused and concentrate on the tasks of the day.  It does in no way mean that there is something wrong; most times it is just that other outside influences may be distracting and not allowing us to focus and concentrate as well as we need to.

 

Sometimes your child may just need to do a few simple tasks BEFORE they begin their day, or they may need to take a break during working so that they can regain focus and concentration.  These 5 activities that are listed in below can easily be done in a classroom or home school setting.  Many of these activities can also be done by adults, as every once in awhile we also need to refocus to complete our daily tasks as well.  The activities are children and adult friendly!

 

4 Ways to Get Your Child to Focus and Concentrate

 

1. YOGA

Yoga is a very beneficial and successful way to get a child focused and even increase concentration.  I use Yoga poses in my classroom very often; at least two times per week.  We do a few select poses before we begin our two hour Montessori work time, and I have seen great results from using Yoga.  If you would like to know more about how I incorporate Yoga in my classroom, click here.  There are many options for using Yoga in the classroom. Books, pose cards, music recordings, etc.

SUGGESTIONS:

Learn With Yoga ABC Cards for Kids, Set of 52

 

Yoga for Kids Music & Sound Recordings Fitness

 

 

2. PRACTICE AND ENGAGE IN MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness is a practice of noticing what is happening in the present moment.  Mindfulness makes you aware of your surroundings and can help in calming anxious or frustrated feelings, as well as help with focus and concentration.  It can be a way of recognizing your feelings and dealing with them in appropriate ways.  I was lucky to find a great resource for mindfulness, and have begun to slowly introduce the practices into my classroom.  They children have received it well, so I’m excited to add more mindfulness activities to my classroom routine.  To learn more about mindfulness and the Mindful Schools movement, please go to their website Mindful Schools for more information.

Example of a lesson from Mindful Schools:

SUGGESTIONS:

Sitting Still Like a Frog, Mindfulness Exercises for Kids(and their parents)

 

Mindful Movements, Ten Exercises for Well-Being Book with CD

 

 

3. PRACTICE BRAIN GYM EXERCISES

I first learned about Brain Gym exercises about five years ago.  I was working at a Montessori school and for one of our Teacher Training days, we had a Brain Gym workshop.  A Brain Gym professional consultant taught us some exercises to get the children to get their brains moving & awake and ready for the day ahead.  We learned twenty six movements and how to apply them along with proper techniques.  For more information about the techniques, process, and strategies go to the Brain Gym website.

SUGGESTIONS:

I have used a few of the Brain Gym products in my classroom in the past and had great results.  The official website from the creators of Brain Gym; Paul and Gail Dennison, have a great assortment of activities, books, and music to fit your needs.  My favorites are the Wooden Lazy 8 Track and The Brain Gym Activity Cards

I also use a similiar product to the Brain Gym activity cards.  They are by Primary Class, and can be found here.  I pick two or three cards to do with my class each morning or before lunch.  They really enjoy these cards by Primary Class.

 

 

 

4. PRACTICE AND ENGAGE IN MEDITATION

I have just begun to research and find out the benefits of meditation.  It can reduce stress and fosters clear thinking.  It involves clearing the mind and peacefully coming into a deep rest where you are basically not doing or thinking of anything.  It is like a sleep for your brain, in that it is at peace.  Meditation can be done with or without music, just as long as you clear your brain.  This one may be a little difficult to incorporate for the younger children in my class, since they are so very young.  I have yet to find a good method of introducing meditaiton to my classroom, but my suggestion below is a start.

SUGGESTIONS:

Peaceful Piggy Meditation

 

 

All of the activities and information listed above should be done with caution.  Please follow any instructions or follow any listed guidelines for any of the products.  I have first hand knowledge of how these activities have worked in my classroom of prescool aged children, and the results are very beneficial.  There are many benefits to incorporating these activities, and if you have a child that needs assistance in getting focused and needing to concentrate, it is definitely worth giving these ideas a try!

 

So…

 

Namaste!

 

Be Mindful!

 

Relax your brain!

