Thursday, March 3, 2011

On Our Shelves - March

As I've mentioned, our theme for this month is weather. I was tempted to do a St. Patrick's theme like we did last year, but I thought we'd try something different instead. :) Note not all the activities below are theme related.

Practical Life
Tweezing "Starbursts".

Lacing. I found this image of a sun and a cloud on Google, which I printed off and laminated. Then I used a hole puncher to turn them into a lacing card. (The laces are in the little straw basket.)

Pouring Water. I used just a bit of blue food coloring to make the water easier to see. James loves this small, lightweight glass pitcher - it's perfect for little hands. I found it at Montessori Services, but I see it's no longer listed on their site.

Spooning Pasta. This tiny pasta is shaped like little suns (I dyed it yellow). Spooning into the funnel is a fun challenge - you have to be careful to spoon in just a little at a time.

Pushing Umbrellas into Styrofoam. This one was a favorite when we did it for our beach theme last summer.

Table Washing. We've done this before and it was a huge hit. The spray bottle has just a bit of soap in it, which James will spray onto our little table. He'll then use the sponge to wipe it clean and he'll wring the sponge out into the bowl. Voila - a clean table! :)

Open & Close Basket. I always try to include a variety of containers with different closures (e.g. zipper, snap, screw top). There's a little trinket inside each container - James loves this.

Still on our shelves: Dressing Basket.


Build-A-Kite. Sorry, I can't recall where I found this as I printed it off months ago. If anyone knows, please feel free to leave a link in the comment section - thanks!

Still on our shelves: Geometric Solids, Knobbed & Knobless Cylinders w/ extensions, and the Pink Tower.

Weather Matching. This activity involves matching seasonal clothing to three weather cards (rainy, sunny, snowy). I found this on Kidsoup.

Worksheets. I believe I found these sheets on abcteach. I made a fun flower pencil for James to use with this activity. :)

See & Spell. This is from Melissa & Doug - we love it!

Sandpaper Phonograms. We've moved on to the green series. James can read quite well now and has no problems reading Hop On Pop straight through. A few blends (like au, ie) still trip him up though, so it's timely we're focusing on those now.

Books. We have a good selection this month and all have at least a little something to do with weather:
How To Build A Rainbow by Eric Carle
Spring by Nuria Roca
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
Little Cloud by Eric Carle
Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
Hurry Home Little Kittens (one of our Kindermusik books)
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
We're Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

Still on our shelves: The Moveable Alphabet

Skip Counting. I made these little clouds and numbered them 2-20. James will need to put them in order and then use the snowflake beads as counters.

Rainbow Game. I created this rainbow mat which James will use along with the dice and place markers. This is a great addition/subtraction game!

Math Puzzle. I found this at our local teacher's supply store.

Counting "Raindrops". I'm eager to see how James will like this activity. It's interactive in that I'll clap a certain number of times and James will place that number of raindrops (clear beads) on the cloud. Thanks, Kidsoup, for another fun idea!

I also created a few dot to dot sheets.

Still on our shelves: Number Rods and Sandpaper Letters.

Culture & Science
South America Continent Bag. Well, just a few pieces of it. :) I like to put it out a little at a time - much easier to look through that way.

Types of Weather 3-Part Cards. I also have Types of Clouds cards, too, but I see I forgot to photograph them. Both are from Montessori For Everyone.

I have LOTS of fun science experiments and projects planned for this theme and I'll try to blog about them as we go. We'll be having plenty of outdoor school this month!

Still on our shelves: Continent Globe & Puzzle.

Art & Music
Composer of the Month: Vivaldi. I chose Vivaldi because of his beautiful Four Seasons concertos.

Every month I gather (from the internet) a selection of short, theme related songs for us to sing during circle time. Click here for the link to download this month's songs.

Art Basket. I have to confess, the whole art basket idea didn't go over as well as I had hoped. Sigh. But, it wasn't a total flop so I'm trying again. :)

Coloring Pages.

I have a few art projects planned as well and hope to share them throughout the month.

Still on our shelves: Instrument Nomenclature Cards.

~Thank you for your comments!~


Sippy Cup Central said...

We are coming to learn, looks great! Karen

The girl who painted trees said...

