Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Money Match Activity

It's been a while since we worked with money and I realized James needed a refresher, so I pulled out our jumbo paper coins and the nomenclature cards I made last year. I also decided to put together this "Money Match" activity.
It's just a basic coin/denomination recognition activity, but it's proved to be very useful and James really enjoyed it. I printed off two copies of each sheet onto cardstock and cut one of each sheet, using the cut pieces to work with any of the other sheets. Does that make sense? Basically this activity can be used in a number of ways just by mixing and matching the sheets and by using real coins as well - see (the very dark photo - yikes, sorry!) below for examples:

I'm sharing these with you in the hopes they'll be useful to one of your kiddos!
Click here for US coins only, and here for Bermuda AND US coins.

Please keep in mind that I format these myself, so they're not perfect, but they'll certainly get the job done. : ) Also, as with all of my printables, these are for your personal use only - please do not sell or offer them in a giveaway. Thank you and enjoy!

~Thank you for your comments!~

Monday, May 28, 2012

June Calendar Cards: Lemonade

Several of you have said you'd be interested in these, so here you go!

Click here to download

Don't forget about my summer-themed calendar cards from last year, too! Click here to see them.

Please keep in mind that I format these myself, so they're not perfect, but they'll certainly get the job done. : ) Also, as with all of my printables, these are for your personal use only - please do not sell or offer them in a giveaway. Thank you and enjoy!

~Thank you for your comments!~

Treasure Basket: Wood

Now this one may look a bit boring (to us, anyway - this was one of Juliet's faves!), but there are all sorts of shapes, textures, and even sounds in this basket.

Here's what's inside: (all wooden)
:: bowl
:: maraca
:: train track (from James' train set)
:: owl teether (handcrafted by my friend's father!)
:: sheep
:: jumbo die
:: the basket itself!

Read my first Treasure Basket post for more details on the how and why behind Treasure Baskets.

~Thank you for your comments!~

Sunday, May 27, 2012

DUAL Giveaway: Montessori At Home! & Montessori Print Shop

~This giveaway is now CLOSED~

If you've been following my blog for a while and if you've entered past giveaways of mine (such as this one and this one) then you'll know what a *huge* fan I am of Montessori At Home! and Montessori Print Shop.

Montessori At Home! is a favorite in our home. It's a fantastic book written by John Bowman in which he provides the reader with TONS of ideas, tips, and professional insight about how to bring Montessori into your home or school.

Montessori Print Shop has been, for over two years now (!), my go-to supplier for high quality Montessori printables. The lovely owner, Jennifer, has put a lot of time and care into making excellent, user-friendly materials for everyone to enjoy.

I am VERY excited about this giveaway because not only have my two fave Montessori resources joined together to offer one amazing giveaway, but also because I get to choose TWO winners!

:: The Montessori At Home! second edition eBook
:: The Montessori At Home! bundle of 21 printable materials from Montessori Print Shop
:: A free copy of the eBook: Mom Bloggers Talk Montessori

Pretty sweet, right? This set of materials is perfect for teachers, parents, grandparents - anyone interested in teaching children the Montessori way! It is truly a most generous giveaway. HUGE thanks to John Bowman and Montessori Print Shop for donating it to two of my readers!

AND, as an added bonus, John Bowman is offering a discounted rate of $7.95 on his book, Montessori At Home!, for the two weeks after the end of this giveaway - an exclusive offer to Counting Coconuts readers only. :) Starting June 2nd, click here to enjoy this perk!

If you'd like to enter to win, here's what you need to do:

Mandatory entry (i.e. the only thing you really HAVE TO do in order to eligible to win)
1. Leave a comment on this post.

Extra entries:
2. Like Counting Coconuts on Facebook and leave me a separate comment on this post letting me know you have/already do.
3. Like Montessori Print Shop on Facebook and leave me a separate comment on this post letting me know you have/already do.
4. Like Montessori At Home! on Facebook and leave me a separate comment on this post letting me know you have/already do.
5. Follow Counting Coconuts (in whatever way you prefer) and leave me a separate comment on this post letting me know you have/already do.
6. After today come back and leave me one comment per day on this post until the end of the giveaway.

