Montessori On a Budget

When I started off with Montessori 2 years ago I thought I needed all the materials.  They each have a specific purpose and skill they teach and they fit together in a perfect way.  I thought if I skipped one I’d miss something.  But over time I realized that a home won’t be exactly like a Montessori classroom.  Without the other children and without the set up of a specific class with only Montessori materials available, things are different.  Things work differently.  Things have to be adapted.  And most people don’t have the money or space for all the materials.  So this is what I would have done differently.  What materials I would have skipped or substituted or made myself (or which I did make myself) and which ones I’m glad I have.  Now what my kids weren’t interested in or loved may be different for someone else’s.  Each child is unique.  There isn’t one way or one answer, so these are just my experiences and thoughts.  I’ve only included the materials that we’ve reached in our journey.  There are more primary materials but we haven’t come to them yet so I can’t comment.  I highly recommend getting a set of albums to understand the scope and sequence of each material to help you decide what you need.  There are links to sites to purchase materials in the pictures and in the written text.

Language

Moveable Alphabet

I started off doing cursive because that is what is recommended in Montessori.  It’s said it’s easier for a child to write as they don’t have to take their pencil off the paper and that it activates a different part of the brain.  Pumpkin 1 learned the cursive lower case letters and picked up print letters on her own too but she really struggled with writing.  When she did start writing she wrote in print.  It seemed that cursive has too many steps to remember vs print.  She wants to write in print so I’m following her lead and have shifted my materials to print.  The print moveable alphabets are a little cheaper.  You could also get this verson on Amazon from Learning Resources set which is also magnetic

It doesn’t have as many letters as the wood moveable alphabet (and is the wrong colours) so if you do want more letters then buying two is about the same price as buying the wood set.  One set fits perfectly in this box.

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If money is really tight you could print off a paper version and the above box is a great way to store it too.

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Sandpaper Letters

I went with these sandpaper letters when I switched to print to use with Pumpkin 2.  I actually really prefer them.  The sandpaper is great, it doesn’t shed sand everywhere and they’re smaller which is helpful when it comes to storing.  They come in a nice sturdy box.  They’re not colour coded like the Montessori sandpaper letters are.

It’s also pretty easy to make your own “sandpaper” letters from sticky back felt.

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Another alternative is these grooved boards from IFIT Montessori.

These have upper and lower case letters and numbers and other symbols so it’s great bang for your buck.  You just need a stick of some sort for tracing.  I have these and they’re great quality.

Small Objects for the Sound Game or Sound Boxes

These aren’t necessary.  You can play the sound game with anything in a room or outside.  However my kids do really like them.  They like to sort them out.

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They can be a bit of a distraction though.  I had a bunch from my mother (who is a teacher) and bought a set from here.   Purchasing a set made things much easier and probably saves money in the long run vs trying to buy your own objects individually.  Their set also was carefully thought out with many of the objects able to be used for CVC words and phonograms as well as tricky letters like infant for “i” and vacuum for “v”.  One could also print off pictures.

Metal Insets 

These are great to have for developing writing skills.  They are super expensive though.  However, there is a very affordable plastic version available on Amazon.com (and ships to Canada).  I recommend having them.

Sensory

Pink Tower

I’d say it’d good to have this.  It’s still used pretty often by my kids.  I haven’t found a set of stacking blocks the same.  Having 10 is important (much of the sensory materials are in sets of 10) and the weight is very important (thus nesting boxes just aren’t the same).

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If you know a carpenter they could maybe cut a set for you.

Brown Stair

My son really loves the Brown Stair (mainly to drive cars down it which is a no no in Montessori but I gave up trying to stop him).  However, if you’re on a tight budget I’d skip it and just get the Pink Tower.  If you are going to get it go with the stained not painted version.  My painted version has chipped a lot and I wish I got a natural wood one to prevent this.

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I don’t recommend getting the mini set of either.  They just aren’t the same sensory experience.  I’d rather skip the Brown Stair than have a mini of both.

Knobbed Cylinders

For some reason I love these and find them very satisfying to do.  My kids were crazy about them from about 18 months to 2 and then weren’t interested in them again.

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Again don’t waste money on the mini set.  Either skip them or Montessori Outlet sells the blocks separably so you could just get 1 or 2 blocks.  If your child is 3 or older and you’re on a budget, just skip them.  I don’t know why I like them so much but my kids don’t.

