Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Themed Montessori Activities

This year is my son's first official year in school (he turned 5 one month into school starting). Last summer he was in a 2-day summer camp and the year before he was in an evening day care center while I worked outside of the home. While he was at home with me, we worked on his name, alphabet, colors, shapes, and the basic pre-K stuff. The Montessori school has taught him different ways to learn the same materials we did at home - kind of like 'fine tuning' the various skill sets except they teach a lot more - critical, independent, and abstract thinking using various methods. He is also learning phonics which is the preferred way of teaching reading, in my opinion. His writing is getting stronger and has had many compliments on his penmanship.

Over the last 6 months, I have learned a lot about myself as a parent of a kiddo in a Montessori program. I thought at one time that I didn't have any skills in coming up with 'crafts' but I have surprised myself often. I've made sensory bins and devoted an entire bookshelf to my son's Montessori themed "works" - what we like to call them. 

I will share what we did on St. Patrick's Day along with his activity / work center (bookshelf). The works will be rotated out every quarter or so. I buy everything from the dollar store, thrift stores, or general merchandise stores. Living in a smaller community, I need to really think outside of the box and make different things work. The works should all be on a tray of some kind but the small totes are working just as well. 

Let me tell you - my son was so excited to see his activity / work center (above). He couldn't wait to get started on them. I created a chart that I can use to track his progress on each activity. 

Now imagine an activity that hits many different elements of learning - cutting, categorizing, counting, colors, and creating! We started out with reading the How to Make a Rainbow book where he was able to remember the 6 (main) colors of the rainbow before I turned each page. Then we worked on matching colors and spelling the words of each color from My Very First Book of Colors before heading over to identifying pipe cleaners that matched the six colors of the rainbow from the first book. 

After identifying the colors and putting them in the right [rainbow] order, he found 6 matching beads for each color of the rainbow. He threaded the beads on each coordinating pipe cleaner color and then pushed the ends of the pipe cleaners into the floral bock. After all the beaded pipe cleaners were pushed into the block, he added a nice touch - cotton balls for clouds!

My son: "This is fun! Can we do this activity again?" He looks very pleased doesn't he?

Next we did a counting activity using shamrocks and beads. Out of 12 shamrocks, he was able to randomly choose any 5 and had to find the right number of beads per shamrock. 

Last activity was a science experiment - 'color transfer' - I have seen floating around. I had not read the directions for the activity before I began so we will have to do this one again! I added 1/2 cup of water to each glass and 3 drops of craft [they call it 'food'] dye (blue, red, then yellow) to each glass (1 color per glass). We rolled the paper towels and inserted one end into one glass and the other into a separate glass. When the 3 drops did nothing (the color did not travel up the paper towel as we had hoped), we added 7 more drops so that there were 10 drops of craft dye in each glass. Then when this didn't do anything, we added white distilled vinegar. After 15 minutes, we saw the color travel slowly up the paper towel especially the yellow. 

In our next attempt, we will use 1/4 cup of water and 10 drops of craft dye first then perhaps add the vinegar in. (Or maybe I should just find the directions, right!?)

Thanks for reading and learning about my journey into alternative learning methods for my son. The other purpose of this post is to remind you to keep an open mind when it comes to learning a new concept in your life. This is the same across the board in your journey. Wellness is the fabric that runs through every part of our life. We can embrace it and it's okay if it doesn't work out the right way the first time. We can try again. Love yourself in the process, too. 

Be well! =)


  1. Great job mamma, thanks for the ideas!

  2. I really love the rainbow activity you showed! Your storage system is fantastic! We just started tot school, but are going to move in a few weeks - this means our school supplies are so disorganised, it's driving me crazy. I can't wait to get settled and get rid of all the chaos! I'm definitely pinning, not only your set up, but your activities, too :)

    1. Hi Yuliya, Thanks so much for taking the time out to leave a comment! Means a lot!! =) I can't wait to hear how your tot's room turned out. Be well! ~ Jessica