*NOTE re: separate comments - each entry will be counted as a chance to win. If you put all of your entry requirements into just ONE comment, you'll only have ONE chance to win.

This giveaway will end on Friday, June 1st at 9pm Atlantic Time, and is open to anyone, anywhere!

Good luck!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Angry Birds Mini Unit

The Angry Birds mini unit is ready! I had hoped to get this out here sooner, but my sweet little girl came down with a viral infection and was quite ill for a number of days. : ( She's on the mend now, though - thanks for your kind thoughts and prayers for her!

Here's a closer look at what's inside this unit:

DIY Angry Birds Game. We used our set of Lincoln Logs, a few items from our sensory tub, and our homemade slingshot for this game. I ordered these plush Angry Birds and we'll use them to try and knock down our structures.

Tic Tac Toe. I found the Angry Bird images here, and I made the game board. Easy peasy!

Launch-A-Bird. For this activity, James uses the slingshot to shoot the "birds" (puff) across the room. He then uses the measuring tape to determine how far they flew, and makes note of it in his nifty homemade Angry Birds notebook. :)

Bingo. I made these myself - you can download them here.

Gluing Practice. James really enjoyed this one (though anything involving glue is usually a hit!) - he glued googly eyes and bits of colored felt onto some of the jumbo puffs to make his own Angry Birds.

REAL Angry Birds. I made these cards, but I credit this website for giving me a jump start on the information. James thought it was neat to see his favorite birds in real life!

LOTS of worksheets from 1+1+1=1 and Teaching Happily Ever After.

Thermic Tablets. Since there are a variety of materials used in the Angry Birds games, I thought it'd be fun to dig out the tablets and have a review of them.

Memory Game. Using the same images as in the Tic Tac Toe game, I (haphazardly!) cut these into cards for a memory game.

Tweezing Pigs & Birds. James got a bunch of these little pigs for his birthday one year, and the birds are from who knows where. I've had them forever. :)

War Card Game. I found the cards here.

Patterning. Images are from this site.

Measuring "Bird Seed". I didn't want to go out and buy a huge bag of bird seed, so I bought some sunflower seeds instead (yum!). James uses the measuring spoons to find out how many of each measurement is inside of the container. He records his findings in his notebook.

Angry Bird Craft. I printed these off from here. Once they're all put together they're little cube shaped birds. :)

Sensory tub - click here for the original post.

~Click the button below to view more of our mini units.~

~Thank you for your comments!~

Monday, May 21, 2012

May Sensory Tub - Angry Birds

We recently bought an iPad and Angry Birds was one of the first games we installed. Talk about fun (and addictive)! Within a few days Angry Birds was all the rage in our house and I knew I had to create a sensory tub and mini unit with these birds in mind. :)

Here's what's inside:
:: stone pebbles
:: lots of wooden cubes
:: various pieces from our Lincoln log set
:: plastic (Easter) egg
:: egg shaped gems/sequins (these are hidden under the rocks and inside of the large egg)
:: jumbo pom-pom/puffs in Angry Bird colors
:: feathers
:: acrylic ("glass") cubes
:: metal container with Angry Bird picture
:: glass votive
:: nest (from the pet section at our local pet store)
:: cardboard box with TNT logo

My very manly husband made this slingshot in less than 15 minutes using stuff from around the house/yard and this tutorial as a guide. James has been using it to launch the puffs/birds all over the place!

I won't have time to share the mini unit until (hopefully) later this week. My poor girl is teething BIG TIME and is very snuggly and needy as a result. My arms are happily preoccupied with holding and cuddling her as much as possible. :)

Click the button below to see a full list of my sensory tubs or click here to view my slideshow on the Counting Coconuts Facebook page.

