Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Butterfly Cycle

We had a super time watching our caterpillars turn into butterflies. . . so much so we captured four caterpillars in our backyard this afternoon to attempt to "raise" some more butterflies!

This video shows you the progression the past few weeks. The caterpillar pictures at the beginning of the video were taken EVERY SINGLE DAY! It was crazy how fast they grew! Lawton took the caterpillars to school one day early on to share and when I picked him up, I honestly could tell they had grown!

I would highly recommend doing this with your kiddos!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Basting - but not your turkey!

So sorry for the blog slacker that I have become. Several of you have called me out - and I guess I have been a slacker mom lately, too. Okay, I'm going to go easy on myself - life and the busyness of life take over sometimes, 'kay? You can always check out "my other life" HERE to see what we've been up to. (The reasons why I can't get a "Momtessori" post together)

Here's what you need: two bowls, water, food coloring, a baster, and a tray and sponge (even though I don't have the tray and sponge pictured, I HIGHLY recommend them!)

Notice that you always put the water (or whatever you are doing) on the left first. (Because everything in our culture - reading, math - is from left to right) Put the "utensil" in the middle so that just in case your child's "handedness" isn't declared, they will naturally choose what is right for them. If you were to put it on the left hand side of the bowl, 99% of the time they will pick it up with their left hand, and vice versa.

Here's why you should do it: This will help your kiddo with fine motor skills, concentration, and pave the way for your kid to bring the perfect turkey to Thanksgiving dinner years from now so you won't have to make it anymore! ha!

Show them how to squeeze the bulb, put it into the water, and then release to suction up the water.

Squirt out the water in the right bowl. (Just in case you're wondering - this is just water with a little red food coloring (since red is his favorite color). Colored water makes it SOO much more fun!
Keep transferring the water until it is all in the right bowl, and then transfer it all back to the left. Repeat as long as there is interest.

Want to take it up a notch? Use a medicine dropper with smaller bowls or a plastic "syringe" like what I have pictured below.

If you have a tray, USE IT! Somehow, out of the fifty different sizes, shapes and colors of trays I have in storage, I don't have ONE in the house. Water will spill. That's why you should have a sponge handy to teach THEM to clean up their own spills! :) Happy basting!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mother, May I?

So sorry for the delay of posts. . . I know you have been anxiously waiting! ha! (note the sarcasm, okay?)  We have been super busy around here with Easter and Lawton's 4th birthday on Tuesday!  I am going to throw this activity out there, not that it is original OR "Montessori", but I had kinda forgotten about it!  

After playing in the yard for at least an hour or so the other day, this momma wanted to rest! So I sat down on the swing in our yard and memories came flooding back to me when my mom sat and relaxed on the swing while my sister and I still had plenty of energy!  :)  (I now understand why we played this so much, Mom!)  Someone asked for an activity to help with gross (large) motor skills, so here you go!  

Here's what you need:  A "mother", some player(s), and some space!

Here's why you should do it:  It helps with gross motor skills, teaches taking turns (if playing with more than one person), helps with one-to-one counting, manners, patience and concentration!  It's just plain fun, too and lets the "mother" take a break and relax!  :) Who knew such a simple game could be so beneficial?  

Follow my dialogue . . .

The player stands a designated distance away (about 20 yards or so)

Mother:  Lawton, take three big bunny hops!

Lawton:  Mother, may I?

Mother: Yes, you may! 

(Lawton takes three big bunny hops)

Mother:  Lawton, take eight baby steps!

Lawton: Mother, may I?

Mother: Yes, you may!  

(Lawton takes eight baby steps)  

Continue on until the player reaches "Mother". 

If the player forgets to say "Mother, May I?", then they have to go back to the very beginning! 

If playing with more than one person, it can become a contest.  (or, you can "rig" it to be a tie!)

Some other ideas of steps - scissor steps (crossing one foot in front of the other), giant steps, crab walk (for the more coordinated), backwards steps, kangaroo hops, and whatever else you can dream up.  Give me some more ideas!  

Of course, depending on the age of the child, you can give the steps in little or big increments.  If they are just learning how to count, stick with just one, two and three and shorten the distance between the two of you.  If you have an older child, challenge them to higher numbers and having one-to-one correspondence!  

