Category Archives: Summer

Montessori Monday–Assembling a Flashlight, Paper Punching, and Spindles, Oh My!

Assembling a Flashlight 2

This week, Dora and I started her preschool work officially. She really loves having a room just for her homeschooling work. She was very enthusiastic about the trays I had set out and even did some other work that had been out all summer, but she was never interested in. Our first project of the week was a flashlight tray. To mix things up I put out two flashlights, one that uses “D” batteries and one that uses “AA” batteries. I am really glad that I set out both flashlights! I had thought that the smaller flashlight would appeal to Dora more, which was true, but I had not realized how much harder that flashlight was to assemble. The spring on the top was very springy and she just couldn’t master pushing down on it, while turning it at the same time. You can see in the above photos that she was very determined to master this and tried a variety of approaches. What you don’t get to see, is her falling apart, because she just couldn’t put the top on, no matter how hard she tried (I did not take pictures of this, as I was trying to help and comfort her). She was eventually able to assemble the “DD” flashlight, but it was just a consolation prize, as far as she was concerned. In the photo below, you can see how I laid out he tray.

Assembling a Flashlight 1

We also tackled paper punching. Dora was not able to use the regular hole puncher, but fortunately I had set out some scrapbooking paper punches also. She spent hours on this activity. She would punch out a whole bunch of shapes and then glue them onto another piece of cardstock. I even promised to buy some more punches soon.

Paper Punching 1

For math, she did some spindle box work. She pretty much has this work down pat and I will probably be retiring this from our shelves soon, which makes me feel a bit melancholy.

Spindle Box Work 1

She also worked with the red rods. She got them lined up, but not quite in order. I asked her if something didn’t look quite right and she said, “Oh yeah”. She then proceeded to take one of the smaller rods and add it to a longer rod to make the longer rod the right length for the slot she had put it in. It was a creative solution and a great introduction to addition, if not quite the intention of the activity!

Red Rods Work 1
She worked with the graded nuts and bolts board and I was surprised by how much her fine motor skills have improved since spring!

Nuts and Bolts Board

Finally, she brought out the sound cubes, which really surprised me as she usually is very resistant to all of the auditory, tactile, and olfactory sensorial work.

Sound Cubes

This is another item that I will probably retire soon as it really is rather easy for her. Sigh… I know all to well how quickly kids grow up, given that Primo is turning 21 this week, and I am actually looking forward to Dora becoming more independent, but still it makes me a bit sad to be finished with any of her preschool supplies.

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Labels: Math, Montessori, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Montessori Monday – Face Painting

Face Painting 1
I would have never though to face painting as being a Montessori activity, but my mind was changed by Dora’s recent exploration of the activity. Last month, Dora was introduced to face painting at our local children’s museum. Up until this point, I had  managed to divert her attention from the face paints there. I honestly did not feel comfortable with her using face paints from a communal set and I worried that she might be allergic to the paint, as my children tend to have sensitive skin. She did not break out from the face paint, but I still could not get over my aversion to using a communal set of face paints. So I purchased a set for our home. I had hoped to find the same brand of face paint sticks that the museum uses, but couldn’t find any without wrappers (perhaps they peel them before setting them out?). So after a lot of research, I purchased the Klutz Face Painting Kit, because it uses Wolfe Brothers brand face paints and from my research, this seemed like the best brand. As soon as it arrived, I separated the paints from the book, as I wanted Dora to be able to feel free to explore her face and how she could alter her appearance and not feel constrained to doing more traditional face painting designs, such as the ones shown in the book. She has been using the paints every day since they arrived and I am going to need to order more soon. I am going to try the Wolfe Brothers’ brand sticks this time though.
The one thing that I not appreciated about face painting, was how much sensory input and fine motor skills are involved in painting your own face. Dora was mesmerized by trying to figure out how to paint what she wanted on her face by looking at her reflection. Face painting requires the child to use the visual and tactile senses in tandem and in an unique manner. For the most part, Dora has been painting her face in dark colors, in an effort to be a “scary dragon” and “scare” everyone in the household. One day, she painted her face with a more exotic design. It made her look really freaky, but kind of cool at the same time.
Face Painting 2
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Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Labels: Arts and Crafts, Montessori, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Montessori Monday – Another Fun Game for Tactile Sense Work

