Showing posts from July, 2015

Progress on the Montessori Map

I've been working steadily on the Montessori felt map.  Here's what I've gotten done so far:

By day three, I had completed the cutting and sewing of South America, Antarctica, and Africa.  Because this is a Montessori map, the continents are done in "Montessori" colors: pink for South America, white for Antarctica, and green for Africa.
By day six, yesterday, I have finished cutting and sewing Europe and Australia.  I didn't buy enough orange for North America, so I haven't finished it yet.  Last is Asia, the biggest and most complicated continent.  I still need to add the major bodies of water to the last four continents.
I'm hoping to get started on the "land and water" map this weekend.  I have been putting it off because it seems so complicated.  Also, it's been really hot and draping wool, even a wool map, over my lap isn't very enjoyable right now.
How about you- how do you deal with big craft projects?

Felt Montessori Map (Introduction)

I've finally started the Montessori Felt Map from Imagine Our Life!  This project has been on my wish list for over a year.  So many things have slowed me down, including my own insecurities, but today I started cutting the felt!

Today, I figured out how to print directly onto the freezer paper, which is a real benefit for a project with so many little pieces like this one.  First, I ironed the freezer paper onto the regular computer paper.  Then, I ran the altered paper through the printer, making sure that the freezer paper was heading the right direction.  After the pieces were printed, I peeled the computer paper away from the freezer paper.  Then, I ironed the freezer paper pattern onto the felt and cut the pieces out.  The pattern can be used multiple times (at least 4 in my experience), which, once again, is very helpful in a detailed project like this map.  Here's as much as I got done today:

I cut out the main "water" part, the stretched-out version of Antar…

Young Toddler Turtle Sensory Bin

Tadpole (21 months) loves "Mommy School" time.  A few days ago, I made hims a turtle sensory bin with an adult turtle and baby turtle from the Safari Ltd life cycle set.  I placed about a half inch of water on the tray along with the turtles.  Tadpole jabbered about the turtles (it's a great way to work on vocabulary) and move them around the water.  He also loved to splash the water all over himself.  A few minutes of set up game me several minutes of happy toddler time.

Organization- Calendars

Lately, Dragonfly has become very interested in calendars and knowing when something is going to occur.  I think it may be related to her recent birthday.  Her interest got me thinking about starting "calendar time" next school year.  As I was researching (Pinteresting) and creating our calendar time, I began to tangent toward other types of calendars.

First, I got the crazy idea to make tiny magnetic numbers for our fridge calendar.  I was mostly done with the project when I realized that our fridge calendar wasn't magnetic.  So, my tiny numbers are stuck on with "teacher tack."

The numbers are in two different colors so I can keep a perpetual calendar.  As one month passes, I begin sticking on the next month's days.  As you can see in the picture, July is blue and August is red.  Then, September will be blue again and on and on through the year.  It may seem silly but I really like the way it looks.

Last week, I got out this "Kids' Calendar" …

Summer Themes- Birthday/Ice Cream

It's birthday season in our family so I thought this would be the perfect week for a unit on birthdays.  A birthday unit led me to lots of counting work.  Since there is only so much counting work a kid can do, I decided to combine the birthday unit with an ice cream unit that I had been planning for a while.  Happily, I already had an ice cream "name spelling" activity, which also fit well with the birthday theme.

Theme; birthday

Activities: counting candles
going around the sun
life timeline
                 cupcake invitation to play

Books: "A Birthday Cake is No Ordinary Cake"
            "The Best Birthday Party Ever"

More Ideas: printable pack
cupcake counting by 10's

Dragonfly practiced spooning beads this week.  The beads were especially challenging, since they bounced a bit if she wasn't gentle.  She's still pretty impatient with the process and was soon dumping instead.

Meanwhile, Skimmer was using the little shot glasses to pour be…

United States Geography Swap (Introduction)

I'm a bit nervous about how to begin this process.  I've wanted to participate in a culture exchange for as long as I've known about Montessori, at least a year.  After reading about others swaps and encountering several dead ends, I decided that I will have to lead one.  I debated whether to try for an international exchange or a US-based one.  In the end, I decided that a US-based one would be better and cheaper for my first one.  Introducing the United States Geography Swap 2015!

