Farm Vocabulary Game for Any Language

I’ve been teaching my children a little Hindi.  Pumpkin 1 is hopefully starting Hindi classes in the fall so I need to step up my game.  I came up with this fun way to learn numbers and farm animal names in any language.

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There’s two ways to play.  There’s a cooperative version, which is great when your kids are still little and get upset about winning and losing.  And there’s a competitive version for those kids who thrive on competition.  The game can be played in any language, provided you know the vocabulary to teach your kids.

The animals have escaped and are all around the farm.  You need to go around the board and collect them back.  The dice and counting spaces is a great way to instil numbers in your chosen language.  The animals must be “called” in order to collect them.  In the cooperative version you must work together to get the animals back to the barn before the sun sets.  Whenever you roll a 3 or 6 the sun moves a square on the number strip.  In the competitive version for up to 4 players, there are multiple animals tokens.  A player must collect one of each and get back to the barn before the others.

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The PDF includes a game board printable, animal tokens, a sun token, a number strip in English, Devanagari, Urdu, Hebrew, Japanese, Thai and Tamil as well as a blank strip. The download also includes instructions for both versions of the game.

Download, print, laminate, add a dice and playing pieces and you’re ready to have loads of fun!

You can purchase your PDF copy at my etsy store:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/463826647/language-learning-game-farm-animals?ref=shop_home_active_1

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Paper Moveable Alphabet

After a child has worked with the wooden moveable alphabet, the child is introduced to a moveable alphabet made from paper or thin plastic with the lower case on one side and the upper case on the back.  This alphabet has about 25 of each letter so that they can begin to write sentences.  Usually two colours of this alphabet are given so that phonograms can be isolated in a different colour when learning them.  I’ve also seen some green phongram moveable “alphabets” with the main phonograms given in order that the child has all the sounds available.

Pumpkin 1 isn’t quite ready for this alphabet but I figured I’d better start making it.  I wanted it in cursive and so far I’ve only found ready made print ones available for purchase and I wanted to save a little money doing my own.  I found a PDF online and purchased it but I discovered that it couldn’t be printed back to front.  One had to print the lower-case and upper-case on separate sheets.  This would mean twice the amount of cutting and then sticking them together for laminating.  Cutting and laminating and then re-cutting 25 of each letter for two alphabets is a lot of cutting.  I didn’t want to have to add to that.  So I created my own version to print and designed it to be printed front to back.  Because I found my printer doesn’t print exactly the same depending on how it draws in the paper, I put lines on only one side for cutting, with no lines on the back so there was no worry if it printed off a little; it wouldn’t be noticeable.

I made them the right size to fit into this container sold on Amazon.  (click photo for link)

Now I’ve begun the task of printing and cutting and laminating.  It’s going to take a while.  I’ve done about 7 of each letter of the black alphabet and 4 of each phonogram.  I don’t think I need 25 of the phonograms.  I purchased a smaller container for the phonograms but they wouldn’t all fit so I put a few in the black alphabet container.


My printed alphabet PDF is available for purchase on my Etsy store.  It comes with 4 sets of alphabets in black, red, green and blue and a green set of phonograms.

A tip for those printing and laminating their own.  Put a dab of glue stick on the back to keep the pieces in place in the laminating sheet.  After it goes through the laminator the glue won’t be visible or ruin the print in anyway.

DIY “Sandpaper” Letters

To this point I haven’t bought the sandpaper phonograms.  The sandpaper letters didn’t get much use here so I haven’t wanted to spend the money.  I recently saw someone make their own sandpaper letters out of sticky backed felt and thought that was a great idea so I decided to make my own phonograms.

I purchased sticky backed felt from Amazon.  Then I created a template of the letters.  My template is available here: phonogram cards

I printed the template off and cut it out.  Then I traced it backwards onto the back of the felt and cut it out (don’t forget to do it backwards, I forgot the first time and had a backwards th).  I took card stock and laminated it to use as the base.  You could also use poster board.  Then I peeled the back off and stuck it on and voilà!  So simple.  You could make all your sandpaper letters this way though it is time consuming.  Right now I’m making my phonograms a few at a time.

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Months of the Year; Sun and Earth

I put this together for Pumpkin 1 to practice reading and to learn the order of the months of the year.  While she’s at the learning stage she can match the Earth slips to the words on the Sun.  This makes it more of an absorbent mind activity.  Later, when she’s familiar with it, she can flip the Sun over and put the slips around without the control.  I added a peg person to put on the month that we are in.  It can further be used to explain the movement of the Earth around the Sun and how that creates our season and months.

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You can download a PDF of this activity here: sun months  The sun is printed on yellow construction paper or you could use yellow card stock.

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.

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

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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.

You can download it here: flags

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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