Knobbless Cylinders

There isn’t really anything that is a substitute for these.  I’d recommend them.  I’d probably chose them over the Pink Tower if funds were limited just since they teach a similar concept of size difference in many different ways.

Red Rods

I wasn’t going to buy these but got them in an order mix up and kept them.  However, they were almost never used except by Pumpkin 2 as swords.  After a million times of taking them away and trying to get him to stop using them in dangerous ways or as a vacuum cleaner or lawn mower (??), I put them in the basement where they remain to this day.  Personally I’d go with cuisenaire rods.

They’re of course way smaller and different colours (so not one concept is isolated and you lose the weight difference) but they so much less dangerous and easier to store in a home.  You could paint them all one colour if you wanted.  When it comes to some of the sensory materials I feel free exploration is a better way to good.  That’s my Reggio side.  I’d rather let my kids play with a bunch of cuisenaire rods and learn through play.

Constructive Triangles

I’m going with the same philosophy when it comes to these too.  Learn through play.  I really love this Learning Resources set and so do my kids.

They’re great on the light table and so open ended.

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Another alternative is the regular pattern blocks.  There’s a ton of patterns you can print off online for kids to use.

My kids prefer the magnetic pattern blocks though.  We have this set by Melissa and Doug and it gets used often though it’s not as durable.  I also print off and laminate patterns and use them with the tiles on cookie trays.

Geo Solids

I haven’t found a set of Geometric Solids that has all the same shapes as the Montessori ones.  I’d say it’s important that they be solid wood for the weight (not foam or plastic).  The closest set I can find is this one.

But it has shapes you don’t need, different sizes and doesn’t have an ovoid.  You also don’t have the base pieces.  But if you’re on a budget this is probably your best bet.

Colour Tablets

My kids were just never interested in these.  I painted a set of wooden peg people which my kids liked better but it was tricky to get the shades right.

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Easiest thing would be to just get a bunch of paint chips and cut them and use them.  You could laminate them for durability.  Here are some more DIY ideas:

DIY Montessori Color Tablets

Sound Cylinders

These are pretty popular here.  But they’re not hard to make on your own.  See the below link for lots of ideas.

DIY Montessori Sound Cylinders

Binomial and Trinomial Cubes

There isn’t really an alternative to these however they don’t get much use in my home.  They may come in handy in the elementary years but they wouldn’t be first on my list to purchase of primary materials.  However, as I’ve mentioned, some kids really loves them so you’ll have to decide for yourself.

Geo Cabinet

Way too expensive and bulky to make practical for home use.  You can get shape puzzles and have your children trace them.

You can also make templates by tracing them for kids to match to.  When it comes to the more complicated shapes there are lots of other ways to teach those.  Smaller knobs are more desirable though as they teach the pincher grasp so have lots of regular wood puzzles with small knobs for your child to use.

Other Sensory Materials

There are a few other materials like the thermic tablets, baric tablets, fabric squares, smelling bottles, etc….  I think there are many other ways to do these sensory activities and some of the materials are easy to DIY.  What you get really depends on you budget.  Also many of these require you child to be blindfolded.  For some reason my kids always insist on peaking which defeats the purpose.

Math

Number Rods

I only have the table top number rods and those have been enough.  Honestly we’ve rarely used them.  My kids picked up numbers and one to one correspondence without them.  There’s so many ways to teach this, even just in daily life.  You wouldn’t miss them if you skipped them.

Numbers and Counters

Counters can be anything – stones, buttons, cars, blocks, paperclips, candies.  Fridge magnets can be the numbers.  Here we are using pine cones we collected with fridge magnets.
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Sandpaper Numbers

I’ve never had them or missed them.  You could get them, they’re not that expensive, or you could make your own set.  You could also get the grooved set mentioned under Sandpaper letters that contains the numbers too.

Spindle Box

It’s so easy to make your own of these with a tackle box from the Dollar Store and permanent marker and Popsicle sticks.

The great thing about the one I made is you can use it on the light table.  We’ve used plastic stir sticks and plastic ice cubes from the Dollar Store.

 

Stamp Game

Pumpkin 1 much prefers my DIY Stamp Game to the original.  And it was so inexpensive to make.

