What is one of the first things you think about when you hear the word “Montessori”? For me- it’s the learning area known as “practical life.” Maybe it is because my daughter and I focus most of our Montessori time on this subject. Or maybe because it is the most,..well…, practical!
I created a list of different practical-life Montessori activities you can do with your child during this fun time of year.
- Teach your child how to wrap presents. Provide them with several small boxes, wrapping paper, scissors, tape, and technical skill to get the job done.
- Using a small set of Christmas lights (found at Dollar Tree!) and a mini tree, teach your child how to wrap lights around a Christmas tree. (And if they bunch them all up and carefully smush them on the tree, praise them for trying 🙂 )
- I am not sure if this is considered practical life, but talk about the concept of charity and giving to others. Come up with a plan with your child to GIVE this holiday season.
- Write a polite letter to Santa and follow that up with a thank you card. Teaching manners is part of the Self Development category of Practical Life.
- Have your child help you hang the Christmas stockings on hooks.
- Use a holiday nutcracker to crack open nuts. My nutcrackers are strictly for decorative purposes, but it would be cute if you are brave enough to try!
- Prior to meeting Santa at the mall, be sure to teach your child how to introduce him/herself.
- And let’s hope this doesn’t happen, but if an ornament happens to fall and shatter, this would be a great time to carefully show your older child how to sweep up the fragments.
The list could go on and on- there are so many different practical life activities you could tweak for the holiday season!
Part of my church responsibilities include working with a great group of 8-10 year old girls. I thought it would be fun to teach them about the nativity, and originally was going to make a nativity ornament with them- when I thought it would be more fun (OK, easier and less messy) to make nativity dice with them!
The objective of this activity is to teach about the different characters of the nativity. I wanted to see the girls dive into their scriptures to learn more about who these people were. I also wanted a project that my girls could take home and do with their families. So this activity seemed perfect!
6 images of different Nativity characters
foam cube (I saw these at Michaels for five dollars, but they are only a buck at the Dollar Tree!)
glue sticks/ hot glue/ scissors
How to make the Nativity Dice:
- Trace one side of the foam cube on the cardstock. Cut out square and use this as a pattern to cut out 5 more squares. Hot glue cardstock on foam cube.
- Cut out nativity characters and glue one on each side of the foam cube.
That’s it! Unless you want to embellish. I kept mine simple.
How to play the Nativity Dice Game:
- Roll the dice.
- Name the character and describe the role they play in the nativity.
You may also want to do one of the following:
- Research this person in the bible.
- Share any connections you may have with this person.
- Share any questions you may have for this person.
This is the perfect addition to our family’s nativity kit !
The time for advent calendars is here! Can you believe it? Where does the time go! I was getting our advent calendar ready with treats and had an idea to easily incorporate coin recognition over the 25 day advent calendar time period. The total cost for this activity? A mere 25 cents. Objective? To learn the coins: penny, nickel, dime, quarter.
Inside each little cubby in our advent calendar (and next to our little treat of course!) I will place a penny. If you don’t have an advent with cubbies, you can just give your child one penny every day in December until Christmas. The penny will be placed in a little canvas wallet that I will have my daughter decorate with fabric markers, but any wallet/purse/baggie will work to hold the coins. Every morning we will open the advent cubby, take out the penny, add it with any previous coins, and stamp how much money we have so far in the “My Christmas Money” book. (This book is just a stack of index cards connected with a book ring! Simple but efficient!!)
After we have counted and stamped our daily total, I will have my daughter write the number. This might take a bit since we have NEVER written numbers (and she can write just a handful of letters) but I know she will be OK. On day #5 we will introduce a nickel and she will be able to trade in her pennies for one nickel; Day #10 She will trade in five pennies for a nickel, and then the two nickels for a dime; etc. We will finish the activity by eating the advent treat. 🙂 I am hoping the treat will act as a little motivation for her money work!
Happy Teaching and COUNTING down to Christmas!
I love Christmas! And I love books! So of course I love Christmas books!! I wanted to do something fun with Christmas books this year for my daughter and her cousin that lives “far far away” so I came up with the idea to do the 12 days of Christmas: literacy style. I envisioned reading a different children’s Christmas book for all 12 days and doing corresponding activities for each book. (I also plan on doing numbers/coins with my daughter during this time, but that is another post for another day!)
1st Step: Find 12 books
I was able to find really good deals on 12 Christmas books through Scholastic’s book clubs page. While these might not be the hottest Christmas books out there, they are really cute! And 11 out of 12 of them were a dollar!
- Jingle Bells
- Let it Snow
- Counting Christmas
- I love Snow!
- Deck the Halls
- A Very Special Snowflake
- Corduroy’s Christmas Surprise
- Merry Christmas, Curious George
- The Gingerbread Man
- The Little Red Sled
- The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving
- The Night Before the Night Before Christmas
2nd Step: Add activities
Inserted in each book is a sticker with three corresponding activities. For example, inside the book Jingle Bells is a sticker that says “Make bell shakers to use while singing “Jingle Bells”, Act out like you are riding in a one horse open sleigh, Play jingle bell tag.” Prior to reading the book, I can easily glance at the list and choose an activity (or two) to do with my daughter after reading (or before reading- depending on the prior knowledge required for the activity).
I love Christmas! And nothing sounds like Christmas more than the jingling of bells. This year I had the idea to make my daughter a special Merry Christmas skirt to help her practice her dance moves (more on that another day) and spread the jingling sounds of this holiday season!
Here is the finished product. It was SO easy to make. And my daughter loves it- she runs around the living room in circles wearing this!
Step 1: Google “no sew tutu”. Find a site that has a cute tutu (I used this site
and this site
, but there are SO many great tutorials out there!)
Step 2: Go to the craft store and purchase rolls of green and red tulle. I used four rolls (2 red and 2 green) because I like my tutus nice and fluffy!
Step 3: Follow the steps to make the tutu- basically just stapling (for people like me that really want NO SEW!) or sewing the elastic in a waistband about 3 inches smaller than your child’s waist. After the elastic is ready, simply tie a series of knots until the skirt is as full as you like! (great site here
for the basic steps in tying the tutu knots)
Step 4: Cut several ribbons twice the length of the skirt. Tie small jingle bells on to both ends. It may help to use a strong adhesive to ensure that the bell will stay on the ribbon. I just tied a double knot and it has been holding up fine. Then attach the jingle bell ribbons to various places throughout the skirt using the same knot as the tulle.
You could use this tutu for so many things- Christmas parties, family night dance performances, or just plain fun around the house!
I LOVE spending hours visiting mommy/teacher websites. I really learn so much and get great ideas! One of my favorite mommy bloggers is the Activity Mom. She comes up with some amazing, educational ideas! And lucky for us she shares them with the blogging world!!
She does this darling advent calendar with her kids each year- I did some of the activities last year, and my daughter loved them! Anyway, she posted her Advent Activity Calendar
for this year- go check it out!!
Merry Christmas and Happy Teaching!
A few days ago we celebrated Reindeer Day. What did we do? um…… not much. Played some reindeer games (a.k.a. Duck Duck Goose) and made a Rudolph Handprint craft found here. My Boo would not just settle in on making one reindeer, however…. she wanted the Mommy and Daddy one, too! Hence the three reindeer in this pic! And don’t they make such a cute little family!I have no clue what I will be doing with these- probably just add it to the stash of crafts and artwork that I treasure!