 

Wake your brain up!

 

Enjoy!

 

Anitra

 

 

 

Art Montessori Extras Parenting

Easy Christmas hanging photo tree craft

By Anitra

 

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

It’s that time of year where shopping for gifts is in full spring!  I personally always LOVED when my daughters would give me handmade gifts for holidays; these are the ones that I still have and hold dear to my heart.  When children make things, they feel a sense of pride, accomplishment, and joy knowing that they created something so special for someone they love!

 

With that being said…Are you looking for an easy child made craft to give as a Christmas gift?  This hanging photo tree is fun and would make a great gift for parents in your classroom, grandparents, or other relatives!  I am actually making these this year in my classroom, and I am getting quite a few compliments on them from the other teachers in the school!  It is fairly easy and inexpensive, but it does require an adult’s aid. Hope you like our parent gifts for this year!

 

Christmas Hanging Photo Tree Craft

Materials/supplies needed:

clothespins

Christmas ribbon

-Beads (either Fused beads or Pony beads)

White wire hangers

Wire cutters

Hot glue gun

Hot glue sticks

Acrylic paint

 

Step 1:

Cut the wire hanger to your desired length with wire cutters.

 

Step 2:

Determine how many clothespins you would like your photo hanger tree to have, and paint them with acrylic paint.  I decided that six clothespins would be efficient, and I chose to paint them green.  Make sure to paint all sides of the clothespins.

 

Step 3:

Decide what kind of beads you would like on your photo hanging tree.  Put the beads on the wire base.  I decided to use the Fused Beads in green and red.  For the beads, I used fourteen of them, in alternating colors.

 

 

Step 4:

Put your freshly painted clothespins on your wire base.  Place each clothespin in between every two beads.  I also left two on each end to complete the look.

 

Step 5:

Using the hot glue gun, glue a fused bead onto both ends of the wire base.

 

 

Step 6:

Using the hot glue gun, glue the end of a pre-cut piece of ribbon onto the fused beads on the ends of the wire base.

 

Step 7:

Your hanging photo tree is complete!  Just add pictures and hang!

 

 

 

This was a really fun activity that the kids made.  The only part that I would suggest an adult do is cutting the wire hangers with the wire cutter and any part of the project using a glue gun.  Other than that, children can do the rest!  We will be wrapping these up for the parents and giving them for presents in a few weeks!  I’m happy with how they came out, and they didn’t take long at all to do.  I actually did 21 of these, and it didn’t take long at all!  The acrylic paint dries fairly quickly, so it made it easy to paint all sides in one day.

 

I hope you enjoy our craft, and hopefully you will make your own hanging photo tree!

 

Anitra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Parenting

Holiday gift ideas that are educational…and still fun!

By Anitra

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

 

Oh boy, it’s that time of year again…Christmas gift shopping time!  I know that many of you have probably already started (or even finished) your gift shopping, but there are many of you that haven’t started because you have no idea what to get your children.  There are many desirable toys out there right now, and trying to get your hands on the latest toy may be close to impossible.

 

As a mom, I understand how much you dread adding to your child’s already large collection of toys.  Toys that make noise, toys they begged for and no longer play with, toys that they haven’t played with in months, but if you try to throw them away or donate them, that will probably start World War III!!!

 

Sound familiar?…I had this happen to me over and over again; year after year.  Now that my girls are older, I don’t have to worry about this.  But for those of you who have younger children, I am here to help in your search for great gifts for your children that are educational, and yet, still fun!!!  Why not get them something that they can actually learn some valuable skills from?  The items on the list can educate your child in a variety of subjects; the body, rocks & minerals, geography, art appreciation, shapes, sorting, math, time, language, and one of my personal favorites, yoga! They are also for many ages, as young as birth and up to age 8!

 

As a mom and an educator, I tried to pick the best options that I would pick if my girls were still little.  I hope you enjoy my choices!