~Thank you for your comments!~

Friday, May 18, 2012

Treasure Basket: Kitchen

This one could also be dubbed "shiny". : )

Here's what's inside:
:: Whisk
:: Small measuring cup
:: Spoon
:: Small tin w/ cheerios inside (in case it opens, the contents are edible!) that make a nice "tinking" sound when shaken.
:: Pretty napkin - Juliet likes playing peek-a-boo. :)
:: Cake mold
:: Tiny creamer w/ handle

Read my first Treasure Basket post for more details on the how and why behind Treasure Baskets.

~Thank you for your comments!~

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Getting Ready for Mickey! - Part 2

More Disney preparations!

I've been having so much fun making things in preparation for our trip to Disney World this fall. I'm reeaaallllyy excited about this trip and even though I know it'll be an amazing trip without my help, I'm doing what I can to add a little extra magic here and there. :)

~DIY Shirts~
I made these for James (still working on Juliet's) using a couple different techniques. The red shirt was made using bleach (see this tutorial) and the others were made using fabric paint and freezer paper (see this tutorial). The bleach method is super easy, and while the freezer paper method wasn't hard, it was definitely time consuming. Worth it, though. I love how they turned out! We'll be visiting the new Legoland in Florida, hence the Lego Yoda shirt. : )

~Daily Schedule Cards~
I confess... I have DPS. Disney Planning Syndrome. I tell you, if I could live in perpetual Disney planning mode, I'd be one happy girl! I made these cards about 4 seconds after we booked out trip. I spent hours creating them, inputting data, customizing them so they'll be user-friendly for my darling hubs. Sigh. But they're done and they'll be super helpful as we stroll around the parks. I'll print them off before we leave for our trip and then before we leave the hotel each morning we'll grab the card for that day. I made them so they'd fold in half - the left side details everything from our general where & when to which shops I want to visit to which rides/attractions are best for James. The right side offers a list of dining option that I thought my family would enjoy as well as a legend explaining all the acronyms (this part is for hubs). :)

~Welcome Basket~
When we arrive in our hotel room, there will be a basket of goodies waiting for James and Juliet. I thought this would be a fun way for Mickey :) to welcome the kids to Disney World. I went through Memories by Betsy (she is SO nice and helpful!) and even though our trip is still months away, she was more than willing to let me order in advance. You can customize your basket with whatever you'd like! I chose a plush Mickey and Minnie, a set of personalized mouse ears for both kids, a MM light spinner, a balloon, and some MM bath toys.

~Pixie Dust~
I raided the dollar store and found some inexpensive Disney themed toys to leave on the kid's pillows each morning. We'll pretend Tinkerbell stopped by with her pixie dust and left a gift. :) Between this lot and the welcome basket my hope is that this will cut back on the amount of souvenir spending we do in the parks.

Disclaimer :)
Ok - I know this sounds like a lot, and yes, I know my kids will have a blast without all the extras. I think these goodies will make the experience just that much more magical. My kids are not spoiled with toys and things on a regular basis, so this will be quite a treat for them!

~iPad Apps~
There are tons of Disney apps out there and even though we don't plan on bringing the iPad into the park with us, I downloaded just about everything I could find anyway. :) Nearly everything is worth downloading, but our favorite apps are the story books (Tangled is especially good), Disney photo of the day, DTunes Radio, and Parktastiq. The countdown is nice to have, but it's a bit boring. Above is a screenshot of the apps we chose. (Btw, notice the 82 unread emails? That's just one week of Counting Coconuts mail!)

~Planning DVD & Personalized Maps~
There's nothing quite like getting Mickey Mail! I was absolutely giddy when both of these things arrived in the mail (on separate days, too, so double the giddiness!). If you're planning a trip to Disney be sure to order your FREE Disney planning DVD and a set of personalized maps. The DVD is awesome and lots of fun to watch. It'll definitely get your family psyched for your trip. The maps are really, really nice and I was amazed at how big they are! We've had lots of fun looking at them. It may seem silly, but I don't think we'll actually bring these with us, rather I'll hang on to them as a keepsake.

