Multiplication

After addition with the golden beads, Pumpkin 1 wasn’t keen on subtraction, so on consultation with other Montessori moms, I introduced multiplication.  Multiplication?  For a 4 year old?  Yes!  Multiplication is only the addition of the same number multiple times.  Usually this is done in the Montessori classroom with a group of children.  Since we don’t have a group, I used little peg people.  I thought that would make it more fun for her.

After giving each “person” the same amount.  We added it all together.

Who knew multiplication was so simple and fun?  Pumpkin 1 didn’t want to try it again so I made it more engaging by appealing to her sense of imagination.  We said the golden beads were treasure each person had and we had to figure out home much they had altogether.  After the second calculation she told me the people were tired and needed to go to sleep.  Oh well.

We actually had a really good work session today (in between Pumpkin 2 throwing things, climbing on me and treating me like a jungle gym while I tried to work with Pumpkin 1).  He always wants to be a part of everything but he’s still in a key time for gross motor skills.  I really should put an oval line on the floor.  I wish I had a balance beam.  He did work for a bit on the Animal and Plant sorting cards.

Pumpkin 1 did some Pink Series writing and reading.  I’ve put all the materials for the Pink Series in tackle boxes.  She’s good at writing with the moveable alphabet but she still really struggles with sounding out.  She’ll say the sound of each letter but when she puts it together will use different letters or say what she thinks not what she read.  She is really good at sight reading and knows a lot of words that way so she gets frustrated at having to sound out, she wants to just memorize every word.

We did the life cycle figures and read the little life cycle books, Pumpkin 2 sat on my lap to listen.  Then the two of them worked on patterning with the math link cubes, Pumpkin 2 just did whatever Pumpkin 1 told him.

After that Pumpkin 1 did the North America continent map with flags, and matched the objects in the continent box with the cards.  We also read the little book about North America and she looked at pictures of Banff Park with the ViewMaster.

Then that I suggested lunch but she wanted to do the Flag Map.  Somehow, the key I made, is lost but she remembered almost all the flags and even corrected me when I confused the Algerian flag with Pakistan’s.

It’s great when we have a good work session, especially since yesterday’s was a bust.  I just need to find more for Pumpkin 2 to do.

Flags for Continent Boxes

Continent Boxes are a fun DIY Montessori project and they’re something that can always be growing and changing.  You can keep adding new things to them.  If people go on a trip, ask them to bring back a little knick knack to add to it and bring back your own when your family travels.  I’m not finished all my Continent Boxes yet.  I still have Europe and Africa left to make and right now they’re pretty minimal, mainly just Toob figures and pictures to match.  So when I came across this idea in the Montessori Homeschooling Facebook group, I was really excited.  It was so simple and inexpensive.

The flag stickers are from this book.

I already had the little wood rectangles from a long time ago.  I got them from this etsy store.  The book has two sets of each sticker, a larger one and a smaller one.  I put the larger one on the wood rectangles.  Since the stickers are reusable, they’re not very sticky so I sealed them with two coats of a glue finish (note, do a very thin coat first or the stickers bubble).  I only sealed the top, not the whole wood piece.

The book came with lovely labelled world maps.  The smaller stickers I stuck on the maps.  Then I put them in page protectors and a duotang so that it can be used as a reference.  I plan to get some little draw string bags to keep the flags in.

Flags are not something that’s generally taught in school, but I find them fun to learn, especially in engaging ways like with the Pin Map and these little tokens.  Also, you’ll be surprised how often you see flags.  I was very proud when I could identify the flags flying at the factor near the grocery store and the other day Pumpkin 1 and I were at KW surplus and they had a ton of flags hanging up.  I was surprised when she told me the one which I couldn’t remember was the Newfoundland and Labrador flag.

Cosmic Nesting Boxes

I first saw these here and thought it was a great idea but forgot about it until I saw them again.  The M&D nesting boxes aren’t very expensive on amazon.ca.  You could probably find them even cheaper at a yard sale or maybe some friends have a set they don’t want any more.