Key Points:
- I will be advertising this swap in several places in hopes of making at least 1 team of 5 people/families.  If I get more people, I'll make other teams.
- After I get everyone assigned to a team, I will share the contact information (e-mails) with the 5 participants of each team.
- Each participant will put together one box of items from your state for each of the other participants on your team (and yourself, if you chose).
- The items will be shipping in a USPS Priority Mail …

Summer Themes- Forest Fires

We have several wild fires near us at the present, so the kids have been very interested in talking about them and learning about them.  Because there isn't much available specifically on wild fires, I made this theme broader and focused on fire safety, fire trucks, the science of fire, etc.

Theme: Wild Fire

firefighter 3-part cards
           stop, drop, and roll
shaving cream flames and squirt bottles
           flame painting
           birthday candle blowing-out practice
           pouring beads
           blowing pompoms
fire science (heat, fuel, oxygen)

Other Ideas: fire truck roll and cover
blindfolded crawling maze
                    911 and our address
dancing flames on the fan
                  firefighting pretend play

Books: "Flashing Fire Engines" (doesn't show a burning house)
            "Rescue Vehicles"
            "Whose Gear is This?" (doesn't show a burning house)
            "H is for Honk" (" &quo…

5+ Hacks for the Bathroom

I've been reading a lot of "self-help" material about blogging.  One site suggested that I make a lot of lists, because readers like lists.  This morning when I was shower, I noticed a bunch of "hacks" in my bathroom that I thought would be good to blog about.  I have three toddlers currently, so most of my hacks are "life with toddlers" themed.  Here we go....

We change diapers in the bathroom and use a fun place mat as a "dirty feet" catcher.  As you can see, we duct taped it to the wall, which is pretty tacky, but it's helped a lot to protect the wall.  Unfortunately, I didn't think of this idea until we already had footprints on the wall.  Don't make my same mistake- protect your wall today.

As a bonus, the kids love to talk about the placemat as they're getting their diapers changed.  Imagine how much millage you could get with a numbers or alphabet one?

Our bathroom has a counter/table next to the sink without a cabine…

Safari Ltd Toob Ideas


Space Count and Clip

It's another count and clip file!  Click here to download.

Pirate Clip and Count

I recently noticed that I haven't made any count and clip cards in a long time.  My last set was made last summer (here), so I decided it was time to make some.  The first set is pirate themed to go with our "X Marks the Spot" preschool unit.  There are 11 cards for the numbers zero to ten.

To download the file, click here.

Montessori-Inspired Backyard Birds 3-part Cards


It's springtime!  Even thought it won't stop snowing and raining and hasn't gotten about 40 degrees, we're starting to see birds!  The kids are getting pretty restless getting stuck inside all the time, but they're enjoying all the variety of birds in our yard.  They have big plans for birdseed sensory bins, water fun, and other warm weather games.  Spring is also a great time for a bird, egg, or nest themed homeschool unit.

I updated the printable to go along with the Safari Backyard Bird Toob.

> > > Click Here Download the Printable < < <

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Galapagos Animal 3-part Cards

These 3-part cards match the animals found in the Galapagos Animal Toob by Safari Ltd.  You can download this printable for free here.

Summer Themes- Tree Frogs

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Dragonfly has been very interested in frogs since we've caught the Pacific Tree Frog in our yard.  We
still have him, and he is very happy in the "habitat" that we've made for him.

His name is "Mr. Froggy" or "Mr."  We alternate his diet between live crickets and live flightless fruit flies.  The kids love watching him eat.

Did you know that tree frogs need to close their eyes to swallow their prey?  And that their teeth are just for holding the food until they swallow it?  And that pacific tree frogs can camouflage themselves as needed?  I've learned so much about our little froggy this week, and the kids have, too.

Theme: tree frogs

Sensory: frog pond sensory bin

Activities:frog life cycle cards
                  tadpole to frog puzzle
parts of a frog cards
metamorphosis roll and cover game
                  pouring frog eggs
                  counting bugs
                  parts of a frog puzzle

Books: "Th…