Bringing Montessori Outside Part 2

I already feel like winter is looming and it’s only June.  That ominous, “Winter is Coming”.  I know the next few months will fly by and I want my kids to soak up as much of beauty and nature and sun and warmth they can.  Official school activities are not priority right now, gross motor play is.  We recently started going to a new park the kids love.  No one is there during the day yet so my kids have the park to themselves.  The other parks we go to are frustrating because a school or daycare will show up with 30-40 kids and just take over the place and my shy kids fell overwhelmed or they’re older kids who are too rough and use bad words and so we leave.  Anyway, we’re trying to do school outside as often as we can.  Here are some more ideas for bringing Montessori out into the sunshine.

This DIY spindle box is so simple.  The container is from the Dollar Store.  It’s a tackle or hardware box.  I use these a lot for storing things.  And popsicle sticks, also available at the Dollar Store.  Often I change up the “spindles” for other things – straws, sticks, counting bugs, etc…

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In fact you can use nature for counting.  These are pine cones the kids collected.  The numbers are regular magnetic ones.

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Toobs are great to bring outside or any other small plastic animals.  This is Vertebrate and Invertebrate sorting.

We recently got a Backyard Birds Toob from Michael’s.  We already had the bird book.  The kids like to find the birds in the book. They also are painting pictures of the birds to make their own bird book.

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This is a sight word game from Amazon.  It’s a way to make learning sight words more fun.

This is so simple to do but it takes dexterity for the kids.  They have to remember to weave in and out.  It was too hard for Pumpkin 2 and a challenge for Pumpkin 1.  The tidy part you see was me showing her how.  It’s really great for crossing the midline and spacial reasoning.

We tried out a ball run with cut pool noodles and Boomerings (and you thought Boomerings were a baby toy).  The balls kept getting lost in the cut grass so then we did water.

Next we’re going to try building something with trough.  I need to get some more Boomerings though.  They’re super strong and sturdy.

I have lots more ideas in my head for outdoor learning I can’t wait to share with you.

 

Follow my Pinterest board for lots more Montessori ideas.

 

 

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The Body for Kindergarteners

Pumpkin 1 has been asking a lot of questions about how her body works.  I like to follow interests and I always learn a lot too.  So we have two new friends in our homeschool room.

This is Fred, the Squishy Body (should be called sticky body).

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He’s from Amazon.  And he’s amazing.  All the body parts come out and feel so….squishy and sticky.  He comes with a booklet about the body parts and a chart to match them to.  It’s very fascinating.  I didn’t know that the bladder was behind the intestines.  I’m kinda jealous about how my kids are learning.  Health class would have been way more interesting with a Squishy Body.

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I still supervise the dissection of Fred but I’ve been told that the body parts can be washed if they pick up lint and fluff.

This is our other friend, Stan.  Stan the Skeleton Man.

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He came from China from Ebay.  He’s pretty great for the price (though it looks like the Canadian dollar went down more).  And he came really fast.  Pumpkin 1 likes to mother him lol.

I printed off some bone cards from Montessori Print Shop as Pumpkin 1 was asking to learn the names of the bones.  I didn’t print all of them, only the major ones for now.  Pumpkin was kinda annoyed because she wanted to know the names of bones I didn’t print off.

I also printed off organ nomenclature cards for reading practice.

I like to have books to read too.  These are the two books I’ve purchased for learning about the body.

They’re simple enough for primary but not so simple that there’s no real information.

Now when her brother jumps on her Pumpkin one tells me, “He hurt my intestines!”

 

 

What We’ve Been Up To.

Pumpkin 2 is growing up fast.  Not only is he potty trained day and night, he no longer sucks his thumbs (thanks to some applications of juice from our Aloe Vera plant) and he no longer has a nap.  The no nap has meant huge changes to our daily schedule and including him in “school time” now.  It has also meant a lot of changes for me to figure out how to work with both of them but, it has been going better than I expected.  It’s also had benefits as the day can be more relaxed since we don’t have to make sure nap time is on time.  Yesterday he preferred to dump the shapes from the pattern pictures everywhere and to make the coloured peg people crash into each other, but he is also having periods of work too.  Here’s him sorting Plant and Animal Cards.

