Sunday, January 25, 2009

Have you lost your marbles?

If you haven't lost your marbles already after being cooped up in the house during this bitter cold winter with your kiddos, you might (literally) lose your marbles after this!
Here's what you need: a jar of flat bottomed marbles (like what you use for decorative purposes in vases, etc.) (I got mine on clearance at Target a couple of years ago), a roll of thin vinyl material (or roll of paper) and a Sharpie marker

Here's why you should do it: This is "controlled" counting and helps with one-to-one correspondence. Number recognition and correspondence is also practiced.

I highly recommend getting vinyl instead of using paper, because vinyl will hold up for hours of use and multiple children . . . but paper will work in a pinch! Make this template of numbers 1 - 10 to give a "guide" for your little one. (Vinyl is sold in most fabric stores. It is relatively inexpensive, you can cut it and it won't ravel, and is easily drawn on!)
Place the marbles on the circles . . . the circles drawn out help with one-to-one correspondence and help with practicing counting.
The finished product!

Want to step it up a notch?
Make separate sheets with only the circles and some small slips of paper with numbers written on them.
Spread them out and place them in the correct order (this also practices estimation to see which one goes next . . . before actually counting and making sure, of course!)
And then match the corresponding numbers to the correct quantities.
The finished product!

Want to step it up yet another notch?

You can introduce odd and even numbers with this visual. Even numbers have a "partner".
Run your finger down the middle and land upon the one in the middle. Odd numbers don't have a partner . . . they're the "odd" man out!

Now . . . have you lost your marbles or do you still have them?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ducks: land, air or water? That is the question . . .

What do you think? Keep reading to see what my three year old decided!

I'm pretty sure most households will have all necessary materials to do this fun, easy, and somewhat thought provoking activity . . . if you and your kids really get to analyzing things!

Here's what you need: any small clear container (I happened to have baby food jars), lots of animals, index cards or scraps of paper, water and some dirt! Easy stuff to gather, huh?

Here's why you should do it: This activity will help your child classify the world around them and learn about animals and their habitats (or mode of travel if you wish)

First, place your containers at the top of a rug or towel (I ordered a rug just like what I had in my classroom because it is what I am "comfortable" with.) The reason you want to place items on a rug/mat is so that it will 1) define a work space and 2)keep things aligned and organized. I added a little blue food coloring to the water to jazz things up a bit! :)

I added these cards to introduce some language. I color coded the words to the jars for a "clue" to non-readers.
Here's Lawton with a shark . . . definitely lives and swims in the water!
Birds- they fly in the air, and so that is what we went with here. However, ducks swim in the water, fly in the air, and walk on land. Lawton decided to classify them in the "air" department - there are no wrong answers here in my opinion! :)
Here is the finished activity! Very fast, thought provoking, and best of all, there was some pretending and role playing with every animal! ha!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sort your house away!

Sorting is an activity that children can start doing when they as young as two . . . and guess what? We never stop sorting for the rest of our lives . . . sigh. (Think the show Clean Sweep - trash, sell, keep; your bills - pay now, pay later, wish we never had to pay; your canned goods in your pantry, your medicines and nail polish, the clothes in your closet, etc. . . . need I go on?)

Here's what you need: anything that can be sorted - the remnants of all your pasta boxes in your pantry, those extra buttons that come with all your clothes, the heaping piles of stuffed animals in your kiddo's room, the blocks in the basket, rocks, leaves, etc.

Here's why you should do it: It helps form order in your child's developing life (which you hope stays with them through middle school - ha!), teaches them to categorize their world around them, and may help you out it some small way!

Here are a few examples of sorting from around our house the past few days.
Lawton sorted the silverware (after I took out the sharp knives, of course!)

He worked very diligently - I could do it ten times faster, but that's not the point!
Lawton helped me sort the socks, (not very willingly, but he did!) And after photographing our laundry, it made me realize that maybe a few pairs had seen their better days . . .

All right, help me here! Both of these pairs are Lawton's! Did I miss something in the "how to buy children's socks?" seminar? Both of these came from Target, and the big pair is the "correct" size according to the chart on the back. The smaller pair is the next size down, and very noticeably different! He wants to wear the smaller pair most, but they are starting to get to small, but the bigger pair is "wiggly" and he can't stand them. Any mom pointers?
Then we sorted his cars! I will say, this is probably too large of a quantity for the very young child, and know that if you sort toys, they will get distracted! (We had lots of on the side races in between sorts!)
First, we sorted by color
Then, we sorted by type
(cars, construction vehicles, fire engines and trucks)
Last, we sorted by size
Most importantly, have fun, get creative, and enjoy your child!

Friday, January 9, 2009

What is Momtessori?

Actually . . . I just made that up. You see, I am a Montessori trained teacher (and teacher at heart) and now I am a full time mom - so I am a Momtessorian! For all the Montessori purists out there who might have happened upon this site, this is not a "purist" site. For all the moms, dads, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and friends who want some inspiration, information and ideas to help spark the inner being of the precious one(s) in your life. . . welcome! Hopefully you will be able to recreate some of these traditional Montessori ideas in a relaxed, intimate way with your special one using the things around your house (or a quick trip to the dollar store!)

Now, I am not "perfect", an "expert", nor do I have all the answers. My house is dirty (a lot of the time), my kids are in their pajamas at lunch sometimes, and I lose my patience (more than I want). However, when I slow down and spend time, and I mean quality time, teaching, exploring and playing with my three year old, it's a great day! My goal for this blog is for you, too, to enjoy and help mold these precious years with your wee one. Watch the wheels start turning and let learning come alive!

What is "Montessori"?

The Montessori Method was created by Maria Montessori in Italy in the 1890's. She was a doctor, a true maverick, being a woman and all and being a practicing physician. She saw a need, though, and fulfilled the teaching and taming of the town's young children and those with special needs. Her methods caught fire and literally spread across the world, where a resurgence of Montessori methods came about in the United States back in the 1970's.