Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rainbow Activities - Part II

Some more rainbow fun - Montessori style! Click here for Part I.

Practical Life

Pouring colorful buttons...
Scooping "alphabet soup" from one container into two...
I used food coloring and dyed this pasta in batches. I'd be happy to do a tutorial on how I dyed the items in this post if anyone is interested - let me know!

James always enjoys spooning work and with this one he came up with a surprise grace and courtesy lesson - he carefully scooped "soup" into each bowl, and then he brought one of the bowls over to me and he said, "Here's some soup for you, Mama. It's delicious!". To which I replied, "Thank you, James!" and then he in turn said, "You're welcome, Mama!" Oh how I love good manners!

Transferring flowers with tongs...
I cut these flowers from a lei I purchased at the dollar store. We did this same activity for St. Patrick's Day only in that case we used green and white flowers. James handles tongs with such ease now, whereas a few months ago he either couldn't or wouldn't. He also named the colors of each flower as he transferred it.

Sweeping rainbow rice...
James l-o-v-e-d this work and has done it several times. I found the little crumb brush and dustpan here. The rainbow rice is homemade with food coloring.

Matching jars and lids...
Ok, so not a rainbow activity, but I was anxious to put this out on our shelves. I've been saving up glass jars of various sizes for the past few months and I finally had enough to create this work. The lids are inside the homemade bag. James was really into this activity. It has come off the shelves many times. Love when that happens!

Buttoning with the button snake...
It's been a while since I put this out, and I'm pleased to say James was really interested in it this time. Unfortunately, I need to re-evaluate the design of my snake. I think the button is too small because it was tricky for James to get a good grasp on it.

Color mixing...
This is a classic Montessori activity whereby the child uses a dropper to transfer the colors from the (baby food) jars into the cube sections of the ice tray. They take notice of the color change that occurs when certain colors are mixed together. We love this work - anything involving water is usually at the top of the list for James. :)

Rolling/unrolling a mat...
Again, not rainbow (sorry!), but I snapped this shot of James and wanted to share it. We use a mat for all of our floor activities. For those not familiar with Montessori, the reason for using a mat is because it delineates the child's workspace. It's best to use mats/rugs that are light in color and free from distracting patterns or designs. This allows the child to focus on the work, not the mat. Anyway, rolling and unrolling a mat is one of the very first things a child learns in a Montessori environment. James is a pro at this and usually knows which activities are intended for a mat and which are meant for the table.


Sorting gems by color...I found these fake crystal looking gems at the pet store of all places! I found the citrus bowl at our local thrift store and the small pepper looking bowls (I think they're supposed to be apples) came in a kit which I purchased here. Just a side note, if you do decide to order this kit please note the quality of the small fake food is quite poor.

Sorting wooden beads by color or pattern...I love these beads. I found them at a store called Daisy & Mac. They came all bound together on a long elastic string. No clue what the intended purpose was for them, but I thought they'd make a great sorting tool.

Placing colored beads into the suction cups of bathtub mats (you can find the mats here)...
Excellent activity for improving fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and color discrimination. The cute little clay pot is from Mexico, a gift from my dear friend, Dana. James is SO careful with it - he knows it's special and treats it with great respect. I know a lot of people don't believe this, but children can (and should!) be trusted with breakable things. They just need to learn how to handle them first. There's sense of pride and accomplishment they inherit from knowing they are being trusted with these kinds of things.

Sorting itty bitty fruit by shape and color.
James got such a kick out of these! He loves tiny things. Of course he counted the fruits as he sorted them. :) I found these at our local craft store.

Click here and here to see our other rainbow activities.


Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

Can I just say I LOVE James' sweet little hands... it's so adorable to see those baby hands doing all these amazing things! :) I thought of you this past weekend when I found 5 cute little baskets at a thrift store grouped together for $.80!

We need to do more spooning activities, as well as a sweeping one. I just know Matthew would love learning to sweep rice. And I am with you on children being allowed to handle breakable items. They can learn just about anything, can't they? I just recently taught Matthew how to handle cd's and work the grown up cd player, and he makes his own peanut butter sandwiches with a butter knife. He does a great job (and I get the added pleasure of horrifying my in-laws with this kind of thing, hee hee). Love your posts, as always!

The Activity Mom said...

So many great activities! How did you color your rice/pasta?

Karen said...

Where did you found all those cute bowls!!! I love the orange fruit and the white peppers!! all the bamboo stuff!! Everything it's so beautiful and colorful!! Love your rainbow theme!!!

James it's just doing AWESOME!! with the lids, the sweeping...EVERYTHING!!! you both make a great team!!!

Love your always!!

Big hugs,

Alone in Holy Land said...

Today, while I was browsing through the activities, the colorful pictures caught Maya's eye, she was playing near me.
After looking for some time she said she loved the fake crystal gems and that she wants some too! I am not sure I saw something like this in Israel, but I'll have to look now!
I like the alphabet soup idea, the main problem is that the is no alphabet shaped pasta here in Israel. Not even Hebrew letters!
Sometimes it is really frustrating as I see so many lovely activities on different blogs and I don't have the materials to do it. I am like improvising all the time...
Anyhow, we love your activities and materials!

Counting Coconuts said...

Hello ladies, thank you for your sweet comments!
Activity Mom, I colored both the pasta and the rice in batches with food coloring -- I'd be happy to do a tutorial on it, if anyone is interested. :)
Karen, I found the citrus bowl at a thrift store, the small pepper bowls I purchased online through Montessori N Such, and the bamboo bowls I found at a local store called Island Trading.
Ramona, I'd be more than happy to send some stuff to you! Let's chat via email. :)


Förskoleburken said...

Hi again!
So many great activities, as always! I love the sorting tray with the wooden beads...
Thank you for stopping by my blog, hope you found something interesting!

Anonymous said...

What wonderful activities you created! I think I would like to send Sammy to your house to learn :-)

tracey (aka rainbowmummy) said...

Love it all as always! I need to get me a lei..I'm thinking pipe cleaner steams..


Susana said...

YES, I would love to know how you dyed the pasta!

Your ideas are wonderful. I love those little bath mats with the suction cups.

Thank you so much for including links for ordering what you use. So helpful and appreciated. I know the extra time it takes to add links!

Unknown said...

I am going on a trip TOMORROW with my kiddos!! This would be fabulous! Please please could you let me know how you colored the rice and pasta? I would like to make one for each of the big ones! (2 1/2 and 4). Thank you!!

Meike said...


I found your blog tonight!

The spy-glasses you made with the colored rice are wonderful!

Please tell me, how you get the rice colored with food-colors.
I have no idea how to dry it!

Thank you so much for your ideas and your help!

Best wishes from germany,

meike (at)

Counting Coconuts said...

I shared more about how I dye my rice and pasta here - question 17:


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