Great activities as usual! I'm wondering where you find shaped pasta? Do you order it online? I have been unsuccessful finding even just alphabet pasta at Publix and Kroger here.

jess_hak said...

What lovely ideas! I love that you went with a weather theme for your trays! I love the interactive game with the clouds and the raindrops. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas and inspiring me. :)

tracey (aka rainbowmummy) said...

Wow, I love, love, love it! SO many great ideas, I love the skip counting idea, very clear way of doing it.

As for the art basket. You do it. Go on, have fun with it. James might just be intrested in what you're doing :)

Theprincessandthetot said...

Love your activities again this month! I would love to know how he plays the Rainbow Game!

Jessie, The Education Of Ours said...

Great shelf work! I'm impressed that James can operate that table wash spray. That's tough!

My girls love open and closing. I can never rotate it out!

Anonymous said...

What a great theme!! I love the matching clothes to the weather! Can't wait to see the playdough!

Unknown said...

These are some very creative and skill building ideas. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I cannot thank you enough for posting what you put on your shelves. After five years of homeschooling it sometimes becomes difficult to find fresh ideas for my pre-k/k group since they've already grown tired of the manipulatives I used with my oldest. Thnkfully, almost every time I come to your site I find an idea that I just "have" to try in our school room; and my kids all love it. Bless you for providing some much needed inspiration!

Mommy to the Princesses said...

Love all the activities in your March shelf. I think I should put together an art basket for my daughter too, I am sure she would like it. Hope your son likes it too! Just wanted to let you know how amazed I am at all the thought and effort you put into creating his work each month! Your son is very lucky and I am sure he makes you feel lucky to have had him everyday! By the way, I left a similar message to you on facebook too. Unique Aqua is my name there!

Stephanie said...

Great ideas! I really love the raindrop game. I think I may have to do that one later this month. Our theme is spring and that will go with all the rain I'm sure we'll be getting soon! Thanks for the ideas!

Mom said...

Hi. I am relatively new to reading your blog, and my little guy is currently only 18 months. However, I was wondering if you present all of the activities right away on Monday or do you just show each one as James chooses it? I love your activities; thanks for posting!

Mom said...

Hi. I am relatively new to reading your blog, and my little guy is currently only 18 months (so not ready for most of your activities). However, I was wondering if you present all of the activities at once or if you just present each one as James chooses it? I love the ideas! Thanks for posting!

Debbie said...

Wonderful activities! I love your sensory tub especially. Also I'm interested in your theme-related songs for circle time. : )

Elle Belles Bows said...

Great shelves and theme (as always)

We just got a smaller version of the pitcher through Montessori and Such. Told them that I found them via your site. Love all that we got from them!

Love the lacing cards and smart idea to have a separate container with lid for the laces. The rainbow mat is also very creative! Fabulous job!

We have been using the M&D items too. E enjoys them so much. Have pics in my auto post with it and the Montessori N Such items coming up. Thanks again for the recommendation!!


Eva said...

ooh looks like a fun month! I'll have to try that table wiping one, my daughter is in a cleaning craze right now :) thanks!

Anne said...

Beautiful lessons! Are those dice in the rainbow game extra large? Where did get them - I can think of several children who would go wild for them!

Anonymous said...

These are wonderful. I'm going to use a lot of them with my son this month.

I am a KidSoup member and I wasn't able to find the kite puzzle there. Could you check again and see where you found it? What theme was it under?

Caterina said...

Thanks for so many great ideas. I would love if you can include the songs you sing. We currently doing your space theme.
Thanks so much,

Counting Coconuts said...

Thank you SO much for your comments!

@The Girl Who Painted Trees: I buy my pasta at the grocery store here... can't recall the style of pasta is was though.

@The Princess and the Tot: The Rainbow Game is played in this way: James rolls one of the large dice and leaves the number on the dice facing upward and then puts that number of pebbles on the game board. He repeats that process once more with the other large dice and then counts how many pebbles there are altogether. He uses the dice to see that one number added to another number equals a sum total.

@Leanne & Mommy to the Princess: Your comments really made me smile this morning - thank you!!

@Kylie: I present the work as needed and only when he selects it from the shelves. Some of it James is already very familiar with (like the open and close basket) so there's no need for a presentation.

@Debbie: I've emailed you the songs. :)

@Anne: I found the jumbo dice at the dollar store here on the island. I wonder if they have them available on Amazon?