Here's to happy playing (and resting) "Mothers"!!! :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Story Cookies

I LOVE reading cookbooks. Not that I really like to "cook", but I do like to bake (and consume the baked goods.) ha! Anyways, several years ago, as I was reading one of my cookbooks, I found this neat recipe for Easter cookies. I wrote a note to myself and stuck it in my Easter decorations tub so I would remember to do it once Lawton got old enough. This is the year! :) And let me tell you, you might want to write yourself a note to do this, too, just in case your kids aren't old enough now. If you're anything like me (please say you are), you can hardly remember what you did yesterday, much less what recipe you want to make and where to find it two years from now! You can google "Easter cookies" and will be able to find it, but I am going to include a little bit more detail and specific verses to go along with this recipe. I found my recipe from"Memories in the Making", a cookbook from the Puffy Muffin.

I would suggest that you do this on Saturday, the night before Easter, but we did it ahead of time for two reasons. One, Lawton is having his family birthday party Saturday night! We will be a little preoccupied! Two, I want all of you to see this and prepare in time so you can do it, too!! :)

Here's what you need: 1 cup whole pecans, 1 tsp. vinegar, 3 egg whites, pinch of salt, 1 cup granulated sugar, zip lock bag, wooden spoon, tape, Bible
Here's why you should do it: It is a great Easter memory to do with your child and it provides a tangible, visible reminder/application of the story of Easter.

1. Place the pecans in a zip lock bag and let the children beat and break them with a spoon/rolling pin until the nuts are in small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. (Read John 19:1-3)

*We just told the story and referenced one of his Children's Bibles with the Easter Story that was more on his level.
2. Let the child smell the vinegar and pour it in a mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. (Read John 19:28-30)

*Lawton also knows how vinegar tastes . . . a few sassy mouth comments to mommy and daddy gets a spoonful of vinegar around here! He can sympathize with Jesus on this one!
3. Add the egg whites to the vinegar. The eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life. (Read John 10:10-11)
4. Sprinkle a pinch of salt into the child's hand and let them taste it. Brush the rest into the bowl with the egg mixture. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers and the bitterness of our sins. (Read Luke 23:27)
Here is the picture showing how sad everyone was.
5.Next, add the sugar and explain that the sweetest part of this story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. (Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16)
6. Beat the mixture on high for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form. (I hope for your sake you have a stand mixer! :) Explain that the white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. (Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3: 1-3)

*We also used the time that the mixer was going to retire "Spider man" and get on jammies and brush teeth . . . :)
7. Fold in the broken nuts. With a teaspoon drop the dough onto wax paper covering a cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. (Read Matthew 27:57-60)
8. Place the cookie sheet in a preheated 300 degree oven. Close the door and turn the oven off. Give the child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. (Read Matthew 27:65-66)
9. As you and your child prepare for bed, explain that there may be sadness about leaving the cookies in the oven overnight; likewise, Jesus' followers were sad and in despair when his tomb was sealed. (Read John 16:20-22)
10. On Easter morning, open the oven and pass out the cookies. Notice the cracked surface of the cookie and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. (Read Matthew 28:1-9)

"the empty tomb"

I hope that this can become a wonderful and meaningful Easter tradition as we plan on doing!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Sorry for the delay . . . the winner of the Easter activity is #9 - the Parker family! I'll get it to you soon!

And here is my feeble attempt to show you that I did use . . .

Min: Max: Result: 9 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Easter, Easter, everywhere! (and a give away!)

I love decorating for the holidays . . . I don't really go all out, except maybe for Christmas, but every holiday there are things here and there to make things a wee bit festive. When I taught, the practical life area would get a complete overhaul would this time of year and become all things spring/Easter. Here is one activity that the kids would love. Sadly, my Easter box was one of the few things that I couldn't get to in storage and I'm not in the mood to buy things that I already have - just not accessible to right now. . .

Here's what you need: a tray that is made to hold eggs, the corresponding number of plastic eggs, a bowl, and these cute, bunny-eared "scissor/tongs" that you can find in almost any Easter section right now.

Here's why you should do it: Ummm . . . fun Easter entertainment! Oh yeah, it also helps with their fine motor skills and helps increase their concentration, coordination and sense of order.

Start with all the plastic eggs in the tray. Grab the tongs and transfer all the eggs into the bowl.
Lawton insisted on holding the tongs with two hands and I kept telling him to hold them like scissors, it would be easier. Finally, on the fourth egg or so, he finally decided to listen to me and realized that it was, in fact, easier.
See the tongue? Trademark Lawton concentration face . . .
Once they are all in the bowl, transfer them back to the tray. Voila!
And, because I am in the Easter spirit, I want one of you to have this activity! Sorry, but the bowl is not included . . . just the tray, eggs, and tongs. Just leave a comment! I would love to hear what activities you like most so that I can maybe do more posts along those lines. . . Friday night will be the deadline. Good luck! :)

Oh, and guess what we have at our house now? Caterpillars! They are tiny! Stay tuned!