**Brief descriptions under products are from Montessori Services®, used with permission**

 

 

True-to-Life Human X-rays

Ages 5+

“Children can feel their bones from the outside through their skin and muscle. This x-ray set shows children what their bones actually look like. Showing the body’s outline around the skeleton, young children are able to relate the x-ray bones to visible body parts (arms, legs, etc.). Young children might assemble a 5′ 6″ skeleton with these x-rays or guess which body parts belong to which bones.” -Montessori Services®

 

 

Rock Science Kit

Ages 5+

“Children will learn to look for luster (the way a mineral reflects light) and hardness (measured on the Mohs scale), for example. This starter kit includes 15 numbered specimens that represent the full range of types of rocks, a small magnifier, and activity guide offering more test ideas for further study.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

Mineral Science Kit

Ages 5+

“Children will learn to look for luster, (the way a mineral reflects light), hardness (measured on the Mohs scale), and color (with a streak test) with this starter kit.  This kit includes 15 numbered specimens that represent the full range of types of minerals, a small magnifier, a nail and tile for testing, and activity guide offering more test ideas for further study.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

Shape Sorting Box

Ages 2+

“Toddlers love matching these simple blocks to the cutout shapes in the lid of the box. In fact, they love it so much they do it over and over!”-Montessori Services®

 

 

 

Yoga Pretzels Card Deck

Ages 4+

“Pick a card from any of nine categories and find an imaginative way to start your children bending, breathing, and stretching with yoga.  This mind/body practice develops children’s strength and flexibility, helps improve their concentration, and builds self-esteem. Engaging step-by-step illustrations show a playful, imaginative pose or activity on one side, with activity instructions or simple visualizations on the other. Try partner poses or choose a fun group game, such as “Yoga Pretzels.” The companion booklet helps any adult design a safe and fun practice for children.”-Montessori Services®

 

Beginner’s World Atlas

Ages 5-8

“Large, easy-to-read maps introduce youngsters to the world and each of its seven continents. Stunning photographs, carefully selected for their appeal, supplement the maps.” –Montessori Services®

 

 

Famous Paintings Cards

Ages 3+

“You’ll learn where Dali’s inspiration came from, why Magritte painted improbable scenes, how many dots are in a Seurat painting, and so much more.  These cards beg to be lingered over—looking at the painting on one side, reading the interesting facts on the back. Young children will enjoy the pictures; older ones will love the stories of the paintings and the artists; adults will find them engaging, too.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

Classic Judy Clock

Ages 4+

“The Judy Clock has movable hands and large, clear hour numbers on the face.  Grasp the knob on the minute hand to turn it and watch the visible, working gears simultaneously move the hour hand. Children clearly see that turning the minute hand one complete revolution causes the hour hand to move forward one hour.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

Sum Swamp

Ages 5+

“Take a skill-building journey through a whimsical land where adding and subtracting dice numbers determines your fate.  Players will master basic operations and learn about number relationships such as even and odd or “less than” and “greater than.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

Count Your Chickens

Ages 3-5

“All 40 baby chicks are out and the fox is loose. Young children will be eager to work together to collect the chicks. Picture-based play makes it easy for everyone to participate.  Spin the spinner, count the spaces together, and move the mother hen. Then return that many baby chicks to the safety of the coop.  A very appealing way to learn and reinforce counting skills.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

Happy Hats Beginning Reading Game

Ages 4+

“Play and read with your favorite characters from the popular Bob Books® series.  Children explore initial consonant and short vowel sounds as they form simple words. For each word they create, they collect a “Happy Hat.”  Includes board, 44 hat token, 40 word ending cards, 4 characters & stands, spinner, a word list, and complete instructions.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

My First Dictionary

Ages 5-8

“A brilliant bridge between a picture dictionary and a text-only dictionary! Early readers will find a picture clue alongside the definitions for words selected with early readers in mind.  Alphabetical listings help children look up and decipher unfamiliar words. Includes tips for parents and nine dictionary games.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

A few other great gift ideas…

Do you have a child that LOVES books?  Well, Scholastic has a wide selection of books that any child will love!!  Simply search by age, author, or title!