@lisforlearning: You're quite right, I see now the kite building activity didn't come from KidSoup. I'm afraid I'm not sure where I printed it from if it wasn't KS. I prepare a lot of this stuff months in advance, so it's hard for my already not-so-great memory to recall back that far! Sorry!

@Caterina: I'll email you the songs for both units. It would take me too much time to write it all out in a post. :)

Anonymous said...

I love all the math games. I need to do the clapping one with JDaniel.

Marta said...

Eu não falo inglês,(uso o tradutor do google)mas acompanho seu blog e adoro, e não poderia deixar de fazer ao menos um comentário, parabéns pela criatividade, pelo belo trabalho com seu filho. Sou mãe de um menino de 5 anos e sou professora de uma creche (crianças de 5 anos) e estou amando as idéias de seu blog e compiando algumas. Aproveito para perguntar como você tinge (pinta) o arroz? Gostaria de fazer també puder me responder eu agradeço.


Counting Coconuts said...

@Marta: Thank you for stopping by and for leaving such a lovely comment! You can find out how I dye my rice in this post (#17):

Marta said...

Poxa, obrigada, eu descobri logo depois de deixar o recado, mas tenho outra duvida, o arroz não mancha os objetos dentro dos vidros? Objetos feitos de madeira por exemplo? Se o recipiente for de plástico você acha que mancha?
Esqueci de dizer, sou do Brasil, da região Nordeste. Tenha uma ótima semana.


Kendra said...

Wow... I'm always impressed! I'm fairly new to montessori philosophy and have loved incorporating some of your ideas. Thank you for taking the time to post and help us less organized moms provide great activities for our kids :)

Jen said...

Oh my gosh I love it ALL!!!! You are insanely creative, I'm always amazed at what you do.

julie said...

Table washing IS so fun! It used to crack me up, when my girls were in a Montessori classroom, to watch their tables get washed over and over again every day--cleanest tables ever! Now that we homeschool, I like for the girls' practical work to be legitimately practical, so they wash the table when it needs washing, and they wash the floors, and wash the counters--thank goodness for homemade natural cleaners.

Leptir (Nataša) said...

Great activities :-) Thanks for sharing. My favorite is your counting "Raindrops" game.


Liz said...

Thank you for all the wonderful inspiration! I really love your blog.

I think the build-a-kite activity came from Here's the link:

Happy spring!

Unknown said...

For grass, buy wheat berries at a health food store and grow them yourself. Depending on your weather, etc., it can take a couple weeks to grow the grass. (Google for directions.)

Rather than cutting grass for your Easter project, you can grow the grass in a shallow container, e.g. glass or plastic, that will fit in your basket. BTW: a long, shallow (lined) box of wheat berry grass with a few colorful objects (Easter eggs, bunnies, etc.) makes a beautiful centerpiece.
P.S. Wheat berry grass is very healthy to eat.

Unknown said...

I am very interested to learn the love love your blog..wonderful ideas

Deb Chitwood said...

This was a great unit as always - perfect for spring or summer! I'm focusing on a cloud unit today and appreciate your creative ideas such as the skip counting and counting raindrops activities. I featured your post and counting raindrops photo at

Mrs. Wright said...

As usual, I love all your creative ideas, especially the math activities. I am going to adapt the clapping/counting game in my classroom as a two person game to see how it works. One child can choose a numbered card, clap that number of times and the second child can lay out that many raindrops. Then they can check it together.
It should give everyone lots of practice!
I was wondering if the next time you are at the grocery store, you might pass on the name/brand of the sun- shaped pasta. I've looked all over for it and cannot find it.
Also, would you be willing to share your cute cloud number set and rainbow card? I'm just no good at creating this stuff and yours is beautiful!

Counting Coconuts said...

@Mrs. Wright: I'd be happy to send you those materials - just let me know your email address. :) And I'll do my best to remember to look at the pasta the next time I'm in the grocery. :)

Counting Coconuts said...

@ Mrs. Wright: the name of the pasta is Stelline - see here:

:) Hope that helps!

Deb Chitwood said...

I featured your creative rainbow addition/subtraction game photo and your rainbow posts in my Montessori-Inspired Rainbow Activities at


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