Sunday, October 30, 2011

Language and Culture Shelves

Do Halloween stickers count as culture?  These foam stickers are great because there's no backing, so Wheels can get them off himself.  At this age, he pretty much moves them from one sheet to the next with no plan or artistic purpose, but he had fun!

Art Cards: child-sized masterpiece step 1.  He just matches them, which is quite easy.  Sometimes we talk about the names and artists.  Later he will do steps 2 and 3.  Step 2 involves matching similar (but not identical) paintings by the same artist.  Step 3 involves grouping multiple paintings by the same artist.

Babies from other countries

Sandpaper letters and letter basket.  See a more detailed post here.

Goodnight Moon felt board

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book with activity.  Wheels really wasn't that big of a fan of this book until I added the printables.  The tree is from KizClub, and I printed the letters a long time ago from 1plus1plus1.

This is linked to Montessori Monday at Living Montessori Now

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Letter Sounds

This is the first time I have included sandpaper letters and also the first time I have included more than one sound in a sound basket.  I tried to use two letters I thought he already knew (a and m) and one letter I didn't think he knew (r).  The other items in the basket are I Spy books for each of the letters (which he loves), letter action cards (m is march, r is run, and a is ankle circles), and about 20 index card pictures.  I am using pictures instead of objects because objects often disappear and/or get put back in their homes.

Currently I do not have Wheels sort the pictures by letter; rather we play I spy (stage 1) with them and I put them under the correct letter, though sometimes he will do it.  Earlier today I asked him to put the alligator under the /a/ and he picked up the a and then set in directly on top of the alligator picture :)  I suppose I should use the word "below."

 He has definitely learned these three letters and is consistently successful with a three-period lesson on them.

For the third period, I flip them all over.  He knocks on them and says "knock, knock."  I say, "Who's there?"  He flips it over.  I say "letter...." and he says the letter sound.  He thinks this is pretty fun.  I saw this idea on a blog somewhere sometime; if it was yours, let me know, and I will link you.

As far as the "I Spy" portion of the letter sound learning process, he is very successful with stage 1.  However, I am pretty sure that he just knows what the pictures are, and is not necessarily making the connection between the letter sound and the object.  I say that because when I say, "I spy something in my hand (ant) that starts with /a/...." and he says "bug" every time.  I told him that it's a type of bug called an ant, which starts with /a/, but he continues to insist that it's a bug that starts with /a/.  I'm not really worried about this.  I know he'll figure it out, but we will stick with stage one for the time being.

I plan to introduce a new sound basket every two or three or maybe four weeks depending on how busy we are and how quickly he learns them; I'm really not in a hurry.  The new stuff will remain separate, but the old letters/pictures will remain accessible for review and I Spy.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween Math and Sensorial

Make a jack-o-lantern game.  The idea is to role the die and then find the appropriate matching shape for the eyes and nose and the appropriate mouth.  You could add an additional die that has things like lose a turn or roll again if you wanted to make it more game-like.  We tried to keep it simple, and Wheels didn't really like using the die at all.  He preferred to just make his jack-o-lanterns free-style.  We still talked about the shapes: circle, square, triangle, and diamond though.

I made them out of craft foam, but you could use construction paper if your kids are gentle with them.  I originally saw this idea at Children's Learning Activities.

1 to 1 correspondence while counting to ten with spiders in a pumpkin tray

For some reason, Wheels prefers putting them back in the jar rather than in the little pumpkins.  He's pretty good at counting to ten, and his 1 to 1 correspondence while counting is improving.

Gourds, squash, pumpkins, and corn for feeling and sorting by texture, color, or shape.  Wheels loves "teeny" pumpkins :)


Non-Halloween activities include the bead stair.  I made the mat with craft foam to help give him some direction.  He does pretty well with the 1-4 bead chains, but the rest is tricky.  He really likes them though, so we count them together.

I added the pink tower to the brown stair we had out last month.  He continues to prefer the stair and did not show much interest in using the two of them together.  He has not had as much interest in these traditional Montessori sensorial items as I believe many other kids have, though I have not decided if this is because he is not really ready for them or if he just isn't that interested.

This post is linked to Montessori Monday at One Hook Wonder and Living Montessori Now

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Art In September

We painted with ice......

He wasn't sure he liked how cold it was on his little fingers, so he found a stick to push the cubes around with.  I thought that was a good idea!

After picking apples at the apple farm (which Wheels talked about for weeks), I thought we should make some apple prints.  Wheels stamped a few and then asked for a paintbrush.  (He felt that he needed to have an apple to eat while doing this project, so the small tray has a cut apple.  I'm sure he ingested a bit of paint as well, but he's no worse for the wear :)

Once we added some paintbrushes to the mix, I showed him that we could use yellow and red to make orange.  He then spent quite awhile mixing the perfect orange.  He also found a stick to make lines and squiggles in his painting, which gave it an interesting texture.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Halloween Sensory Box

What's Inside:
-Black Beans
-Black Sorting Beads from September shelves
-Orange and yellow buttons and pom-pons
-Stretchy skeletons
-Pumpkin spice smelling candles
-Wooden pumpkins
-Glass pumpkins
-Plastic pop-up Halloween figures (black cat, spider, pumpkin, ghost)
-Scoop, spoon, cups, and a mini pitcher

Checking it out...

Counting pumpkins

This is linked to Tot School at 1plus1plus1equals1

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ahh Fall

Crisp air with a cool breeze, sunny skies, changing colors, and crunching leaves make my my heart happy and my running feet bouncy.  I love fall!  I hope someday Wheels will want to run with his old mom, so that we can share the seasons as can only be done while feet pound pavement and conversation is punctuated by the rhythmic breathing of exertion.  I even look forward to the inevitable moment when he yells, "Hurry up, Mom.  You're too slow."  and leaves me in the dust.

In the meantime, we are enjoying plenty of nature walks and hikes together, and I'm committing them to heart.  I sure love my little guy :)