~Hair Pretties~
This is my latest hobby craze. I've been busy making these hair accessories - or "pretties", as my sister calls them - for friends and my own sweet Juliet (who really has very little hair lol). I apologize for the crummy photo, unfortunately the dim light doesn't really allow the colors to stand out. The blue/red/yellow bows are Snow White-ish, the other blue one with the green netting is my take on Dori (Finding Nemo), the purple one is Rapunzel inspired, and the black/white/red one is meant to be Minnie Mouse. Oh, and the other cream colored flower is just a random one I made for Juliet.
Here's a pic of my sweet baby girl wearing it. :)

~Movie Night~
Every Saturday night is "movie (and popcorn) night" in our home. For the past few months we've been watching a different Disney movie each weekend to get James (and ourselves!) acquainted with some of the characters. Oh and iTunes has tons of really great Disney "shorts" (5-8 minute mini movies) that are AWESOME. On a side note, I've been surprised at how many "classic" Disney movies I hadn't seen (101 Dalmatians, Dumbo, Bambi, just to name a few!).

Link~Guide Book~
There are TONS of Disney guidebooks out there, but out of the few I purchased, this one by Birnbaum Guides is my favorite. It's attractive to the eye and easy to read in that it's colorful and has lots of pictures. Perfect for kids to page though, too. Plus there are tons of tips and notes, helpful guides, and best of all the opinions in the book are honest.

~Current Favorite Disney (related) Links~
:: video tutorial on packing those little necessities
:: Disney inspired outfits (these are just so fun to look at!)
:: DISboards (HUGE forum for all things Disney - very overwhelming and addictive so take it slow!)
:: Disney food blog (for Disney lovers and foodies alike!)

There's still more Disney planning to come! Click here to see other parts to this series.

~Thank you for your comments!~

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Treasure Basket: Black & White

For about the past two months or so I've been making treasure baskets for Juliet (8 mos.). I read about this idea ages ago in the wonderful book How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin. I thought it might be fun to share a new treasure basket with you each week. :)

The idea behind a treasure basket is simple. It's basically a gathering of 5-10 objects of various characteristics (shape, color, texture, etc.), all contained in a basket (or box) for your child to explore with their senses.

This is the very first basket I made. Juliet LOVED it and explored it for a good 30 minutes!

Here's what's inside:
:: Fabric spider (from this funny doll)
:: Crochet rattle (from this lovely set)
:: Knitted rabbit
:: Breast pad - ok, I know this sounds weird, but Juliet loves these things. I'm sure it's because they remind her of our nursing sessions (btw, we're going on 9 months of breastfeeding over here - wohoo!).
:: Poached egg cup
:: Soft scrub brush
:: Large crochet flower
:: Bit of ribbon
:: Star shaped cookie cutter
:: Cow

This has got to be one of the most frugal ways to "entertain" your child. All in all I've made quite a few baskets already - about 25, I think. Some Juliet has used, others are on hand ready to go for the coming weeks/months. She plays with her basket every day and I change the "theme" every 4-5 days. I definitely plan to repeat the baskets and I keep all of the items together in one large bin.

One thing you'll notice in my baskets is that I reuse a lot of items (e.g. the cookie cutter in the "black and white basket" also works well in the "kitchen basket"). Also, I purchased very few new things for these baskets and that's only because it was unsanitary not to. 99% of the items were already in our home.

Oh and I make sure the items aren't harmful (i.e. sharp, broken, too small, toxic), but it's important to note that Juliet explores these baskets under my supervision. You just never know. I'm also careful not to interfere with her explorations. A treasure basket can be very stimulating and there's lots of learning going on in the process of discovery!

I have a "Treasure Basket" board on Pinterest, so be sure to visit for more ideas and links. If any of you are interested in sharing your treasure baskets, please feel free to add your link in the comments section. : )

~Thank you for your comments!~


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