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Estimating the circumference of

an apple {apple math}


September 5, 2014 by Katie SG Leave a Comment
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During our apple unit, we of our!e !tu"ie" apple! t#em!elve!$ %ut & al!o wante" to u!e
apple! to e'plore ot#er part! of t#e urriulum li(e !iene, literay, an" mat#$ &n t#i! po!t &)m
!#aring an ativity in w#i# we u!e" apple! to pratie t#e mat# !(ill! of e!timation an"
mea!urement$
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ba!i material! an" virtually no prep time$ ,n" it provi"e! (i"! wit# a fun an" tangible way to
t#in( about !i-e, lengt#, an" potentially #ow to u!e a ruler$
Note: For more apple activities, see my apple unit study page.
.or t#i! ativity, & gat#ere" t#e following material!/
,n apple
, pair of (i"0frien"ly !i!!or!
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wit# t#e yarn unut3
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& began by plaing t#e apple in front of my (i"!$ 4e tal(e" about irumferene being t#e
"i!tane aroun" t#e apple$ & let t#em #ol" t#e apple an" feel aroun" it! irumferene to get a
!en!e for it! !i-e$
& t#en invite" my (i"! to ut !ome yarn to a lengt# t#at t#ey t#oug#t woul" go aroun" t#e
irumferene of t#e apple$ *a# (i" e!timate" t#e amount of yarn t#ey t#oug#t woul" be
nee"e", an" t#en ma"e t#eir ut$
5ne t#e yarn wa! ut, t#ey trie" wrapping it aroun" t#e apple to !ee #ow lo!e t#e e!timate
wa!$
5ne lengt# of t#e yarn wa! too !#ort$
,n" t#e ot#er wa! a ta" too long$
6#ere are !everal way! to e'ten" t#i! ativity/
&f "oing t#i! ativity wit# multiple (i"!, #ave t#em put t#eir !tring! into or"er from
!#orte!t to longe!t$
.or (i"! w#o (now t#eir number!, #ave t#em mea!ure t#eir !tring! u!ing a ruler$
,fter #e(ing w#et#er t#eir !tring i! too !#ort or too long 2or +u!t rig#t73, #ave t#em
ut a !eon" !tring to try to get lo!er to t#e true irumferene of t#e apple$
8!e multiple apple! of "ifferent !i-e!, an" #ave (i"! mea!ure !tring! for ea# of t#e
apple!$
9ow el!e wou
Salt box discoveries
,pril 25, 201: by Katie SG 2; Comment!
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480

I have seen salt boxes in several other places around the blogosphere, and I have
been wanting to put one together for QBoy and XGirl. I fnally got around to creating
our own salt box one recent evening and we have been using it as a tool for learning
shapes, colors, letters, and numbers. Our salt box was so simple to create, and Ive
really enjoyed watching my kids engage with all the discoveries inside.
I started by creating several pages designed to target skills such as shapes and
colors for XGirl and numbers for QBoy.
Then I placed one page at the bottom of the salt box, and covered it with enough salt
so that the images were no longer visible.
When it was time to play, I handed XGirl a paintbrush and encouraged her to sweep
the salt to see what she could fnd. As she came across a shape, she and I talked
about each one.
When we adopted XGirl a few months before her third birthday, she was so far behind
in somany skills. In the months she has been with our family, she has learned so
much, although she still has more catching up to do. Nonetheless, when she was
able to successfully identify the triangle, circle, star, and heart, I was one proud
mama jumping with joy!
QBoy looked on as XGirl worked with the salt box, anxious to get his turn.
So after XGirl had found all the shapes on her turn, I switched out the page at the
bottom to have QBoy work on identifying the numbers 1 through 5.
It turned out to be a breeze for him, so next time we play with the salt box Ill be using
the page with numbers 1-10 on it instead.
Ocean Montessori activities
,ugu!t 22, 201: by Katie SG 20 Comment!
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1K+

If youve been following along, you know that the kids and I recently completed a
preschool ocean unit to learn all about the ocean. As part of our unit, I created a
number of ocean Montessori activities and put them up on our shelves for several
weeks.
I am a big fan of Montessori education and I have read a lot about it in order to bring
more Montessori style activities to my kids. With these Ocean Montessori activities, I
was able to use my kids interest in the ocean to get them to practice a variety of skills
spanning many areas of the curriculum.
Note: For more resources, printables and activities related to the ocean and its
inhabitants, please see my ocean unit study page.
As part of our ocean unit, I created a variety of ocean-themed Montessori trays. I am
defnitely a Montessori newbie, so I cant promise all of my trays adhere to strict
Montessori principals. But hopefully youll fnd some inspiration among the trays I
prepared for my kids.
Ocean Montessori tray: Match the initial sounds
With this tray, QBoy would lay out the letters and then try to match them to animals
whose names begin with the same sound. For example, the S might be matched
with sea lion. The animals came from our Safari Ltd Ocean Toob and from a set I
bought from Oriental Trading Company.
Ocean Montessori tray: Go Fishing Puzzle
I placed our Melissa & Doug Deluxe 10-Piece Magnetic Fishing Game on a tray. The
kids used the magnetic wand to fsh the animals. As they worked, we were able to
discuss the names of the various animals.
Ocean Montessori tray: Sea life math puzzle
I bought this great sea life-themed number sequencing puzzle from Lakeshore
Learning. Kids can put together the puzzle using the numbers at the bottom or
referring to the image.
Ocean Montessori tray: Shell sequencing
I printed this cute little shell sequencing activity from another blog. Unfortunately, I
cant recall which blog it comes from, and the printable itself doesnt have the name
of the blog anywhere. If anyone knows where this printable is from, please let me
know so I can credit the creator! There are several shell patterns, and the kids use
the cards on the right to complete the patterns.
Ocean Montessori tray: Count and clip
I printed this ocean-themed count and clip game from 2 Teaching Mommies. The kids
counted the number of animals on each card and then used the clothespin to clip the
corresponding number.
Ocean Montessori tray: Pattern block sh
I printed this fsh pattern block template from PreKinders. The kids used our wooden
pattern blocks to re-create the image on the tray.
Ocean Montessori tray: Shape matching
I created this tray with XGirl in mind. Inside each shell on the worksheet, I drew a
diferent shape. Then I drew those same shapes on cards. Her task was to draw a
card, then place a rock on the matching shape on her tray.
Ocean Montessori tray: !ppercase and lo"ercase letter
matching
I created this tray with QBoy in mind. Inside each fsh on the worksheet, I drew a
diferent uppercase letter. I then created cards with the corresponding lowercase
letters. As he drew the cards, his task was to place a rock on the matching uppercase
letter on his tray.
Ocean Montessori tray: Get the sh to the ocean
This was by far one of the kids favorite trays, especially for QBoy. The large container
on the right had about an inch of water in it. The kids task was to use the tweezers to
pick up a fsh and get it to the ocean. (I later added a washcloth to the tray so the kids
could dry their fsh when they were done and so they could clean up any water that
spilled.)
Ocean Montessori tray: Fun "ith sea glass and #ubber
This was a simple sensory tray. In the bowl on the left I placed a bunch of sea glass,
and I flled the bowl on the right with fubber. The kids were free to use these
materials as they wished.
Ocean Montessori tray: Sound matching clip acti$ity
I downloaded this printable from Homeschool Creations. I put clothespins inside the
Chinese takeout-style box, and I laid the picture cards on the right. The kids task was
to identify the initial sound of the animals name, and then clip the letter
corresponding to that sound.
Ocean Montessori tray: Ocean%themed stencils
This activity was far and away XGirls favorite. On more than one occasion she spent
the whole of our Montessori time with this tray.
In the basket on the left, I included our ocean-themed stencils (see picture below for
better look at the stencils). Also on the tray were some markers and some paper cut
to the size of the stencils. The task was to place a stencil on the paper and use the
markers to trace the image in the stencil. This was a great opportunity to work on fne
motor development and pencil grip.
Ocean Montessori tray: Feed the sh
This tray was a simple practical life exercise the required the kids to use the small
spoon to scoop fsh food from the bowl on the left to feed to each of the fsh on the
right.
Ocean Montessori tray: Sift the sea glass
The kids task was to use the slotted spoon on the left to sift the sea glass from the
bin and then place it in the small container on the right.
Ocean Montessori tray: Counting sea glass
I placed 55 pieces of sea glass in a small container. Next to this I placed
our sandpaper numerals. The task was to lay out the numbers in order, and then
count out a corresponding number of sea glass pieces to place under each number.
Ocean Montessori tray: Sea animal or land animal&
On this tray I printed out pictures of both sea animals and land animals. The kids
task was to sort the pictures into two piles depending on whether the animals were
sea or land animals.

I hope you found some inspiring ideas from our trays!
For more resources, printables and activities related to t
Farm Montessori trays
September 24, 201: by Katie SG 11 Comment!
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1K+

The Oriental Trading Company items featured in this post were provided to me in
exchange for an honest review.
All activities using these materials were planned by me and all opinions are my
own. See mydisclosures for more information.
I recently completed a preschool farm unit with my two kids, 4-year-old QBoy and 3-
year-old XGirl. This is the 7th of eight posts sharing the activities we did during this
unit, which included the following topics:
1.Fun on the farm by Oriental Trading Company
2.Farm Printable Pack
3.Learning about farm animals
4.12 books about farm animals
5.Fall on the farm sensory bin
6.Farm grid games to support basic math skills
7.Farm Montessori trays
8.Farm animal do-a-dot printables
As part of our ocean unit, I created a variety of farm-themed Montessori trays. I am
still a Montessori newbie, so I cant promise that my trays adhere to strict Montessori
principals. But hopefully youll fnd some inspiration here for activities to do with your
own kids.
Farm Montessori tray: Create a farm animal book
This tray includes items for the kids to make their own farm animal books. In the
orange basket I have a variety of foam farm animal stickers from Oriental Trading
Company. In the green basket I created some sample pages with an animal sticker
and the name of the animal written using our lowercase alphabet stamps. In the pink
basket were blank books for the kids. XGirl absolutely adored this activity.
Farm Montessori tray: Counting farm animals
For this tray I included 55 foam farm animal stickers from Oriental Trading Company
and oursandpaper numerals. The kids laid out the numbers in order, and then under
each number laid out a corresponding number of farm animals.
Farm Montessori tray: Put the beads on the pig
For this tray I put out some pink beads and the pig do-a-dot sheet from Oriental
Trading Company. The kids practiced one-to-one correspondence by putting one
pink bead in each circle on the pig.
Farm Montessori tray: 'uild a fence around the dog
This tray was simple using only craft sticks and the dog from our Safari Ltd Down
on the Farm Toob.
The idea was for the kids to build a fence around the dog.
Farm Montessori tray: Scissors practice
This tray included a pair of scissors and some cutting practice strips from my Farm
Printable Pack.
Farm Montessori tray: Farm animal families
The farm animal family printable used for this tray comes from Montessori MOMents.
We used this to learn the names for the father, mother, and baby animals in each
animal family.
Farm Montessori tray: Making farm animals "ith pattern
blocks
I got this and a couple of other farm animal pattern block templates at PreKinders.
The kids use the pattern blocks on the left to complete the duck pattern on the right.
Farm Montessori tray: Flip an egg
Im currently taking an online Montessori training. We recently fnished studying the
practical life manual, which included a section on wrist turning activities. I decided to
create an egg by adding a yellow spot to the middle of a yogurt container lid. I made
a burner by taping a blue circle on the tray. Then I provided the kids with a spatula
so they could fip their own eggs.
Farm Montessori tray: Put the "ool on the sheep
For this tray I put out some white tissue paper squares, some glue, and the sheep
do-a-dot sheet from Oriental Trading Company. The kids practiced one-to-one
correspondence and fne motor skills by crumpling up the tissue paper squares and
gluing them to each circle on the sheep.
Farm Montessori tray: Farm animal spelling "ith milk
cap letters
The template for this tray comes from my Farm Animal Printable Pack. I created my
own milk cap letters as well. The kids had to match the milk cap letters with the letters
on the template in order to spell the name of each animal.
Farm Montessori tray: (dentify the rst sound of each
"ord
I placed four small stones in the container on the left. In each panel of the paper on
the right, I placed a foam farm animal sticker from Oriental Trading Company and I
wrote two letters one of which corresponded to the frst sound of the image. The
kids placed the small stones on the correct letter.
Farm Montessori tray: Farm )ide and Seek
Developmentally, the kids are above this Melissa & Doug Magnetic Farm Hide and
Seekactivity already. Nonetheless, they still enjoy playing with it from time to time.
And since it ft with our farm theme, I put out on our shelves during the unit to bring
their attention to it.
Montessori time: Currently on
our shelves
<uly 26, 201: by Katie SG 1: Comment!
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1K+