Scholastic Books 

Do you have a younger child or infant?  MontiKids provides quality, educational Montessori products for children birth to three years of age.  Check out their toy timeline, which gets more challenging as your child works their way through each level!  Materials sent directly to your home every three months!

MontiKids

 

 

These are some of my favorite products as an educator.  Many of these products I have even used before in my classroom, so I have first hand knowledge of how awesome they are!!  I hope that I helped you out with your shopping list for your littles, and I wish you a happy shopping season!!

 

Anitra

 

 

Sensorial

Fun & easy to make Flubber!

By Anitra

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

Young children benefit greatly from sensory experiences.  They use their senses to explore and discover the world around them.  Exposing children to tactile activities helps with the growth in physcial abilities, cognitive and language skills, and social and emotional development as well.  Tactile experiences are sometimes overlooked when educators prepare early childhood environments, but the importance of sensory/tactile experiences is something that should not be left out of a young child’s everyday learning activities.

There are many ways to add sensory/tactile experiences to your curriculum; playdough, water tables, sand tables, and shaving cream are just a few.  There are endless everyday items that can be used as sensory experiences for young children.

 

Looking for a fun and easy activity to add a tactile activity to your homeschool or classroom curriculum?  Make Flubber!

Flubber. Slime. Putty. Whatever you’d like to call it, it’s fun, ooey, gooey and is super easy to make!  There’s just one rule to making flubber…get your hands in it! Smush it, mush, squish it with your hands so that you can make sure it gets mixed well.  All you need is  three simple items, and you can make flubber in no time.  You will definitely be a hit with your own children or children in your classroom.

 

I have made this particular flubber for many, many years.  It is always a favorite in my classroom.  You can use cookie cutters with it, cut it, roll it, or spread it out…whatever you’d like!  It adds a little different element to tactile learning than playdough, and it is just as fun!  Below are the simple and easy steps to making your own flubber.

 

Making Flubber

 

Materials needed:

Purex Sta-Flo Liquid Starch

Elmer’s School Glue

Colorations Washable Tempera Paint (any color)

Bowl

1 cup measuring spoon

1 teaspooon measuring spoon

Silicone spatula (optional)

 

                      

 

 

STEP ONE:

Measure out 1 cup of Purex Sta-Flo Liquid Starch into the measuring spoon.  Pour into the bowl.

 

                           

 

STEP TWO:

Measure 1 cup of Elmer’s School Glue into the measuring spoon.  Pour into bowl with liquid starch.

 

 

STEP THREE:

Measure 2 teaspoons of Colorations Washable Tempera Paint into the mixture in the bowl.  (I chose orange to go with the Fall theme).

 

                    

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:

Using spatula and or your hand, mix everything together.  Keep mixing until all of the liquid starch, glue, and paint are blended well.

               

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:

Next, take the flubber mixture and place it into a ziploc bag.  It is normal for it to be very wet and stringy, so don’t worry.  Once it is in the bag, you can mix it a little more by squishing it and mushing it.

 

 

The flubber will need time to sit and form.  You will need to let it sit for at least a few hours, maybe longer.  You want it to not be super wet, and for all of the liquid starch and glue to be as one.  If it is still stringy and really wet, let it sit for awhile longer.  Keep the flubber stored in the ziploc bag in between uses.  Flubber lasts anywhere from two to four weeks, depending on how often it is used.  Use your discretion on if you feel the flubber should be thrown out.

 

Flubber is an easy, fun, and simple way that you can add a great tactile element to your curriculum.  It’s awesome for adults too!!

 

Enjoy!

Anitra

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Art Montessori Extras

Simple & Easy DIY Rainbow Crayons

By Anitra

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

Crayons…who doesn’t love coloring!! I personally still LOVE coloring, and try to color as often as possible.  It is very relaxing and calming to either color a pre-made coloring sheet, or to just grab some crayons and make whatever I feel like!!  Do you color?  If not, you should pick up a new hobby…coloring!  There are so many amazing “adult” type of coloring books out now, this is a newer trend.