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We’ve been doing music as a group activity.  We match bells and then work on rhythms.  Rhythm is way too advanced for Pumpkin 2 but it’s something he wants to be a part of.  They really like this drum I got from Amazon.  Pumpkin 1 has been resistant to learning rhythm but she needs to for her piano lessons so the drum was a great motivation.  We did have a good talk about how to treat the drum (I could just see Pumpkin 2 trying to stand on it) and it’s kept up high to only be used with me.

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Pumpkin 1 is working on linear counting.  She got bored with the Golden beads so I thought it best to take a break and work on something new.  It worked because she was interested in them again the other day.  I also found out that you don’t have to do subtraction with them before multiplication and since she wasn’t keen on subtraction, multiplication will probably be the next step.

These are the Teens boards I printed off and laminated from Montessori Print Shop.  I put some velcro on them because I think it makes it more fun and eliminates the frustration of accidentally shifting the cards.

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We’ve been learning about Vertebrates and the types of Vertebrates and I got a skeleton of a pigeon on huge discount from Affordable Montessori.  The kids were fascinated.  Pumpkin 1 is holding a laser light I was using to point out the spine or Vertebrate.  I thought they’d be scared of it but I guess they haven’t been exposed to the idea of skeleton’s being scary.  Pumpkin 1 as been asking a lot of questions about the body and so I plan to do a unit study on the body soon.

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Here she is sorting out the Types of Vertebrates cards I made.

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I also got these from Amazon and the kids love them.  They’re quite fun and were cheaper than X-Rays of bones.

Pumpkin 2 is my cuddly boy.  He’ll sit on my lap for hours if he could.  It’s funny because he can be so full of energy, literally bouncing off the walls (yes literally, he loves to crash into them and fall on the floor) but he’ll sit so nicely on my lap and just look at a book or play with cars or watch his sister.  I try to soak it up as much as I can because I know it’s not going to last forever, but I also need to get things done.  It’s such a difficult choice, snuggle him a little more, or get to the list of things I need to do.  I usually pick snuggle.

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Vertebrate and Invertebrate

Here is Pumpkin 1 doing some spontaneous vertebrate and invertebrate sorting.

 

The cards are free from The Helpful Garden

http://thehelpfulgarden.blogspot.ca/2012/07/vertebrate-and-invertebrate-sorting.html

Life Cycle Cards

This is a set of life cycle cards for using with the Safari Ltd or Insect Lore life cycle figures.  My kids love using the figures.  We have both Safari Ltd and Insect Lore and they’re both great quality.  You can purchase these sets from Affordable Montessori and from Alison’s.  You can also find them on Amazon.ca but they’re rather expensive on there.  These are a great add on if you’re doing a big purchase from one of the above stores, toss a couple into your cart since you’re already paying the shipping.  You may also be able to find them at Michael’s as they sometimes carry Safari Ltd figures.

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Life Cycles

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Birds of a Feather

As I’ve mentioned I’ve been trying to get my kids outside as much as possible.  I love learning about nature.  So this month we are learning about birds. I’d like to share with you different resources we’re using. These are cards of Birds found in Ontario (and much of the rest of Eastern North America).  I created these to use with my kids.  There are so many way you could use them – As 3 Part Cards, Matching games, art work, books, etc…

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Montessori Print Shop has some great materials about birds including parts of the bird, books, bird feet, bird nests, bird beaks, cutting strips and more. Bird Book for Toddlers - Printable Montessori Toddler Materials for Montessori Learning at home and school.

I also found this amazing site.  It’s interactive and you can learn a ton about birds including their songs and calls. http://biology.allaboutbirds.org/#home-page-top They also have this site for kids: http://www.birdsleuth.org/ which has materials for homeschoolers! I purchased this lovely little book by Thornton W Burgess.  It’s like a story but gives information and details about all different backyard birds in an interesting way.  This copy has drawings but unfortunately they’re black and white, if you could find a version with the original colour pictures that would be a bonus.