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Dollar Store tackle box, glass gems (I did have to hunt and pay more than I wanted for the red ones), permanent marker and wood peg people or you could use game tokens.  I just wrote the numbers on the bottom of the gems with permanent marker and voila.  Pumpkin 1 likes glass gems.  The numbers do tend to get scratch off with rattling around in the box so one day I may coat the bottom in clear nail polish.  This set doesn’t have everything the purchased Stamp Games does but we aren’t using those pieces yet and it won’t be hard to add.

Place Value Mat

Not exactly a Montessori material but I highly recommend having one.  We use it with the Golden Beads and the Stamp Game.  It’s fast and easy to make your own.

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100 Chart

This one from Learning Resources isn’t that much cheaper but it’s magnetic so one bump doesn’t ruin all your hard work.  Also you can write on it with a white board marker.  It’s two sided, one with numbers and the other with just the grid.

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Another idea is just to print one off and use stickers.  My kids LOVE stickers.

Teen and Ten Boards

I printed off the Teen Board from Montessori Print Shop and it’s been a hit.  I find kids like velcro (I cut velcro to fit in the middle of the “0” of the 10).  I bought a Ten Board.  Big flop. Pumpkin 1 hates it.  I should have just done a printed version.

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Hanging Bead Stair

There is a 1-9 version and a teen version.  They’re not traditional Montessori materials and not necessary to have.  However my kids have always enjoyed doing them.  I think they liked the fine motor aspect of hanging the beads.  You could get the teen one instead of the Teen Board.  But again, not necessary though nice to have.

Golden Beads and Math Beads

I love the bead materials.  For the Golden Beads one could use base ten blocks but you’d need a lot for the Montessori works.  You need at least 9 1000 cubes, 45 hundred squares, and lots of 10 and 1’s.  So it may not be worth the cost in the end.  Plus the beads really give a visual of the amount.  I made my own bead materials (well I should say making, I’m not finished yet though I’ve completed the Golden Beads).  I purchased the wood numbers for durability.  You need 3 smalls sets and 1 large set.  The purchased paper sets aren’t that much cheaper.  You can also print your own small for $1 and there’s free large ones here.

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Making your own bead materials isn’t hard, just time consuming.  Just make sure you use spherical beads not pony bead or you’ll wind up with rectangles.  Pumpkin 1 likes my cheap home made beads better than the purchases ones I have because my faceted ones are more sparkly.  Here’s a great tutorial on making your own bead materials  (Just note, if you do use wood beads like she did, it’s not going to save you much money.  Faceted beads are the most inexpensive way to go).  For the wood 1000’s cubes I’d just go with the store bought ones for durability though you can make paper ones.  I’d prefer them 3D for the sensory experience.  They’re not too pricey.  For the 45 100’s wood squares you can print ones off and laminate them.

 

Geography

World Puzzle Map

My kid prefer the felt one I made to our wood one.  It was a lot of work and you can’t trace it to make your own maps but I like it and it takes up less space.  The template is from Imagine Our Life and is free.

 

Flags

We do have a world flag map which is a big hit at our house.  Pumpkin 1 knows pretty much all the flags so I highly recommend it.

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But for the flags of all the countries this is what we did.

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The stickers are from this book and there’s two sets.  One set I put on the maps that come with the book and put them in a binder and the other set I put on wood rectangles.

Puzzle Maps

I do have all the Puzzle Maps as I got a good deal on them on clearance.  But one could use a globe and an atlas to learn the countries of the world.  There are also these cardboard geo puzzles.

If you do purchase the puzzle maps you’ll need a way to store them, they are big.  My shelf is made out of an old end table.

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Globes

They’re nice to have.  They’re not too hard to make yourself.  I found small globes at the Dollar Store.  This blog’s a great place for DIY ideas.

DIY Montessori Globes

Land Form Trays

Pumpkin 1 has always loved these.  I’d recommend having them as they’re a great sensory experience.  You can also make your own.  You’ll also need a way to store them.  If you purchase I recommend getting the cabinet too.

Easy DIY Land and Water Forms

Continent Boxes

Technically these are supposed to be folders of pictures.  This is a great inexpensive way to go.  But boxes are fun too.  Take your time and don’t try to fill them all at once.  I still haven’t done all the continents.  Montessori Print Shop has lots of photos and maps you can print off.  Many people like to add Safari Ltd Toob figures.