 

Working in a preschool classroom means there are many, many many broken, peeled, tiny and even chewed on crayons.  It is what happens in this environment.  If you have children, I’m sure that you’ve encountered such instances with crayons around your house as well.  You normally collect all of the broken, peeled, tiny and chewed crayons and put them in the trash.  They have little to no use…or do they?  Actually, they do!  You can use your old worn crayons and make Rainbow Crayons out of them!! Rainbow Crayons are fun and children have a great time helping with the process of making them.

 

Turn these…

 

 

 

Into these…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Rainbow Crayons: A Step by Step Tutorial

 

 

Supplies Needed:

1 6 cup muffin tin (I got one from the Dollar Tree, so I wouldn’t ruin my cooking one)

broken crayons

oven or toaster oven

 

STEP 1:

Gather as many colors of broken crayons as you can.  You want your rainbow crayons to be just that; rainbows!

 

STEP 2:

Peel your all of your crayons.  This can be a very long, tedious process, so if possible enlist the help of the children!  It is a great fine motor skill development activity for them!

 

 

        

 

 

STEP 3:

Break up the crayons into small pieces.  About half an inch should do the trick. Again, this process takes awhile, so have the children help you; as much as they can.

 

 

 

STEP 4:

Fill the muffin pan with the broken crayon pieces.  Try to get a good variety of colors in each cup, so that the colors are evenly distributed.

 

 

STEP 5:

Put in the oven.  I used a toaster oven.  I set it for 350 degrees, and set the timer for ten minutes.

 

 

                      

 

STEP 6:

Take out of oven and let cool for at least thirty minutes.

 

 

STEP 7:

Once completely cool,  remove crayons from muffin pan using a sharp knife.

 

 

    

 

 

STEP 8:

Your Rainbow Crayons are ready for use!  Enjoy!

 

 

Rainbow Crayons are so fun and as you can see, so easy to make!!! Beware though, once you make your children at home or at school Rainbow Crayons, they will “accidentally” break crayons and bring them to you to save for more Rainbow Crayons.  This happens to me almost daily; I had to gently remind all of the children in my class to be careful and take better care of the crayons.  I told them not to worry, we have PLENTY of broken crayons in our broken crayon bucket to make more Rainbow Crayons in the future!!

 

I hope you enjoy and use this step by step tutorial to make Rainbow Crayons to introduce into your classroom or homeschool soon!!

 

Anitra

Save

Save

Save

Classroom Content Montessori Extras

What is all the hype about? A detailed look inside a traditional Montessori classroom

By Anitra

You’ve probably heard about all the hype and craze surrounding Montessori and Montessori schools. Anything and everything from the teaching method,the classroom environment, child led activities, and Montessori materials.  But what does all that mean?  The Montessori method is a very unique, very distinct, very individualized learning environment with a proven way of teaching young children.

 

The materials, along with the carefully prepared environment, is what makes Montessori, Montessori.  There are various areas and activities of a traditional Montessori classroom.  This is what sets a Montessori primary (preschool) classroom apart from other preschool classrooms. Many people have heard of Montessori, but haven’t had the opportunity to actually see inside or visit a classroom.  Please be aware that there are many different Montessori run schools, each individually owned and operated; so unfortunately not every Montessori school classroom will be set up or run exactly the same.  With that being said; I try to keep a traditional Montessori classroom.

 

Curious to learn and find out more…?   The pictures are from my actual classroom that I currently teach in.  The shelves are child sized, with age appropriate, enticing materials.  The common item you will notice in most Montessori classrooms and materials is wood.  The use of natural wood for the shelves and materials, along with neutral wall colors, is meant to soothe the senses and and the attract the children to the beauty of the room.  Montessori classrooms differ from other preschool classrooms in that they are calming, peaceful, and uncluttered.