Months ago, I posted about Ruff’s House, a great game that we have found works better for us for working on tactile skills than the traditional Montessori materials do (i.e. Ruff’s House can work as a much cheaper alternative to the fabric boxes, grading tablets, and baric tablets) . We now have found a second, more challenging game, called Laundry Jumble Game. In this game, the child draws a card that shows them (no reading required) which laundry item they need to find in the “washing machine”. Since many of the fabrics feel very similar, one really needs to use one’s hands to explore each item’s shape. If the player retrieves the correct laundry item, he gets to keep the card. He then puts the laundry item back in to the “washing machine”, the next player draws a card, and so on. 

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Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Montessori Monday – Summer Light Box Fun

 

Putty Bubble TitleI’ve blogged before about the fun we’ve had playing with our light box, in particular, we enjoy playing with translucent homemade putty on the light box. We haven’t brought the light box out as much recently, but as the rain here has continued almost endlessly, we’ve been getting more creative with our indoor fun. So the other day, Dora asked me to make some putty for the light box. She had completely forgotten about some of the things we did with it. When I got out the straws to make bubbles in the putty, she was incredibly amazed. First she tried poking it with her finger, Putty Bubble 1then she asked to try to blow bubbles herself and this time she was able to blow them all by herself! Putty Bubble 3Finally, she felt the need to arm herself with an oven mitt for some reason, that I still don’t quite understand…

Putty Bubble 5

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Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Montessori Monday–More Woodworking Skills

Slotted Bolt Board 2

Dora continues to be interested in using tools, as I am still very busy with various DIY projects right now (I learned today that stripping porch rails is much more work than it looks like!). So I brought out two more woodworking boards. The first board that I introduced to Dora was the slotted bolt board from Montessori Services. I wasn’t sure if she was going to  be able to do this board and at first it didn’t seem like she could. She continued to work with it by herself during the week, however, and was able to unscrew the screws all by herself by the end of the week. I was pretty amazed!

Nuts and Bolts Board #1

The second board I brought out was the nuts and bolts set #1 from Alison’s Montessori. Even though I had originally considered this to be more of a sensory activity, due to the size sorting, I believe that this was actually the more physically challenging of the two boards. A great amount of physical dexterity is required to remove the nuts and caps from the bolts, especially with the really small bolts. She was very interested in this activity, but was quickly fatigued by it.

What practical life and sensory activities have you been doing at your house lately? I’d love to hear some new ideas!

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Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Pipe Cleaner Sun

Styrofoam Sun Tray 2

This week, Dora and I continued to look at space, focusing on the sun. We watched a BrainPOP Jr. episode about the sun and then made a Styrofoam and pipe cleaner sun. I spray painted the foam yellow earlier in the week and cut the pipe cleaners in half. Poking the pipe cleaners in the foam created a very interesting tactile sensation as we could feel the Styrofoam crunching. Dora found the sensation to be a bit disconcerting and eventually wanted me to be the one to inset the pipe cleaners so that she could remove them. For all you Montessorians out there, the fine motor skills required to stick the pipe cleaners into the foam would qualify this activity as practical life work also.

Styrofoam Sun Tray 1

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Labels: Montessori, Science, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Montessori Monday–Vegetable Gardening

Strawberries 1

This week, Dora and I did some thinning of our vegetable garden. The carrots are super crowded, because she just dumped all of the seeds when we were planting. Fortunately, the pumpkin plants are more spread out. I actually planted the strawberries by myself. They arrived as tiny starts. We were supposed to get 50, but I only got about 35 out of them, of which only about 25 have taken root.

Apple Blossoms 1

Amazingly, Dora’s apple tree is doing really well, for having just been planted. It looks like it will be budding soon.

Apple Sorting Set

I also set out a fruit tonging/sorting set. Though she has sorting down, she doesn’t have much patience for spooning, tonging, chopsticking, etc. these days. So she ended up just using her hands to sort the set.