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You can put money in the box, books, flags, toys, whatever you come across.  Popular in ours is Viewfinder reels.

Botany and Zoology

Botany and Zoology Puzzles

I do have these and the storage shelves and they have been very popular in my home.  I didn’t realize when I purchased them that the Zoology ones corresponded to the types of Vertebrates and I don’t have the turtle and wish I did.  If I were to purchase again I’d spend a little more and get the ones with the bones underneath to fit in with the activities on Vertebrates.

Leaf Cabinet

I have this, I got a deal on it as it was a damaged display model.  However we never use it.  It’s not really necessary.  The metal insets teach the same skill and there are other ways to teach the type of leaf shapes.

Life Cycles

Not exactly a Montessori material, we really love our life cycle figures.  We have a combination from Safari Ltd and Insect Lore.  Some are available on Amazon, some at Michael’s stores (don’t forget to use a coupon, Michael’s always has coupons).

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We also use Safari Ltd figures not just in our Continent boxes and Life Cycles but learning about insects and Vertebrate and Invertebrate sorting.

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They are great to ask for for Christmas and birthday presents.

Music

Bells

You’re probably not going to easily find an affordable set of Montessori Bells so you’ll have to DIY.

Staff

I made my own staff materials.  I used gems for the scale and I printed and laminated notes for rhythm.  One could also just put their child in music lessons.  Pumpkin 1 was doing piano for a while but we took a break.

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Other

There is still other things you’ll need.

Shelves

You definitely need shelves.  Ideally they should be child height but if space and storage is a minimum taller is better.  Don’t forget to attach shelves to the wall for safety.  You can easily add more storage space to shelves by getting shelf board cut and buying shelf clips.  Also these kitchen storage racks work great on cube shelves.

Work Mats

Carpets from the Dollar Store or Walmart work well.  Some people use towels.  One with lines works well for the Moveable Alphabet.

Album

These are a MUST have in my opinion if you are homeschooling Montessori.  I feel Keys of the World are excellent and the most affordable.

Laminator

There are many materials you can print off.  Having a good laminator is a must.  I have this one.

It used to be for sale on Amazon.ca but it seems to be gone.  You can check Walmart or Staples.  You don’t need a very expensive one but you will need lots of laminating sheets.

Practical Life Items

You can get most of these at the Dollar Store or use items around your house.

Trays

You’ll need lots of storage trays.  I do like the look of wood trays but plastic works fine.  There are lots of trays at the Dollar Store.  Try to use all the same colour, like white or tan, to keep it from being distracting.

 

So I know I’ve probably forgotten some things but I hope this is a pretty helpful list of the materials and what has worked and hasn’t worked for us.  I hope it helps those who are just starting out make the difficult decisions on how to Montessori on a budget and what to purchase.

 

 

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Our Solar System, with a Printable

Pumpkin 1 has been fascinated learning about our solar system.  She has decided she wants to be an astronaut and go to Mars.  She tells the daycare kids, “I’m going to go to Mars one day”.

I have been learning so much about the Solar System that I didn’t know.  Like that there are at least 5 dwarf planets including one between Mars and Jupiter called Ceres.  And that Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are made up of a gas and have no solid surface.  I got this book from Amazon and it’s amazing.  It’s perfect for Kindergarten age and is full of colourful pictures.

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We also have this solar system from Discovery Toys.

It’s great to show how the planets go around the sun but I wish the planets turned around too and a moon going around earth would be awesome.  The planetarium part is disappointing.  We used to have a planetarium as a child and I loved it (though it was my brother’s).  I’ve been hunting for an affordable one for my kids.  I decided to go with this one because it’s affordable and has ok reviews.  We should get it in the mail soon and I’ll review it for you.

I wanted 3 part cards that had all planet on them but I couldn’t find any so I made my own.  That took a lot of work but I’m very happy with the results.

(The blanket on the carpet is to protect it from accidents from Pumpkin 2, who is pretty much toilet trained except when he’s too involved in playing.  I can just pick it up and throw it in the wash and the carpet is safe).

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It has the 8 large planets and 5 dwarf planets as well as the major moons.  Pumpkin’s favourite moon is Callisto because it looks sparkly.  There is also the 3 types of galaxies, other items in space such as 2 asteroids, comets, stars and meteoroids and nebulas (they’re so beautiful I had to include 3).  Each card as some info on the back.