 

 

LANGUAGE AREA

 

“Language lies at the root of that transformation of the environment that we call civilization.” -Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 98

The Language Area is composed of phonetic sound recognition, three letter phonetic word building, four letter and more phonetic word building, and blends & phonograms.  The three letter words make up the Pink Level, the four letters and more make up the Blue Level, the phonemes and hard & soft letters make up the Green Level.

 

The Pink Level also covers word families, picture to

word matching, and easy phonetic sentences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blue Level also covers beginning & ending

consonant blends, and complex phonetic words

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Level also covers silent “e”, double vowel consonants, phonemes, and hard & soft letters

 

I also have opposites, parts of speech, sentence building & writing, and even antonyms & synonyms.

 

 

MATH AREA

 

“The results we obtain with our little ones contrast oddly with the fact that mathematics is so often held to be a scourge rather than a pleasure in school programmes.”-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 170

The Math Area is composed of number recognition up to ten, mastering the teens & tens, and working on numbers up to one hundred.  This area also covers simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even division.  More complex works include place value, the clock, and fractions.

 

Number recognition from one to twenty, with various materials & activities to master these skills

 

Simple addition, the tens work, & the hundred board all round out the Math Area

 

 

Telling Time, Place Value & Fractions are the

more advanced Math activities

 

 

 

SENSORIAL AREA

 

“And if we look at the sensorial apparatus which is able to evoke such deep concentration…helps also to the development of the mathematical mind.”-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 170

The Sensorial Area is composed of activities that engage the senses of the children.  There are activities for smell, taste, and hearing; and various materials that promote sight and touch.

 

Sensorial materials to manipulate sizes, color,

touch and hearing

 

Complex materials that introduce geometric shapes, as well as tasting & smelling materials

 

 

 

CULTURAL/GEOGRAPHY AREA

 

“…the child’s mind can acquire culture at a much earlier age than generally supposed, taking in knowledge is by certain kinds of activity which involve movement.”-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 157

The Cultural and Geography Areas is the area of a Montessori classroom that frequently changes.  It is an area where new activities can be added on a weekly or monthly basis.  These areas are composed of science, botany (plants), zoology (animals), geography, and art.  This is by far one of the busiest areas of a Montessori classroom.

 

 

Study of continents, seasons land, air & water                                  Botany, zoology, & insect puzzles and magnets

 

 

Geography Maps

 

 

PRACTICAL LIFE AREA

 

“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

The Practical Life Area is another area of a Montessori classroom that changes frequently.  The Practical Life Area has many components to it that make it the most important area of a Montessori classroom.  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.

 

Other activities include food preparation work,

and using tongs & tweezers

There are also washing activities, bubble making,

table setting, and water activities

 

 

 

All of the areas in a Montessori classroom contribute to the development of the whole child.  As stated before, not every Montessori classroom will be furnished and set-up exactly the same.  In quality, true to Montessori schools and classrooms, you will see similar setups and materials.  One of my favorite areas is the Practical Life Area, I like to come up with fun water work activities, food preparation works, and washing activities.  I like to add variety, and add activities that promote the individual needs of the children currently in my classroom.

 

 

 

Now can you see what all the hype is about?!  Trust me, the pictures just give you a small glimpse of what a Montessori environment looks like.  Can you imagine how wonderful it is to see the children actively working in a Montessori classroom…it’s PRICELESS!!

 

Anitra

Save

Save

Save

Back 2 School Montessori Extras

10 back to school or homeschool activities to give your child a leg up on learning

By Anitra

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

 

Whether your child is going back to public school, preschool, or it is time to get back to your homeschooling routine, it means that it is time for your child to buckle down and get back to the academics.  In most cases, the time your child spends at school or preschool is not enough for them to them to master, learn, and even practice many skills necessary for their academic success. Phonetic letter sound recognition, number recognition, the ability to communicate effectively & use problem solving skills, and fine motor skills are all important aspects that are customary for children to know and master.

 

 

 

 

 

I have parents all the time asking me if there is something that they could be working with at home with their child.  I normally tell them to have their child read (if they are a reader), and advise them of a few resources for them to possibly purchase and/or add to their home.  As a teacher, I do not have just one academic area that I find is important over another one.  In my opinion, they are all equally important, and play an important part in the development of the whole child.  It is important to incorporate all aspects of a child’s development, as well as finding ways to promote fine motor, cognitive skills, and critical thinking skills.  Trust me, no teacher would be disappointed to have a class of well rounded students!!

 

The activities I chose for the list are ones that can be used in a variety of ways and incorporated for use at home as extra support, for your homeschool, or in a classroom to enhance your curriculum.  I have direct knowledge and have used many of these items from the list in various ways either in my classroom or as an addition to my curriculum.

 

 

10 Activities that can used as extra support for your child’s academic learning

 

Add & Subtract Abacus

The Add & Subtract Abacus is for three to six year olds.  It comes with a wooden base and the double-sided wooden boards.  The colorful beads make it easy to distinguish between each of the numbers.  This work is a way to explore numbers, colors, patterns, addition, and subtraction!  It is very multi-functional.

     Self-Correcting Alphabet Letter Puzzles

The Self-Correcting Alphabet Puzzles are for four to six year olds.  The wooden puzzle pieces have a colorful object for the corresponding letter sound on one side, and letters from A to Z on the other side.  The interlocking pieces make it easy for young children to self correct and promotes independence and success!

Alphabet Puzzle Cards

The Alphabet Puzzle Cards are for four to six year olds.  The interlocking alphabet cards come in a great wooden box for easy storage.  The self correcting interlocking pieces insures that the puzzles are solved and matched correctly!  These puzzle cards promote independence and

Wooden Letter Alphabet Magnets

The Wooden Letter Alphabet Magnets are for three to six year olds.  There are fifty two magnetic upper and lower case letters, that can be used for spelling, stenciling, matching upper and lower case, and for building words!  These letter magnets are great for all kinds of language ideas!

Self-Correcting Number Puzzles

The Self-Correcting Number Puzzles are for four to six year olds.  The wooden puzzle pieces have colorful, objects on one side, and numbers from one to twenty on the other side.  The interlocking pieces make it easy for young children to self correct and promotes independence and success!
World Map Floor Puzzle – 33 Pieces

The World Map Floor Puzzle is for six plus years old.  Although, we a little assistance, I don’t see why a four or a five year old couldn’t be successful with this puzzle.  The puzzle pieces are made with an easy, clean surface.  This puzzle map is perfect for introducing and learning about the continents of the world.

Turn & Tell Wooden Clock

The Turn & Tell Wooden Clock is for four to seven year olds.  The wooden base and large numbers make it easy for your child to be introduced to and practice telling time.  It has clickable hands to help mark off the minutes, it details hour, minute, half past, and quarter past.  There are also 13 double-sided time cards for practice as well!  This all-in-one clock is perfect for learning to tell time.

U.S.A. (United States) Map Floor Puzzle – 51 Pieces

The U.S.A. Map Floor Puzzle is also for six plus years old.  I believe that with a bit of assistance, a four or five year old would be able to do this puzzle in its entirety.  The extra thick puzzle pieces make this puzzle durable. This puzzle is great for introducing, learning, and studying all 50 States!

Magnetic Wooden Numbers

The Magnetic Wooden Numbers are for three to five year olds.  It comes with enough numbers to count from zero to twenty, and it includes five number signs as well!  These magnetic numbers can be used to introduce counting, number recognition, and simple addition & subtraction!

See & Spell Learning Toy

The See & Spell is for children four to six years old.  You can use the letters to spell the three and four letter puzzle words, spell other words, or use the letters as a stencil.  The cardboard puzzle boards and pieces are built for long lasting durability.  This is a spelling and fine motor activity wrapped into one!

 

 

Adding one or many of these activities to your child’s daily teachings will put your child on the right path to mastering many of the necessary skills needed for their future learning.  The activities are adaptable and allow for use in a classroom or homeschool environment, or just as a supplement at home for your child.

 

Anitra

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save