Easter Activity

Adorable mini wooden eggs and baskets makes a perfect Easter gift or activity for children.

Six wooden baskets in each color of the rainbow with 3 matching eggs that fit perfectly. A child can sort colors, they can be hidden for an egg hunt or used in imaginative play. Endless possibilities are available with this set.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/223059661/mini-eggs-and-baskets-easter-eggs-and?ref=shop_home_active_1

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My Etsy Store

So I’ve been MIA for a while.  I was busy finishing some afghans I was crocheting as Christmas gifts and then the holidays were busy and…..I opened an Etsy store.  I started off with a peg people color grading activity that sold out fast.  Now I’m selling other wood Montessori and Waldorf inspired toys.  It’s very exciting and I’m very passionate about my items.  They’re all natural, carefully sanded and finished with my own homemade finish of beeswax and jojoba oil.  It leaves a lovely dark shine and jojoba oil won’t go rancid like olive oil will.

I hope you will pop over and check it out.

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Montessori Wood Infant Toy, first knobbed cylinders, natural peg and cup toy

Montessori Wood Infant toy - Ball and Jar, Natural Wood toys for toddlers and infants, develops object permanence and fine motor skills

Wood Kitchen Pantry Toy set, Waldorf inspired natural toys

Affordable Sandpaper Letters and Numbers

Sandpaper letters and numbers are a key Montessori material.  By the child tracing the letters with his or her finger it helps solidify the shape in the brain by using kinesthetic , tactile and visual senses.  These are time consuming to make yourself and are rather expensive if you purchase the Montessori version.  I have this set and I love it (though we’ve decided to teach cursive first I’ll still be using the number tiles).  It includes both upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.  They are grooved in the wood and are amazing quality, very sturdy.  I actually really like the grooved ones as they help the child trace a little better.  (click photo for link)

Here’s some photos of ours so you get a sense of the size.  They’re a really nice size.  Not too big and not too small.

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DIY Number Rods

Number Rods are one material I’ve hummed and hawed on.  I tend to want to have all the materials but I kept putting this one off.  First of all, none of the children have been interested in the red rods.  Not at all.  And when I do get them out, they have a really hard time putting them from shortest to longest.  They may just not have been at a sensitive period for it, but they also just seemed too big for our room.  The red rods come before the number rods, but I’ve felt that Pumpkin 1 understands longest to shortest enough and is ready for numbers.  She recognizes the number symbols from 0-10 from books and she can count to 10 but she hasn’t grasped one to one correspondence yet.  We have a set of mini number rods but even with those and working with her on counting things, she just hasn’t been grasping it.  Then I noticed a picture in the banner of a blog I love: What Did We Do All Day.  At the bottom right you see number rods with a child holding a frog on them.  Pumpkin 1 likes to play with playmobile people or any little toy people and animals and tries to make the materials their houses and chairs (which I discourage as materials must be used in their proper manner or their purpose is lost).  If I had her make a frog jump from colour to colour and count with each jump, I knew she’d really like that and it just might be the thing to give her that “aha” moment about one to one correspondence.

Now, the thing was, I’d just made a large materials purchase and hadn’t purchased the number rods.  So I was wondering what I could do.  I checked out this list of DIY Montessori number rods and was contemplating the duplo ones but they were smaller than what I wanted.  There were some made of Janga blocks, we have Janga blocks but I could just see my daycare kids bending them at the tape.  And I’d have to paint them. Then I had a brain-waver.  Mega blocks!  We have a bunch of Mega Blocks and there are red and blue ones and they’re just the right size.  I was thinking of gluing them together but the packing tape would work and because they fit into each other they’re more durable when taped together than Jenga blocks.  So I set to work and they turned out beautifully.

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Of course the bump on the end isn’t ideal, but I don’t think it affects the concept too much.  The great thing about them is that when you want to do addition, you can fit them together.  Also the size is perfect.  Not too big, but big enough for hopping a frog on.

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The other great thing is that you can stand them up.

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Now did the frog hopping work?  I was actually surprised how fast Pumpkin 1 caught on.  After showing and explaining she was hopping the frog along each rod and counting one to one.  I have her make the frog start on the table or carpet and hop up on to the rod.  She was really intrigued.

Now I only had enough red and blue blocks to make the first 5 rods so I had to order another bag of Mega Blocks.  Luckily Walmart has them on sale and offers free shipping.  http://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/mega-bloks-first-builders-big-building-bag-classic-8327/6000058318807

You can easily find mega blocks for sale at yard sales or on Kijiji.  And even if you bought two brand new bags of Mega Blocks, it’d still be more than $20 cheaper than the wood ones.  I’m pretty excited about my home-made number rods.  I’m not one for making my own materials because I either don’t have time, they wind up costing way more than expected, or I can’t find the parts I need to make it myself without going out of town, or it just doesn’t look as nice.  But I’m pretty happy with these.  Let the counting begin!

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ETA

I’ve realized that the number rods should all start with red so when I got my bag of Megabloks I fixed that by making the rods I had longer ones.  However, I’m still short red and blue blocks.  So unless you can get Megabloks cheap, it’s not economical to buy 3 bags of them to make the rods unless you really want tons of Megabloks.

 

 

 

What makes Montessori materials so special?

I purchased The Keys of the World Montessori albums to help me better understand and implement the Montessori method with my children.  They’re wonderful albums and I’m learning so much.  I’d just like to share with you a quote from the Theory Album

The most distinct difference between Montessori and other methods is in the nature of the materials: Montessori materials are not didactic (teaching tools), but self-teaching tools.  These materials are not for the teacher to teach, but for the children to discover and learn on his own.  The children teach themselves – these materials are developmental materials.

This is really the key of Montessori – the child guides their own learning.  It’s also the hardest part; to step back and allow the child to do and learn without interfering.  It’s even more difficult in a home setting.

If you’re interesting in The Keys of the World albums you can purchase them here.

New School/Playroom

Our New School and Play Room

A while back I was just running out of space in our small playroom.  I said to my husband, “you know, it’s me and the kids that live in the house the majority of the time, you’re only home and up for a few hours.  It’d make more sense for daycare and home schooling to have the biggest room for us and the small back room for the living room”.  My husband agreed as long as there were no toys in the living room.  So we set about switching the rooms.  It was a large task as we decided to repaint the living room now to be playroom as it needed it.  So, lots more shelves, lots more space and also lots warmer (the back room was cold), also brighter and more centralized.  It’s perfect….well….almost….I’m always improving it some how.  And here are the pictures.  I’ll start on one side and go around the room to the right.

Montessori shelves

Montessori shelves

Montessori shelf

Montessori shelf

Montessori Shelves

Montessori Shelves

Music center

Music center

Toy shelves

Dresser holds art supplies with some world puzzle map and metal insets on top

Dresser holds art supplies with some world puzzle map and metal insets on top

Work table with Dinning room table and Pumpkins

Play kitchen

Play kitchen

Montessori shelf

Montessori shelf

Dollar Store Montessori

Here are some DIY Dollar store Montessori inspired activities:

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Sugar shaker and mini dowels.

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Yogurt container and pompoms

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Cream cheese container and mini pompoms

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Yogurt container and popsicle sticks

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Baby puffs container and dowels and tongue depressors

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Bread pan and wash cloths (folding activity)

Montessori Printables

There are lots of Montessori printables for free or for a small price online.  If you’re on a budget these are great resources for educating your child.  My favourite site for Montessori printables is Montessori Print Shop.  They have tons of resources and lots of great free stuff.  Here are some examples of free materials for use with toddlers or preschoolers (click on the link or the picture).

Bird Match Up

I Spy Pages

Small, Medium, Large  - FREE Printable Montessori Materials for home and school.

Big, Medium, Small

Imagine Story Cards - Free Printable Montessori Language Materials for Montessori Learning at home and at school.

Imagine Story Cards

They also have tons of materials available for a couple of dollars.  Here are some of my favourites for toddlers and preschoolers (click on the photo for link).

Air Land and Water Sorting Cards - Printable Montessori Science Materials for Montessori Learning at home and school.

Air Land and Water Sorting Cards

 

Color Sorting - Printable Montessori Materials for home and school.

Colour Sorting

 

Seasonal Sorting Cards - Printable Montessori Materials

Seasonal Sorting

 

Objects and Shilouettes - Montessori Cards for Montessori Learning at home and school.

Objects and Silhouettes

 

Counting Cards (Spring) - Printable Montessori Materials for home and school.

Counting Cards (Spring)

 

Toddler Geometric Solid Cards - Printable Montessori Toddler Materials for Montessori Learning at home and school.

Toddler Geometric Solid Cards

 

Toddler Young and Adult Sorting Cards - Printable Montessori Toddler Materials for Montessori Learning at home and school.

Toddler Baby and Adult Sorting

 

Color Grading Cards - Printable Montessori Sensorial Materials for Montessori Learning at home and school.

Colour Grading Cards

So head on over to the Montessori print shop and download some new materials for your little one.

Triangle Show and Giveaway

One Montessori material I didn’t purchase as I was going to make it but haven’t gotten around to it (which is why I purchased most of the materials instead of making them, because they’d never get done) is the constructive triangles.  I recently came across an amazing Etsy store called Dominna that has beautiful Montessori inspired hand-made materials .  I just drool over her items.  I am so lucky to get to review the Triangle Show. It’s a great introduction activity to the constructive triangles.

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The one I have is the smaller version and is made up of 18 triangles that you fit together in different patterns on a tray.  It comes with a pamphlet of different designs you can try to recreate or you can make your own design. It’s hand made and amazing quality.  The pieces are so vibrant and smooth and perfectly angled.  It’s a great activity for a child to learn about how shapes can fit together to make other shapes.  It develops logic and fine motor skills.  It’s also a fun way to learn about patterns and leaves room for creativity too.

The triangle show

Developing geometrical puzzle - Big triangle show (for age 3 - 10 )

Two Sided Larger Triangle Show

My 4 year old daycare child really liked to try to recreate the patterns on the pamphlet.   My 2 year old liked to fit the triangles together to make squares, it was like a puzzle to her.  My 6 year old daycare child liked making her own designs.  Pumpkin 1 told me over and over while playing with it, “I yike (like) it Mommy, I yike it.”  Actually as I was writing this post she saw the picture and started talking about how we have it in the playroom and she wanted to play with it.  So we did.

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“I working”

The only negative I could find is that the pieces and the board are very smooth so they shift about easily and it was frustrating for the little ones as they would mess up their patterns.  It wasn’t really a problem with older children who have better fine motor skills.  I’m thinking about lining it with a piece of felt so it won’t happen, however, at the same time, I think that perhaps the very fact that a child has to work carefully and be delicate is good for improving fine motor skills so I might give it more time to decide what I’ll do.  Pumpkin 1 seems to do better with it today.

Dominna has so many beautiful learning materials.  They’re amazing quality and the owner is great to work with.  Shipping does take several weeks as she’s located in Latvia.

Montessori mathematical wooden game - content of numbers (age 4-8 )

And now for the exciting part for you!  I’m offering a $15 discount to her shop to one person.  This $15 can be put towards any purchase at her Etsy store.  To enter you must like my facebook page and then comment under the post about this contest stating what you’d purchase from her shop if you won.  All the names will be put in a draw and the winner will be picked on Sunday to celebrate Purim.  You’ll be notified via a facebook message.  It’s open to everyone everywhere.

wooden puzzle ''colour roads'' (age 3 and up )