The theme for this month is outer space and most of these activities are space related. As I mentioned, our whole family loves all things celestial so for us this was an especially fun theme to put together!
Pouring Star-shaped Pasta. This is a bit more challenging than pouring from one container to another because in this case James will need to equally fill four very narrow cups and stop when each is just about full. All of these pouring activities have truly paid off - James can very easily pour his own milk or juice (from a child-size pitcher). Hooray for independence!
Spooning Marbles. The marbles are meant to resemble little planets. :) I should note that my usually anti-spooning boy LOVED spooning with a melon baller during last month's work and I'm hoping he'll enjoy using this little mustard spoon, which the marbles fit into perfectly.
Lacing the Earth. I found this image on Google, laminated it and then punched in holes about 1" apart.
Dressing Basket. This will remain out in our classroom for a long while, I'm sure. James is absolutely loving it!
Sweeping Stars. This is a common Montessori activity. To do this work James will first remove all the items from the tray, then pour the stars (crystals) onto the tray. Next he'll use the crumb brush to sweep the stars into the designated area (the rectangle) and then sweep them onto the little dust pan. From there he'll dump the stars into the leaf shaped dish and then pour them all back into the little pitcher. I used some fun scrapbooking tape to create the rectangle.
Sifting Planets. This is similar to an activity I put out at Halloween (sifting spiders) only in this case the blue rice is meant to represent the darkness of space and the glass beads are the planets. :)
Baric Tablets. I bought these a looong time ago and I'm afraid I'd forgotten all about them until recently. To learn more about Baric Tablets, read here.
Still on our shelves: The Knobbed and Knobless Cylinders, Sound Boxes and the beloved Pink Tower. :)
Books: My Place in Space by Joan Sweeney; There's No Place Like Space by Dr. Seuss; and On The Moon by Anna Milbourne.
Memory/Matching Games. These are three separate games focusing on planets, parts of the Earth, and constellations.
Space Flashcards. These cards have really beautiful photos and are full of significant, yet easy to follow facts on the reverse sides.
Space Magnet Pages. I don't actually use magnets with these, I use flat marbles instead. These came from Making Learning Fun.
Blue Series Work. We're just about finished with the Blue Series. Soon I'll be introducing the Moveable Alphabet (yay! I'm so excited!).
I also printed a little book about space from abcteach.com. Since James is still reading everything he can, I think he'll enjoy being able to read this entire booklet by himself.
Still on our shelves: Sandpaper Letters.
Cards & Counters. I made these cards and used stone pebbles ("moon rocks") as the counters.
Skip Counting. We're moving into the world of skip counting! This counting mat came from here. I made that little blue envelope as well as the ones in a few of the other photos. They're really easy to make and perfect for small cards that would normally slide around on a tray. I made my own version after watching this video.
Build A Rocket. I found this idea on Making Learning Fun, but I modified and recreated it with card stock and added a 6th shape to account for the 6 on the die.
Star Counting. For this work I cut squares of black construction paper and numbered the lower right hand corners (0-10) with a white crayon. James will use the star stickers to match the correct number of stars to the numeral. There are only enough stars (55) to match the squares exactly, so if, in the end, he has too few or too many, he'll know he needs to re-check his work.
Still on our shelves: The Hundreds Board, the Red & Blue Rods, and the Sandpaper Numerals
Science & Culture
Three Part Space Cards. A reader recently asked me how James uses the three part cards. My reply (in case anyone else is wondering) was that at first I only used the labeled cards from these sets, but now that James can read he's able to match the loose labels.
Pin Punching. I have been wanting to put out a pin punching activity for a while now because I think James is going to love it. I found these jumbo pins at the dollar store and printed out the constellation cards from here. The added bonus to this activity is that once James has them all punched we'll go into a dark room, shine a flashlight behind them and project the images onto a wall!
Phases of the Moon Cards. We use these regularly on our classroom calendar, but I'm putting them all on the shelf along with the control chart.
Life Cycle of a Star. I made these myself! This is very similar to the phases of the moon work in that James will need to order the cycle according to the control chart. As with all of these activities, I keep it light and fun - I am well aware of the fact that James is only THREE and so there's no need to delve into the cosmological significance of black holes or anything. ;D The important thing to me is the fact that he LOVES doing this kind of stuff!
Space Mat. These little things are the UK version of Shrinky Dinks (they sell A LOT of UK brands here). Basically they are drawings cast on to plastic sheets which you then color and heat in the oven. They shrink down and become very sturdy. The solar system mat came with the kit.
I saw this really cute idea - Make Your Own Universe - on The Work Plan. IF we have time we'll make one, but as you can see we have a lot to do already!
Still on our shelves: Parts of our North America Continent Bag and our Continent Puzzle.
Art & Music
Compose of the Month: Mozart. I always print out a portrait of our composer and upload the corresponding music onto my iPod, which then plays during schooltime. We're really enjoying our Composer of the Month routine! Throughout December whenever James heard either Swan Lake or The Nutcracker Suite, he'd shout out, "Chikovsky!!". As you can see, I have yet to print out my new Instrument Cards.
Space Songs. I hunted around online and collected a bunch of fun and simple songs about space, which we'll sing at circle time.
Stamping Stars. This is a self-inking star-shaped stamper and a little booklet of scrap paper stapled together. Simple, but fun!
Painting Planets. I saw this idea on My Montessori Journey. We'll use watercolors to create some unique planets and then string them together and hang them in the classroom.
We'll be revisiting the solar system artwork we created last year and, if James is interested, we'll create a new one.
Be sure to check out the wonderful Montessori blog, Leptir, for LOTS of space related lessons.
NASA has a great kid's section that's lots of fun, too.
I'm linking this post up to The Preschool Corner and Montessori Monday.
~Thank you for your comments!~