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We also got this bird book which is great for beginners.  Simple, not overwhelming, and small enough to tuck into a bag or even back pocket to take with you bird watching.

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Some activities we’re doing is we painted bird houses from the dollar store and we made a bird bath from a plastic container and a tree stump.  There are lots of DIY bird bath ideas on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=diy%20bird%20bath We haven’t put up any bird feeder yet because we have a squirrel problem in our area.  My husband finally got the squirrels out of our porch roof so he wouldn’t be happy if I was feeding them (nor would my neighbours).  I’m looking at some squirrel proof options but those animals are pretty smart and persistent.  The other option is a hummingbird feeder.  Also we have a bird feeder up at the cottage and a hummingbird feeder so I’m planing to do lots of bird watching up there with the Pumpkins.   5343522592_1f6d05c000_z

Putting up a birdhouse is more than actually using a dollar store one.  You want to discourage some types of birds like Starlings and House Sparrows and so you want a bird houses with certain specifications.  This site gives more information:  http://www.birdwatching-bliss.com/bird-house-plans.html 15836519536_947277d863_z

Learning about birds is really fun, especially because they’re something you’re hearing and seeing every day.  My daycare kids can now pick out the sound of the Morning Dove and the Chickadee.  They can identify some birds by site too though we mostly see Grackles, Starlings and Sparrows in our neighbourhood.  There are Barn Swallows nesting at my In-Law’s place and it was so amazing to watch them dive and swoop around us as we sat outside last weekend and I was really intrigued to see how they attached their nest to the wall with mud.  I think they’re my favourite bird. What I love about home schooling is all the interesting things I’m learning!  I found this video clip of Starlings flying together just mind boggling. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmO4Ellgmd0

Spring Flowers Printable and Activities

I’m sooooo glad winter is over.  My goal this summer is to spend as much time outside a day as possible.  As we go for walks around our neighbourhood the kids and I love to check out all the beautiful flowers.  My and Pumpkin 1’s favourites are the Lilacs.  You can smell them before you even see them and there are a ton in our neighbourhood.  It’s almost like a game of Eye Spy to find them.

I don’t know the names of many flowers so I thought it’d be fun to learn with the children.  I made up a set of cards of spring flowers which are available for download from my Etsy store (click image for link).

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Since my children are too young for 3 part cards what I did was print off and laminate one set and the other set I had them draw pictures of.  For several days I’d give each child a flower picture and we’d glue it onto a piece of paper and they’d draw a picture of the flower.  We talked about the shape of the flower and the colours.  Some children just drew the same flower for every one.  One child I have really surprised me by incorporating all the colours of each flower she drew and the different shapes as her 3 year old ability allowed.  The children loved it.

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We also did a cut and paste activity on the needs of a plant from here:

http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/plant-life-cycle-cards/

And learned about the parts of a plant with a sheet from here:

http://www.communication4all.co.uk/http/growth%20and%20plants.htm

I hole punched all their papers and put them into a duo-tang.  The children are always so proud of making books and love to look through theirs.

But the best learning happens when you’re out and about.  Now when we go around the block the children are able to name a few of the plants they see and I am able to give the names of some of the others.  Finding flowers and naming them, observing them, counting their petals, talking about their colours, naming the parts of the plant, the children just absorb knowledge like a sponge this way.  In some ways the printables are for me so that I can be ready to give the right names as needed.  These are things that assist and support learning, they’re not the core of learning.  You can use them for crafts, games, making your own flower reference book, learning to read and many other things, but don’t forget to get out there in nature and learn with the real thing.

Free Printable – Life Cycle of the Robin

There’s a Robin’s nest that we often pass on our walks and today the babies were hatched.  I realized that the kids didn’t know that eggs hatch into baby birds so I created this Life Cycle of the Robin printable which the children helped cut out and glue into a book.  They love the little books that they make.  You could also laminate the cards and make them into an activity or game.

Robin Life Cycle

Robin Life Cycle

Images are from Flicker and available for commercial use.

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.

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