I first painted the boxes black.  Then found the pictures on the internet and pasted them in Publisher and formatted them to fit the box measurements.  I attached them with a paper glue/finish (kinda like Modge Podge not so sticky when dry).  I sealed everything with two coats of the finish.  The boxes are from biggest to smallest – Universe, Milky Way Galaxy, Solar System, Earth, North America, Canada, Ontario, Our City, Our House and then a little peg person.

They’re a great way to help a child understand how everything fits together when it comes to the world and countries and where their place is in it all.

Flags, Pompoms and Boomerings

I find practical life activities impossible to leave out because my 2 year old gets into them and makes a mess so we don’t do them as often as we should.  This is a cheap easy one to set up.  The tray is an ice cube tray from the Dollar store.  The pompoms are from there too.  She’s using tweezers from Scholar’s choice that came in a large container of them, I’ve given some away.  They’re easy to use for little hands.  This activity helps build finger strength for writing and fine motor skills.

Pumpkin 1 LOVES this flag map from Affordable Montessori.  I thought the price was really reasonable and the quality is better than expected.

I don’t even know the flags so I’ve been learning them.  It’s amazing how fast you pick up something when it’s hands on like this activity.  The map has a key on the back with all the flags and country names but of course you can’t check the back when you’re using it so I made a printable version.

Have I said how much I love Discovery Toys? Oh, I did?  Haha, they’re just so wonderful.  I love toys that engage and challenge my children, that teach them math, reading, logic, reasoning, prediction, memory, and so many other skills plus they have a life-time guarantee so I don’t have to worry about anything breaking.  We incorporate many of the Discovery Toys into our homeschool activities.

Today Pumpkin 1 was really engaged in making patterns with the Boomerings.  These are so great, they can be used from infancy right on up until childhood.  They’re really strong and durable and there’s an activity set that comes with different activity cards for matching, patterning or math. Putting them together also is great for her fine motor skills and strengthening her fingers.

You can even use them for dress-up!  Princess Pumpkin!

Now Offering Digital Files!

I’ll be now offering digital files in my Etsy shop so you can have more time with your children by being able to purchase Montessori inspired homeschooling printables.  Here are the first two available.  I’ll be soon adding more.

Asia

We started some Asia geography with matching figures to cards to increase vocabulary and learn about the animals and places of interest in Asia.  I used the Around the World and the World Landmarks toobs as well as the Wild toob, birds toob (for the peacock) and Wild Republic Tube, I think it was the Africa one, I used the elephant from it.  I also purchased a panda bear (actually I already had it) a yak and a red panda (because they’re just so cute).  I changed the spots on the jaguar with paint to make it a leopard.

Asia is my favourite continent to do since I lived in India.  However, I have never been to the Taj Mahal!  But the rest of my family have so I’m going to get some pictures from my mother along with other pictures to make a book about India.

Here is the PDF of the cards for your personal use.

Asian animals

Felt World Map

I finally finish our Felt World Map.  I only had the Antarctic puzzle piece left to sew, the kids had been using it without it but I finally got around to it today.  It actually wasn’t as daunting a project as I thought it’d be and it turns out lovely, even if you’re not sure what you’re doing!

The pattern is from imagineourlife.com which is a wonderful blog.

http://www.imagineourlife.com/2013/07/08/montessori-continents-map-quietbook-with-3-part-cards/

This is the map part, it’s sewn onto the blue ocean.  I got the large pieces of felt from Fabricland.  It’s pretty inexpensive.  It’s not wool felt however, just regular felt made from plastic but you could do this in wool felt.  There are some sites on Etsy that sell large bolts of wool felt.

I didn’t sew down all the little islands, some I just glued with fabric glue and I glued on the inland water pieces.

Matching the continent puzzles to the map.  Pumpkin 1 loves this activity and she learned to name them all really quickly.

The colours match the Montessori colours for each continent so it matches the puzzle maps and globes.