What about you? Are you doing any fun Montessori activities in your house?

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Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

An Option to Montessori Tactile Activities

One problem that we have encountered with using the Montessori method in our house is that Dora will not, under any circumstances, wear a blindfold. She also loves to peek when trying to match items, so asking her to close her eyes has not been an option for us either. This has made using the fabric boxes, thermal tablets, baric tablets, and grading tablets very difficult, to say the least. Recently, I stumbled upon a game, called Ruff’s House, from Learning Resources. The game is essentially a plastic (eek, plastic, I know!) doghouse with a little stuffed dog, and twelve pairs of bones that have different textures. The doghouse has a rubber flap opening that allows a player to reach in the doghouse without seeing what’s inside. You put one from each pair of bones in the house and the other bones in a pile. The player choses a bone from the pile and then tries to find its match inside the house. The materials that the bones are made from include satin, fleece, corduroy, spikey plastic, smooth plastic, and more. Dora had a lot of trouble with this game at first, but can match them all now (most of the time).

After playing this game, I realized that a similar game could be made with a drawstring bag and the various Montessori boxes and tablets, much like the matching common objects and geometric solids bags that people use.

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Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Trees Montessori Style

Tallest Tree Stacking Tower 1

As we continued with our tree theme, I brought out a set of cardboard stacking blocks, which I had bought months ago from a consignment shop. The set replaced and older set, which had been used and abused, such that it was falling apart. Dora seems to like these cardboard blocks much more than the pink tower, probably because she can knock them over after she has built with them. I, of course, prefer the pink tower blocks because of the added challenge of the blocks all being the same color. This added challenge became extremely apparent this week. While she still struggles to build the pink tower, she built this new cardboard tower of blocks in about 10 seconds flat. Another aspect that I about the pink tower is that it can be combined with the brown stairs for various extension activities. Nonetheless, cardboard building blocks, such as these also play a roll in our household. One thing that was kind of neat with these particular blocks was that they formed a tree on one side.

Tree Puzzle

We also used a Montessori tree puzzle to study the parts of a tree. Finally, Dora planted her dwarf apple tree, which I posted about earlier. We didn’t do any other Montessori-related activities, because we were too busy enjoying the sunshine!

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Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Montessori Monday–Egg Tray

Egg Tray

This week I set out an egg-themed sensory tray that was inspired by a product from a ASCO Educational Supplies in the UK, who doesn’t even post their prices, so I am assuming is incredibly expensive (not to mention the charges for international shipping). So I created my own tray of multisensory eggs with some cooking implements. The cooking implements proved to be unnecessary and went straight into Dora’s toy kitchen. The eggs, however, have been a huge hit. I either made them, bought them on Etsy, or found them at thrift stores. There are wool felted eggs and nest, wood eggs of various sizes and colors, a tin nesting egg, a sea glass egg, some marble eggs, a stone egg, a paper mache egg, a wood egg wrapped in beads, a carved wooden egg, a crochet bird, nest, and egg with button closure and baby bird inside. Some of the eggs are so beautiful, I plan to keep them for myself afterwards and am going to start collecting eggs. The photo just does not do justice to the carved wooden egg, marble eggs, or stone egg. The carved egg literally brought tears to my eyes when I opened it. It is from an Etsy store called Happy Flying, and came all the way from the Ukraine. The stone egg is also from Etsy, from Our Planets Treasures and once again, my photo just does not do it justice, it is gorgeous! The beautiful and glittery marble eggs are from a store in India called Raw Simple and once again were bought through Etsy and this store gives beyond fabulous service! Dora’s favorite egg is the wooden one wrapped in beads, which is from another Etsy shop located in the Ukraine, called UrkWork. I did go a bit overboard on this tray, but it kind of became an obsession for me once I saw how many pretty eggs one could buy. The variety of textures, color, and weights are incredible and Dora has spent countless hours exploring the eggs. I don’t collect anything at the moment, so I am kind of excited to be starting a collection.

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Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff