Wordless Wednesday

Catapult!

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Colour Mixing Science

I found these test tubes and stand at the surplus store and knew that they’d be great for many activities.  The colour mixing was really fun and you could really observe the colour change.  Also using the pipette it was great for developing fine motor skills and strengthening the pincher grasp for writing.

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Music – Staff

Pumpkin 1 is learning piano from her Gammie.  We also have a set of Montessori Bells.  I was trying to think of a way to teach the staff and I saw a Pinterest post with the person using gems with the letters on them.  We have a pile of gems and Pumpkin 1 loves playing with them.

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I printed off one staff and wrote the letters on it.  I did print off a treble and bass clef but haven’t laminated them yet.  I wrote the note names on the back of the gems with permanent marker.

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I introduced matching them to the bells and then how we can write the music we play using the staff.  Pumpkin 1 has tried writing her own music for the piano so she really liked this.  That’s one key area of Montessori music that different from music lessons – the children are given the opportunity to write their own music.  Creativity is such a huge motivation for learning something.  How often do we learn and study something so that we can express our creativity – knitting or crochet, painting, playing an instrument, carving, sewing, writing.  Being able to express ourselves is a fundamental human desire across all cultures.  In the Reggio approach there is a lot of importance given to “the hundred languages of the child” which is all the different ways and mediums in which a child communicates and expresses himself.

If you can’t afford a set of Montessori bells, you can pick up a set of hand bells.  If possible spray paint them so they’re all one colour so that the child learns to use their ears rather than their eyes to differentiate between the sounds.

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!”

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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Educational Games We Love

I’ve started building up our stock of educational games.  I’m trying to make it part of our routine to play a game together as a family after dinner.  Games are a great way to learn and reinforce concepts in a fun way.  When Pumpkin 1 is in a funk and doesn’t want to do any school activities, she’ll always agree to a game.  They’re also great for social skills and teaching team work, taking turns and critical thinking.  With Pumpkin 2 only 2.5 I’ve tried to find games he could join in too.

Snug as a Bug in a Rug:  I think this one is the most loved one of them all.  It’s made by Peaceable Kingdom and is a cooperative game rather than competitive.  There’s different ways to play from simple to more challenging.  It’s won a number of awards.  Pumpkin 2 is able to play it quite easily.  It teaches counting skills, colours and shapes.  I’d say it’s great for about age 2/2.5 and up.  It’s available at Mastermind Toys.

 

Hoot Owl Hoot:  Pumpkin used her Christmas money to get this one.  She likes owls.  This game is also by Peaceable Kingdom.  Pumpkin 2 requires some help with this.  It’s more of a strategy game though they don’t have to quite get that to play.  I’d say it’s better for age 3 or 4 and up though Pumpkin 2 can play with my help.  It has also won awards.  It’s a great team work game.  It’s available at Mastermind Toys.

 

Feed the Woozle:  This is also a Peaceable Kingdom game.  This is Pumpkin 2’s favourite.  It’s a great one for toddlers.  It teaches counting and body awareness, motor skills and balance as well as taking turns and team work.  The snacks are pretty silly which the kids love and there’s different challenge levels for each age group.  Discovery Toys carries Feed the Woozle.

 

Jungle Jive:  This one is great for developing core strength and balance.  Balance is key for learning to write.  It’s tricky for Pumpkin 2 but that doesn’t stop him from trying!  Discovery Toys carries Jungle Jive.

 

Raccoon Rumpus:  This one is a great toddler and preschooler game.  It’s very simple to play.  It’s a good introduction to games and taking turns.  It teaches colours and you can discuss different jobs people have.  It’s available from Discovery Toys.

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Shelby’s Snack Shack:  This is a really good one for counting and 1 to 1 correspondence.  It’s also great for fine motor skills, the pincher grasp and finger strength.  Both my kids are able to play it and enjoy it.  I’d say it’s perfect for ages 2.5 and up as long a supervised due to the small pieces.  It’s available here.

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Memory Game:  There are lots of memory games out there.  I really like this one because it looks so nice and is great quality.  It has a bunch of different cards so there’s many games in one.  It took a bit of playing for my kids to figure out that they had to remember what they saw and for Pumpkin 2 to not try to turn everything over, but now they can play it nicely.  Great for ages 2 and up.  It’s called Memory Moves.

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Bus Stop:  This game is one I don’t get bored playing (that’s important too).  It’s too advanced for Pumpkin 2, he just tries to drive the bus card over the board and messes everything up.  But it’s perfect for 4 year olds.  It teaches counting, dice number recognition, and simple addition and subtraction.  My only negative is I think the buses would have been better if they had been done like a ten frame so children could see the amount of people in their bus without counting.  We purchases our game from Amazon.

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Hebrew Lunar Calendar

Our family follows the Hebrew Lunar calendar for religious holiday dates.  I wanted to start teaching Pumpkin 1 the Lunar calendar so I put together this.

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The pocket chart is this one from Amazon.  The pictures below is for that week’s Parsha reading from Chabad.org 

I made my own cards to use in it.  We start a new month on conjunction but the great things about this calendar is you can set it up any way you want.  You can download the cards for your own calendar through the link.

Hebrew lunar calander

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It’s hung with removable Command hooks.
Pumpkin 1 is always asking what phase the moon is in now.  We check the moon out the window at bedtime.  I’d love to get this one day.  It automatically syncs with the moon outside!

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But of course nothing beats the real thing!

 

Geo Solids with Magnetic Tiles

This one kinda speaks for itself.  We used the MagnaTiles to make some of the Geo Solids.  It’s a great way to help them break down the different shapes and sides that make up the solids 3d shape.

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What Montessori is really like with a 2 year old….

So Montessori with my kids is very child directed.  It’s often really hard to let go and let them choose what work they want to do but we have to trust their inner needs and processes.  What you see in blogs is only the best parts.  It’s usually skipping the difficult parts, the children being silly, the children being grumpy, the children lying on the floor and not getting up, the children making the Toob figures attack each other, the children throwing a material or insisting on doing it incorrectly.  Here is a good moment with my 2 year old.

 

Here is a real moment with my 2 year old during the same work session.

I didn’t get a video of him trying to walk on them.  He also tried to walk on the Brown Stairs.  He may be a little young still so I’ll keep things light and I put them away when he’s not treating them with care.

Pumpkin 1 also was being difficult today.  Wanting to do the Golden beads and then pretending she didn’t know the names of the numbers or just refusing to talk at all.  It’s so frustrating as a parent teacher because you worry and work so hard and then you’re left trying to figure out why and you always feel like you’re failing somehow and that you have to prove yourself to everyone who may think you’re making the wrong decision.  I’m not sure if the work was too easy for her or too difficult or she just wasn’t interested.  I’m leaning towards it being too easy and am hoping when the wooden cubes and squares for the addition come in she’ll be challenged.

So, I hope this post makes you smile and breath a little easier when your kids are stressing you out.