If you can’t afford the Montessori world puzzle map this would be a great, inexpensive substitute.

Australia Continent Box

I love geography.  I think I’ve already said that.  I’m working on Continent Boxes.  The first one we did was Australia because Pumpkin 1 kept talking about it and it was the easiest to put together in terms of toob figures.  These are our little objects.

They mostly came from the Safari Ltd Down Under Toob.  The Moai came from the Around the World Toob. The Sydney Opera House I ordered off of Ebay, as well the kookaburra I got off Ebay too.

I had an extra iguana from a Wild Republic tube.  I made a card for it but I haven’t printed it yet.  Here is the set of cards I made: Australia Cards  We keep them in a suitcase like box from the Dollar Store.

I also included picture cards from Montessori Print Shop and these books from Amazon

The small book is great for young children.  The big book is more for older kids but you can go through and talk about the pictures with younger children.  I also printed off a map of Australia, Oceana and New Zeland and laminated them.  Down the road I hope to add money from the area and other knick knacks as I acquire them. Other ideas of things to include are: music, recipes, movies, flags, dolls dressed in local clothing.

The Continent boxes are designed for opening discussion and dialogue with children.  It helps increase vocabulary and well as give children an understanding of the great world around them. Your box can grow over time.  If you have friends travelling, perhaps they can bring back little souvenirs for your box.  But if not, there is a lot of things available on ebay or you can stick with photos and books.

If you’re looking for ideas for gifts these holidays the Safari Ltd Toobs are great.  The more you have the better for making Continent boxes and they can also be used for Sound Boxes and biomes.  Schleich animals are also great and I’ll be using them for some of my other Continent boxes.

Land Forms

If there’s one subject I love, it’s Geography.  I’ve been working on putting together a few Geography materials for Pumpkin 1 and I’m enjoying it so much.  One big project is the Continent Boxes.  These are boxes (or files) for each continent that contain things about that continent in the form of pictures, flags, objects, maps, stories, money, etc…  It’s so fun to do.  But it’s also a lot of work.

This weekend I worked on making the Sandpaper Land form cards.  This was something I’d been planning to make for a while but hadn’t gotten around to it.  They’re easy to do and very inexpensive.

First off I wanted them to be durable.  So I thought I’d laminate blue card stock squares first.  I then cut the land form shapes out of fine sandpaper.  Can I just say, I’m glad I didn’t attempt to make my own sandpaper letters.  Cutting sandpaper is like nails on a chalkboard, *shudder*, very unpleasant to do.  I used the masters from Montessori Print shop because I was also using the cards from there so I wanted everything to match.  After I cut them out I glued them to the laminated cards using Modge Podge and put heavy books on top and left them overnight to dry.  I wasn’t sure if the Modge Podge would hold, but it did beautifully.

I was so excited to present them to Pumpkin 1.  I started off with the land form trays we have from Affordable Montessori.  Pumpkin 1 really likes those.  I got out the island tray and the lake tray because those are the simplest.  We poured blue coloured water in them.  She’s played with them before but I haven’t given her the names for them yet.  I did a 3 period lesson to teach her the names of island and lake.  Then I introduced the matching sandpaper cards and had her match them to the trays.  Next I brought out the green and blue land form cards and had her match them to the others.

I also got out the sandpaper globe and we looked for islands and lakes on it.  Then she wanted the coloured globe as well.

She was really enjoying this activity so I introduced two more land forms – bay and cape.  I really should have done peninsula and gulf because bay and cape are just variations of those, but I didn’t realize that at the time and bay and cape seemed more simple.  But, hey, I’m learning so much teaching her!

The next day we did the activity again, and she remembered all the names.  This time I introduced another set of cards.  The photos of actual land forms.  These were a little tricky, especially bay and cape because the cape had a bay beside it, but I think it’s important for her to have a visual of the real thing to apply it to real life.

Now to finish up my big projects on the go – the continent boxes, and the felt world wall map.