I have been given the great opportunity to review an incredible book based on Montessori: Montessori at Home! The Complete Parents Guide to Doing Montessori Learning Activities at Home
by John Bowman. As a mommy/teacher who has learned all I know about Montessori from a book I checked out from the library (and of course some amazing websites out there!) I appreciate having a curriculum that explains the Montessori’s goals, key points, key aspects, and benefits (for all those who might be a doubting Thomas). There is a helpful section on Montessori materials you can make and a wonderfully laid out and detailed section on the Three Step Lesson.
The Montessori at Home!
curriculum not only contains the blueprint and outline for teaching the Montessori approach, but gives SO many great activities! They are organized into the following sections: Everyday Life Activities, Sensory Activities, Science Activities, The Mathematics Sequence, and the Reading Sequence. I read the book, putting post-it notes whenever I saw an idea I wanted to try out with my daughter and can I just say my book is plastered with yellow notes!! And these activities are labeled with an average age range, goals to accomplish during the activity, how you will know your child is ready for the activity, materials required, presentation and use, and parental involvement. Oh, and pictures for all us visual learners out there! 🙂 There are also some extension ideas, which I always appreciate in case I need to reinforce the learning goals or my daughter is completely captivated and wants to learn more!
I really could go on and on about the wonderful aspects of this curriculum guide. But rather than hearing me blab, let me show you some of the great ideas found in this book:
- How to teach numbers! I am starting to work on this more and more with my daughter, and I love the activities presented in this book. The sequence of teaching number recognition is perfect. I love presentations described in the book using a variety of materials including pennies, straws, grid boards, bead bars, and more!
- Addition and subtraction ideas- brilliant! I LOVE the idea of using clear cups to show the operation (a better detailed explanation is found in the book!).
- Fabric folding… I thought, how cute would it be if my daughter could fold the napkins for dinner (when we actually use them- ha!) This activity made it so simple! We tried it yesterday and I knew it sunk in when I later saw her trying to fold paper using the patterns mentioned in this book. And the book does recommend using light-colored wash clothes but all I had to spare was a dark blue towel that was on its way out… it still worked well for my kiddo!
One thing I didn’t mention about this book that is a great feature are all the free cut-outs and templates at the back of the book
. I also received a CD that includes the entire book in pdf form (for all you e-readers out there that like to read on the go!) and a pdf of the templates and cut-outs. Great organization and phenomenal activities. For me, this book has been the foundation of most of our Montessori activities.
And guess what!?! I was fortunate to receive this book free of charge and one of you lucky U.S. readers can, too!
How to enter: Leave a comment telling me one of your favorite Montessori activity! And yes, you can enter more than once…up to three comments per person! Contest ends April 15 (thats an easy day to remember for those filing for taxes!)
Good luck and as always, happy teaching!
Update: Congrats to Megan for her winning comment! Your book is on it’s way!
This is just a cute android app that I found that I had to share! It is called Mobile Montessori and is available for free if you don’t mind ads. It is an electronic collection of some montessori materials- the pink tower, brown stairs, and more! I would say this game is geared towards a 2 or 3 year old. For a free game, it’s not bad!
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!
Yes, we have been very busy with our little Montessori jar! My Boo loves having this- it has provided us with some on the spot learning fun when otherwise one might have gotten into mischief……
I have been getting some emails concerning this jar, and thought I would upload a file that gives brief instructions and the list of activities that we use as of right now. I plan on adding skills from different categories later on(such as Math, Culture, and Language).
My little one LOVES putting puzzles together. So she was happy as can be when we put several puzzles together! I guess I should have taught her HOW to put a puzzle together, but she already does rather well so we just played. 🙂
the Little People reindeer is helping her put the puzzle together 🙂
Pouring Water through a Funnel
My goodness, if you haven’t done this, TRY IT!! This is an activity we did over and over and over… I showed her once, and she did pretty well! The next morning she helped me use the funnel to pour juice in my water bottle. She was tickled pink about being able to apply her new skill! If your little one has a difficult time holding the funnel straight, toss it in the bathtub the next time with your child (toss the funnel, please don’t toss the child!) and let your child explore. That will help build the hand’s muscle strength.
Drying Hands with a Paper Towel
Surprisingly another fun little activity that my daughter pulled out….well, sorda. I am about to tell you something top secret- If my daughter pulls out an activity that I know she isn’t ready for (or that I don’t know how to teach her) I will secretly change it for another one. This just happens to be one of those “switches”- I didn’t think that getting another person’s attention to speak to them was something I was up for 🙂 If you have any great ideas on teaching this to a wild two year old please let me know…. So now you know my secret!!!
Back to the activity- we washed and dried our hands probably 5 or 6 times. Not good on the environment- wasting paper towels like that- and not good on our dry winter skin, but a GREAT skill. I will say that she can dry her hands about 90% of the way- but she knows without prompting to throw the paper towel in the garbage. I can’t wait to put this to use at church next Sunday in the restrooms.
So there you have our most recent monti-learning!
By the way, hope you all had a great day celebrating Elmo’s birthday! We made cupcakes and sang to our little stuffed Elmo. My daughter insisted on putting birthday candles on the cupcakes, and she used all her little arm power to do it! Poor cupcakes and pretty deep holes!
Need to get some things ready for our “Three Little Kittens” celebration tomorrow.