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You can download the cards for your own use below.

Solar System Cards cursiveSolar System 3 part cards

Solar System Cards printSolar System 3 part cards print

When you print them out print the planet pictures first (the odd number pages) and then print the information on the back (the even number pages).  These can be your control cards.  Then you can print off a second set of the picture cards and cut the labels off along the line.

The Solar System chart is from here:

http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2013/11/27/why-there-are-and-should-be-eight-planets-in-the-solar-system/

Image credit: NASA's The Space Place, via http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/ice-dwarf/.

I also printed off the symbols for the planets.  Astronauts need to know that too of course!

I just printed them off from the below site and cut them out.

 

Planet Astronomical Symbols

Though I try to avoid screen time, space is just something you have to see.  To see objects floating in space and see what life is like on the International Space Station, is just not something that photos can do justice too.  Pumpkin 1 loves to watch videos of life on the ISS.  Chris Hadfield, who is a Canadian, has some excellent ones.

 

Pumpkin also liked watching the female astronaut wash her hair in space.

 

I’m really glad Pumpkin 1 lives in this generation.  50 years ago being an astronaut wouldn’t have been open to her being a girl.  Now she can dream big space dreams.

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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Pumpkin 2’s First School Day.

I decided on the spur of the moment today to try doing some school activities with Pumpkin 2.  He’s 2.5 now and a real handful.  He’s so different than his sister and can drive me crazy yet be so sweet and adorable.  He’s high energy, always on the go, always doing whatever he wants no matter what I say.  I’m hoping school time will help him learn to focus better and redirect some of that energy.  We do try to get outside daily and he got some gross motor toys for Hannukah.

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His first activity was the Geo-Cabinet.  We did the presentation tray with cards and then the circle tray.  He really enjoyed it and it was just the right challenge for him.  And yes, he has one circle incorrect but he corrected it.

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Next he did the Pink Tower.  He did it all correctly the first time, though the second time he didn’t.  Go figure.  But he was very proud of himself.  He loved to be using the materials he usually is told to not touch (which he touches anyway).  He did handle them very carefully.  Hopefully getting to use them will help him learn to respect them since he had a habit of throwing everything for fun.

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Then we tried the brown stair.  He had more trouble with this one, I think because he just wanted to put it together to drive his toy car on it so wasn’t focused.

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He really enjoyed the Knobbed Cylinders.  He did them all.  They were just the perfect challenge for him.  I really love this material.  I find it so pleasing and satisfying.

Here’s a video of him at work.  I love the concentration on his face.

 

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His final work was matching Toob insects to their picture.  This was actually a bit of a challenge for him.  Matching objects to pictures helps children learn that things can be represented in picture or 2d form.

All in all it was a great 1st day.  Pumpkin 1 didn’t help him too much which I was afraid of and she kept telling him, “good job!”.  It was cute.  We did his school work in the morning and hers in the afternoon during his nap time.

 

What we’ve been up to…

Pumpkin 1 has been into the constructive triangles lately.

 

She’s learning the names of the types of triangles but they’re tricky.  She doesn’t quite understand planes yet for acute and obtuse.  But she knows the equilateral triangle well and the right angled isosceles triangle.

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She loves to see what shapes she can make on the light table with our plastic shapes too.

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I picked this up from Well.ca in order to get free shipping for a few other things I needed.  It’s been great for practise putting numbers in order.  I’ll mix them up or leave one out and she has to put it right.

 

These are the colour grading peg people I made.  Pumpkin 1 likes them better than the tablets.

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I really like this material.  It’s from IFIT.  It’s amazing the difference a year can make.  A year ago she struggled with this one but now she can do it easily.  Unfortunately Pumpkin 2 thinks the cylinders are fun to throw.  sigh….

Here’s some math work with the Discovery Toys Busy Bugs and the Abacus (she in the process of counting the bugs out)

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Pumpkin 1 has been really into math activities lately but I’m trying to encourage writing. We worked the other day on writing letters on paper.  She hates making mistakes so it’s difficult to get her to do something she thinks she can’t do perfectly.  In the mean time I think I’d better get to work on making the golden bead materials.

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