Last month I posted about my efforts to set up some Montessori lessons this summer, as a way to help keep my younger two girls busy – mostly my toddler. Because when she is busy, she is happy. And when she is bored, she just aggravates her sisters. Her stubbornness and determination must be channeled!
The post was Montessori lessons at home :: part one. Because I knew there would be more to come. Which is where we are at today.
It has been surprising how much all three of the girls have liked doing these simple hands-on lessons. I created them as an avenue of natural play while we pass the time of summer, and have fun through some very basic learning for my toddler. Thursday I stepped it up a notch by putting out some lessons that were more geared towards my middle girl. My oldest daughter enjoyed setting up some of the lessons and being a teacher to her. She also admitted she still likes doing some of these lessons herself, “just for fun.” And to be part of the sister gang too, I sure.
My middle girl, who in a normal school setting would be considered a rising kindergartener, has recently taking an increased interest in learning to read. The beginner Bob books are her favorite right now because she enjoys being able to read them by herself. This language lesson uses objects, with corresponding cards that she reads and then spells out the objects on paper.
Tomorrow I am (or my oldest daughter is) going to introduce a time lesson that teachers the basics of when things happen throughout the day. Time is a very hard concept to grasp and sometimes not recommended to teach this young. But she asks about the time a lot, and wants to know more.
We had this lesson with my oldest daughter. And I have to say I found it to be true, that while this lesson was in her 3-6 year-old classroom, it wasn’t until she was past seven-years-old when she really began to understood the concept of time. And that it clicked that it’s 4:00 and in two hours we eat dinner. Rather than I’m hungry, I know it’s past snack time and dinner happens at 6:00 but it feels like it’s 100 hours away. Time is difficult. But this little lesson makes it fun.
This color mixing lesson is a favorite with all the girls. It uses food coloring, droppers, small glass bowls and a plastic tray. I ordered this one from Montessori Services. But it could easily be made using things you have at home. However, I have wanted to do this at home for a long time and had a hard time finding dropper bottles made of clear glass that I could reuse. Mine were all brown. So I finally just ordered some. There are a lot of things in the Montessori Services catalog that are over priced and can be made at home. This was one set I’m glad I bought. The glass bowls, tray and droppers can be used to set up other lessons as well. The materials are versatile.
The next picture is a silver polishing lesson. I know the girls are going to be thrilled to find it on the shelf in morning (I stayed up late creating it and then writing about it here). They gravitate to the lesson shelves in the morning, before their play takes them elsewhere. Thursday morning the lesson activities lingered through lunch. This one is taken from ideas seen at my girls school and in the Montessori Services catalog. My girls love these silver coasters that migrated to our house, from my mom’s house, at some point for which I have no idea why. We are not nearly fancy enough here with our guests to break out the silver coasters, but the girls like to stack them.
For the lesson, I set up a homemade, non-toxic silver cleaning solution that works well enough to do the trick and get a shiny result on the coasters. (On that tarnished gravy bowl, I’m not so sure it could do the trick. Then again, what does a vegetarian do with a silver gravy bowl?) The white powder is Arm and Hammer washing soda and kosher salt, mixed 50/50. They’ll spoon some in the bowl, with a squirt of lemon juice, mix and use the cotton balls to apply the mix on the silver. Then they’ll have to take the coasters to the sink to rinse and dry. I know this will be a hit. Anything with mixing potions and a trip to the sink is always a hit.
Next is a rock lesson using gems we had from one of those Appalachian gold mining tourist places. Placed next to it in the box is a magnifying glass, and a chart that came with the rocks to identify them.
This is a simple scooping for my toddler, using things we had around the house. The balls were stained with watercolor paint and found in craft stores for near pennies. The tray is from the craft store as well. The scooper is from a bath salt gift box and the bowls came from this Spooning Activity Set, which is worth the buy because off all the stuff you get in it, and all the ways the various items can be used.
The red toped box shown on the shelf above is this red tower. I have a friend who set up a Montessori room for her girls one summer when her twins were not much older than my toddler. This was one of the many lovely items I ended up with, from her room.
Also from that friend, came this set of multi colored pencil holders meant to hold the pencils of the same color. Except I’m using them for my toddler to sort plastic beads, and put them in the matching color holder. I happened to have the beads left over from a birthday party several years ago (because I save everything, insanely) and the colors matched perfectly. The glass jar holding the beads is from the dollar isle at Target and is made to be a votive candle holder. The handles on the jars makes them great for kids. The spoon is from the scooping activity set.
My toddler’s teacher at the end of last school year told me my little girl likes the challenge of opening things and to put things in containers that require figuring out how to open them. Inside this tiny picnic basket meant for a tea set, are color tiles (also something I got from my friend). I’ll have my toddler open it, and hand the tiles to me or her sisters, while naming all the colors. Then we’ll count them all as we put them back in the basket.
Lastly, here is a part of our play kitchen set that has been transformed into a summer lesson shelf, with more lessons on it – including the bead stringing lesson in the chest from my last post. Because the girls still love it, as well the friends who come rolling through here. The rest that is shown are puzzles and things, that seem fairly self explanatory.
And for a few behind the scenes shots of these lessons being done by my girls….here you go. The first is the rubber band lesson shown on the shelf above, which could probably use a little explaining.
As you can see she is really concentrating. The smaller rubber bands are tough to do, requiring extra concentration, determination and dexterity. But when she sucseeded, she threw out her arms and said, “I did it!” This lesson is perfect for her right now – seeing she is stubborn as an ox! When I tell her she can not do something – even if it is saying no to a second cookie – her most often used response, in a calm and matter of fact way is, “Yes me can.”
Here is that color mixing lesson in full swing, being done properly and with some creative experimentation. The girls are wearing their aprons I sewed from this free Sew Liberated apron pattern, that I mentioned here. I suggest an apron for this lesson. It can get messy. And an apron, well, it always adds to the fun of things. Even for boys!
To leave you back where we started, here is my sweet oldest daughter helping my middle girl with that language lesson. Our middle girl was gone from home having some grandparent time for the early part of the week. We all really missed her – sisters included. Maybe that explains the sweet eagerness to help her Thursday. Either way, it makes my heart smile.
To stay informed and read about what we are adding to our Montessori lesson shelves each week, be sure to subscribe to Simply Natural Mom – by Facebook, Twitter, email or RSS feed. Also check out my Montessori Pinterest board.