I read through my old Montessori checklists that I posted about a year ago, and fell in love with that all over again, and came up with a clever little way to integrate those skills. I printed the checklist, cut out each activity as a separate slip of paper, folded them, and put them in my daughter’s learning jar. Whenever we have a spare 20 minutes, we will pull out one of these skills to do together! There are learning activities from pouring beans between two jugs to folding clothes to grating carrots…. a huge variety!
We have been busy with our Monti-jar! I thought I would show you a pic of what our jar looks like, in case this is a project that you are interested in making (I recommend it! Just make a list of all the supplies you will need to have on hand while you are putting your jar together- that way you will always be ready to dive into the learning!)We have done 2 activities recently- flower arrangement and tongs. These have been activities I was eager to try with my Boo!
I picked up some fake flower bunches from a dollar store and used a plastic container as the vase. Boo was NOT interested- despite the beautiful colors and the chance to be creative. Her first flower creation was some green filler and one orange flower. And she was ready to move on to something else! And I am not going to force her to do it- so while she played princesses, I played around making some different arrangements. Maybe I should be the one taking lessons! While we were working on this, I thought that I should have picked up a green foamy cube- so Boo could just stick the flowers in- and maybe she would have liked doing this better!
I love the little hand deciding to grab a flower in this pic! 🙂
I have wanted to do tong activities since I became education on the Montessori way. I was fascinated by how such little people could do something so grown up. So it has taken me about a year to finally go buy some tongs and try this out with my Boo! So she just happened to get the Tong paper from the jar, and away we went!Boo’s first experience with tongs- they were difficult for her to maneuver. I showed her once- picking up one of her small stuffed animals. That peaked her interest, so after showing her how to hold them, she was literally picking everything up she could find. That evening for dinner she used the tongs to pick up her salad with NO problems at all. When we finally got around to picking up the gems she was an old pro. So if you want your kiddo to impress others, teach them how to use the tongs. It’s a lot easier for them than I thought!
I am working on posting our February Calendar and a sample weekly schedule for our little family.
Yes we did like 4 Montessori Jar Activities today! We had the time, these activities were short- yet another reason I am LOVING this jar! It gives me flexibility to do these activities when I have time and we are not bound to a set number. The last activity my daughter pulled out was LIFTING, CARRYING, AND PUTTING DOWN A TRAY WITH OBJECTS ON IT. We pulled out a tray and I grabbed some of her little Disney princesses. I showed her how to use both hands, carefully stand up, and walk with the tray, and then to carefully place the tray down. And to be so careful not to have one of the princesses fall down! The first time- we had a causality, but after that she was able to carry the princesses around gracefully and carefully. Then it was on to the next step. A cup of water. Well, half a cup of water- if we are to be exact. I showed her again the steps to lifting, carrying, and putting down the tray. And after I showed her once, she was able to do it over and over with no spills! Hooray! We passed off another skill! Go Boo!!!!
We were on a roll with our Montessori activities this morning- that is why I am posting so many! My daughter pulled out a slip of paper from her activity jar that read: SITTING DOWN, GETTING UP, AND TUCKING IN A CHAIR AT THE TABLE. My Boo was very excited to do this! She ran into the kitchen pulled out her chair, climbed into her new booster seat (our old, much loved high chair/booster seat combo we have been using doesn’t tuck in under the table- we picked a simple booster seat up Wednesday and I am glad we did!) And then she climbed out- these first two steps she did with little grace or dignity. She approached these tasks more like a monkey getting ready to climb up and down a tree, but hey- I am not going to be too concerned at her age and with her height restrictions! She did the best she could and I am proud of her!!! And then I showed her how to tuck in a chair and she was SO excited to try this! She loves doing grown-up things and why I never thought to show her how to do this before….wait, I couldn’t with her old high chair/booster seat. (I am not promoting this highchair by any means- in fact, if you are shopping for a high chair/booster seat combo this piece of advice might be helpful! Otherwise it’s a great seat!) Wow I am rambling!!! Anyway, it went smoothly and I can’t wait to have her do this throughout the day whenever we are leaving the table!
Now this is an activity we do regularly! I didn’t have my camera on hand, but you can imagine what washing a table would look like, right? And just for this exercise I spilled on the table, just so I could see that my daughter has mastered this skill! And all I have to say is Well Done, Little Boo! You can clean the table like an old pro!!!
My daughter pulled out “BUTTONING” from her Montessori Jar lessons. Now I only put in activities that I thought would be on her level, and were from the first Montessori period. I showed her step by step how to pull the button through the hole- but it went right over her sweet little head. Needless to say- we “played” with the buttons and then I stuffed this slip right back to the bottom of the jar!
This morning my Boo was dancing around in her pink Spanish flamenco dress (in honor of Three Kings Day). My husband’s great aunt lives in Spain (how cool is that?) and she brought it for Christmas. Anyway, I thought it a great opportunity to pick out from the Monti-jar again! And today she picked out Sweeping. Easy enough I thought! It was actually more challenging than I anticipated- there are so many steps to a complete sweep- let alone how to handle a broom and get that technique down. I really never thought about it before when my Boo would be “helping” me sweep! Ah well- we had a lot of fun working on it together, and I put the stuff away when I saw her start to get disinterested. This will be one activity we will be working on for a few days though! 🙂
And we learned the Spanish word for bird today- pajaro. No lengthy learning activity, no laminated flashcards, no online game, no mommy made book- I just told her. And that was that…. I am still feeling a little burned out from Bird Day! OK, I have to say this despite the cheesiness it entails: that day really went to the birds!