It's been a while since I posted some of our Montessori lessons, so here's a BIG catch up post with activities from the past few weeks. Oh and I took pics of James only if it seemed ok to do so. Truthfully, I'm trying to limit my camera use during our lessons - I think we both find it a bit distracting!
The cylinders are some of James' favorite Montessori materials. He is a pro at these and it always makes me smile to see how he "hunts" for the correct space by hovering the cylinder over each spot to gauge if it's the right fit. This is exactly how it should be done!
Exploring the playdough gardenJames had tons of fun with this. Unfortunately, the playdough went "bad" after just a couple of uses. I didn't alter my recipe at all, so I think it has to do with the increasing humidity.
I like these beads because they're all the same color and only differ in size and shape, which requires a bit more attention when sorting. At first James just played with the beads (pretending they were soup, etc.), but when he got around to actually sorting them, he really, really focused on what he was doing. It was so neat to watch him concentrate on each bead.
Rolling and unrolling the mat
I taught James how to do this quite some time ago, but I noticed he was getting a bit lax in the technique, so we revisited it.
This took a bit of concentration on James' part because the holes in this ice cube tray and the tongs are smaller than he's used to. He did a great job!
Tonging (fake) strawberries
Initially I put out a this pair of wooden tongs, but they were way too stiff, even for me. I switched to a strawberry huller (how appropriate!), which was perfect because the real challenge in this activity lies in having to pick up the berries by their stems. Not as easy as it sounds, but James did really well.
Pouring water James has mastered dry pouring and truthfully he can pour liquids pretty well too, but I thought he'd enjoy this work simply because it involved water. And he did - he poured and poured and poured. When I introduced this work I used the proper Montessori pouring technique (holding the container with one hand while placing two fingers from the other hand under the spout) and for the first time James imitated me. It seemed really awkward for him though and I didn't object when he modified his grasp.
Pouring beads into two containers
This work involves pouring wooden beads from one container into two and the trick is to stop pouring when each container is just about full. To my utter surprise, he did this perfectly on the first try (even I over poured when I tested it!).
This was the first time I introduced folding to James. He LOVED it! Just look at that smile on his face! Interestingly (to me anyway), when I demonstrated how to fold I folded the washcloth upwards, but he folded them downwards. I wondered if this had anything to do with the whole left brain/right brain thing.
Egg slicing activityOh boy was this a favorite! During my presentation James watched my every move intently and when it was his turn to crack, peel and slice the egg, he did a fantastic job. I have quite a few more food preparation activities to share with all of you. I find anything involving food is generally a big hit with kids. :D
James mastered spooning a long time ago, but he really enjoys these kinds of activities, so I keep putting them out. The little radish cups were a surprise find at the pet store. :)
USA puzzle map
James is fascinated with this puzzle. Believe it or not, he actually puts it together from start to finish all by himself. He knows quite a few of the states by name and can identify them by their shape, too. Paul and I were surprised when he picked up a piece (Tennessee, I think) and then went to the US map we have on the wall and searched for and found the corresponding state.
Land, water & air
This activity came right out of my training manual. Three bottles, one filled with soil, one filled with water, and the other filled with nothing but air. The balloon accompanies the air bottle and during my presentation, I blew up the balloon to demonstrate the effect of air. We touched and smelled inside of each bottle and then talked about where we could find each of these things in our world. Before my presentation I wondered if all this might go a bit over James' head, but no! He was so interested and totally understood everything I said. Days later, he kept telling Paul and I that the balloon was filled with air and that the earth was made up of land, water and air. :)
Matching cats and dogs
This was a multi-faceted activity in that it involved matching pairs as well as sizes, and it led to some discussion about all the different kinds of cats and dogs in the world. James thought it was funny that a lion was really just a big cat! :)
Caring for a plant and watching it grow
This is a practical life & science experiment all in one. A while back James and I planted some seeds. We've watered and cared for them every day and over time we've watched them grow. We've talked about how the plants grow and what they can be used for. I haven't gone into all the mechanics of the plants (i.e. stem, roots, etc.) just yet, but it's in our near future.
Bottle cap name cards
I first learned about this idea from 1+1+1=1 and it's one of James' favorites. I created the cards in Word, printed and then laminated them. James loves hunting for the matching bottle cap letter and he gets such a kick out of seeing the familiar faces on the cards.
I love these little cards because they provide a control of error in the artwork (e.g. the car is split into 3 parts). James used these by matching up the pictures and then sounding out each letter.
3 part cards
I've been busy printing and laminating 3 part cards on a variety of topics - space, plants & animals, living & non-living, geography. You can find my favorite printables resources here. I'll be introducing a couple of these to James this week.
I found these at a flea market and they've got to be circa 1980, but they get the job done. In fact, they opened up some funny dialogue - I had to explain to James what a cassette tape was and the big boombox threw him for a loop. :) He liked the cards though and did really well categorizing them, but we'll work on the sequencing a bit more.
Arithmetic on the abacus
I found this abacus at a second hand store in Connecticut and it was the best $2 I ever spent. Such a great learning tool! James used it quite a bit last year when he was perfecting his rote counting and is now using it to practice addition and subtraction. This is all him, mind you. Paul and I never push any of this stuff on him. I'm constantly amazed at what HE finds interesting!
We finally finished our rainbow collage! We started this back in April and little by little James would work on it, adding a scrap of paper here or there. This was such a great color sorting activity. I simply drew an outline of a rainbow on a big sheet of paper, cut lots of strips of colored construction paper, had James tear the strips up (GREAT fine motor activity) and glue the torn bits onto the outline.
James painted this bit of artwork, which I used to create a pretty little pinwheel. See my tutorial here.
Linking up to Montessori Monday & Preschool Corner - be sure to click the buttons for more ideas!