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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Practical Tuesday!

After making my last post, I just realized it was Tuesday so I decided to add another post for Practical Tuesday. I really don't know how often I'll be able to update this blog, but I'll just do what I can!

Today's Practical Tuesday activity will be sponge squeezing. My kids love doing this activity and I love it because the more practice they get at this, the less water I have on my beautiful hardwood floors when the kids help me clean :) You need a pitcher, two bowls, a sponge, and a hand towel. Fill a small clear pitcher of water up to a water line (draw a line, so the kids don't overfill when they do this themselves). I got a clear plastic small pitcher at our party supply store for about $2. Then pour the water into a bowl, showing the kids the correct way to hold a pitcher and pour. Then put the sponge in the water, let it soak it up then lift the sponge over the water and squeeze just a small little squeeze and wait until it stops dripping. Then move the sponge to the other bowl and squeeze all the water out. Continue until all the water is transferred from the first bowl into the second. The towel is there to clean up any water drips! This would be a fun activity for a warm summer day to do outside. After they are done with this activity and they want another fun thing to do with the water that would be great for their motor skills, just give them a paint brush (a real paint brush for painting houses, not a craft one) and a small bucket of water. Show them how to paint the fence (or your house, deck, patio...anything), by doing a nice stroke up and a nice stroke back down. Have them paint your fence with all the water. My 4 year old thinks this is the best to do. She loves to paint and this is just as exciting to her as real painting for some reason!

Making Smelling Bottles and Sound Boxes

There are so many ways to make smelling bottles. I know some people who use old film canisters or baby food jars to make them. I never liked these options very much because it's difficult for my 4 year old to get the lids of these items. Instead I made my smelling bottles with our Easter eggs! What else are we going to do with all those plastic eggs? I used all the same color of easter eggs. Then put a cotton ball in each egg. This is where you'll put the scent. Most scents are clear. Just put a drop or two on the cotton ball (that's all you need!) and close the egg. Some scents like vanilla and butter flavoring you can get clear at Joann's, since this what they flavor frosting with, so it won't change the color of white frosting. Also, you can use essential oils as scents as well. Make two eggs of each scent for the kids to match up. If you would like it to be self correcting, with a permanent marker draw a small little shape at the bottom of the egg so that when you match the scents up the two eggs having a matching shape at the bottom. Using the eggs also helps you store them easier and have the kids match them up easier and it makes it more fun! Using a cardboard egg carton and since there's two in a row, have the kids put the eggs matching in the rows side by side :) Then just store them in the egg carton. To make it more fun, have your kids paint the egg carton for you. My kids had a fun time playing with the easter eggs and matching the scents up! *Note the picture, is not a picture of my eggs :( My husband's laptop has the camera connection and he took it today!

For sound boxes, use the film canisters since it's more dificult to remove the lids or use eggs and just glue them shut (although I really like the film canisters better). You can usually get film canisters for free at a photo lab. Just ask! Fill the canisters with different items to make different sounds...rice, beans, small bells, a large nut, etc. Make matches!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Great New Website!

I've just recently come across a new website for getting really good montessori cards/materials to print and use. It's called Montessori For Learning Instead of charging a small fee for each item you'd like to download, there is a small $4.49 fee for a month's worth of access to the site to download and print as much or as little as you'd like. Join for just one month or join for several months, it's up to you! New materials are added weekly. There's even a free section to get you started. I was a member this last month and was thrilled to download many great math and reading resources to use for my kids. We aren't using a montessori album anymore, but we still use our many montessori materials to supplement our school work! With my son, I always wished there was more math worth...especially for the golden beads. I knew I could always create some, but I just wasn't find the time. There are a lot of activities for math and reading up right now. My daughter is excited to get to work with this golden beads this year.

Also, on the website you'll find administrative forms, fun materials like dominoes that go with the blue reading series and many other things!

I receive many emails from people all over the world, I still can't believe how many people follow my little blog! It's amazing and I'm glad you are all able to use my materials I've created for my children. The most common questions I'm asked are about what manuals are the best. I can't answer that because I haven't owned all the different manuals. I can say that I've owned almost all of the Montessori Research and Development manuals and I found them to be a great deal. They are inexpensive, well thought out, clear and precise and come with everything you need to create black and white cards for the activities. I personally, just wanted more exciting cards, which is why I started this blog! If you work in a montessori school, I highly recommend them.

However, if you are a homeschooler or just a stay-at-home mom, I would highly recommend that you go to the Montessori For Learning website...since I am not actively making cards right now, this would be a great option. You will get albums and the cards that you can download separately or just download a set of cards and it has the instructions from the album right there. This will help any Montessori parent understand what each material is for and how best to utilize it with their children. I will be using the cards I got from the site!

Stay tuned:

Soon I will be uploading pictures of a felt continent map I made for my kids. I just realized I never posted pictures. We had a homeschool group come over one day a week for several months last year and we used this huge map I made, along with the world puzzle map and many other resources. I'll tell you all about it (with instructions) very soon!