Im a Montessori newbie. I love the theory and the goals behind Montessori and Im
learning more every day. But some days my knowledge still feels really inadequate. I
would *love* to be a fy on the wall in the homes of some homeschooling moms who
use a Montessori approach. But since Im not in peoples homes, I get lots of ideas
from others blogs showing what activities they are doing with their kids.
If you read this blog regularly, you know that we just recently installed some
Montessori shelves in our ofce. And since I enjoy peeking in on others activities, I
thought Id share what is on our shelves at this moment.
Aside from a few typical Montessori materials such as the pink tower, small
numerical rodsand knobless cylinders, I have created several other trays with
activities for the kids. And in no particular order, here they are!
(ce cream dice game
I printed out the ice cream dice game and paired it with two jumbo foam dice and a
tin flled with glass stones. QBoy plays by rolling the dice, adding up the total, and
placing a glass stone on the number that matches the total. XGirl doesnt yet
recognize her numbers, but she enjoys rolling the dice, counting the dots, and then
placing that many glass stones on the board.
Garlic press acti$ity
For this activity, the kids dip a small sponge into the bowl flled with water on the left.
They then place the sponge into the garlic press and squeeze the water out of the
sponge into the bowl on the right. The used sponge goes into the small blue
container. Ive included a rag to clean up any spills.
The garlic press activity was one of the frst activities the kids were drawn to when I
put the new trays out on the shelves. It provides great fne motor practice and is a
wonderful practical life activity.
Straight or cur$y
This tray was designed with XGirl in mind. Using our letter beads, I found letters that
had only straight lines (e.g., M, V, X) or only curvy lines (e.g., O, C, S) and I put them
into a cup. XGirl (and QBoy if he wants) will sort the letters into separate bowls
depending on whether they have straight or curvy lines.
Geoboards
On this tray I set out one of our double-sided geoboards and a tin full of rubber
bands. The kids can use the rubber bands to make shapes on the geoboards. Since
this is the frst time I have set out the geoboards, I am going to just let the kids
explore them. I might then later introduce some control cards with images the kids
can try to reproduce on the geoboards.
Making shapes "ith *ikki Sti+
For this tray I printed out a shapes worksheet designed to be used with our 8 Wikki
Stix.
QBoy has been fascinated with Wikki Stix lately, ever since we went to a restaurant
that was handing out Wikki Stix to all the kids. So I wasnt surprised when he
gravitated toward this activity and began to trace the shapes. He knows the names of
these basic shapes already, but it was a good opportunity to reinforce their names
and also for him to practice some challenging fne motor skills.
Color graph
For this tray I made a chart by gluing six colors of tissue paper squares across the
top of a sheet of paper. I placed additional tissue paper squares in the cup along with
a glue stick so that XGirl can glue matching colored squares onto the graph.
!se a magnet to get the pipe cleaners out of the bottle
I set this tray out to reinforce a prior lesson on magnets. The kids have to remove the
pipe cleaners from the bottle using the magnetic wand from our Fun with Magnets kit.
They will then place the pipe cleaners into the green container.
Copy the image using (maginets
This wasnt a tray per se. Instead, I placed our Imaginets set on the shelves for the
kids to pull down and play with. On one side are all the magnetic shapes. On the
other side, they can select one of the cards and then use the shapes to copy the
image on the card.
XGirl worked diligently to create this house. She was so proud of herself when she
fnally fnished putting it together!
Montessori activities: Currently
on our shelves
September :0, 201: by Katie SG ; Comment!
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619

A couple of months ago I gave my readers a sneak peak at what was on our
Montessori shelves at the time, and today Im back to do it again. Please keep in
mind that I am not a certifed Montessori teacher. Im just a mom who loves
Montessori and has been doing my best to learn as much as I can about the
philosophy and approach. I hope that by sharing the Montessori activities weve been
doing that this will spark ideas for other parents.
,umber chains
This tray focuses on number recognition, counting, and fne motor skills. The kids
create chains of diferent lengths using our jumbo chain links.

*riting numbers in the salt tray
I prepared a simple salt tray by pouring salt into a shallow food storage container. The
kids select a number from our sandpaper numerals, trace the sandpaper number
with their fngers, and then write that number in the salt tray.
-gg carton math to "ork on subitizing and counting
I took an empty egg carton and drew either one, two, or three dots in the bottom of
each well. I then provided a number of glass gems. The kids look at the number of
dots in each well and then add that number of glass gems to the well. The kids can
count the dots, but my goal is for them to start subitizing subitizing is the art of
looking at a group of objects and knowing how many they are without needing to
count them.
Memory
I pulled out our game of Original Memory for the kids to work on matching up pairs of
cards. The matching part isnt difcult for them, but they like the memory challenge
involved in the game.
(ce Cream Scoop Counting .cti$ity
I am not yet willing to let go of summer :-), so I pulled out our Ice Cream Scoop
Counting Activity. The kids lay out the cones in numerical order and then place the
indicated number of scoops on top of each cone.
Pattern matching bead stringing
This activity works on patterning, following directions, and fne motor skills. The idea
is for the kids to string the beads onto the pipe cleaner to match the pattern on the
card. To get a copy of the entire control card printable that this activity comes
from, click here.
Count and clip
I have two versions of this tray. In this version, the plate is divided in to fve sections
with 1 to 5 dots in each section. The kids count the number of dots, fnd the
clothespin with the corresponding numeral, and then clip the clothespin to the
appropriate section of the plate.
This is the same activity, except this plate has 10 sections with 1-10 dots.
/racing shapes on sandpaper using yarn
For this activity I used a crayon to draw four shapes on a piece of sandpaper. The
kids use the cut pieces of yarn which tend to stick to the rough sandpaper to trace
each of the shapes.
Sense of taste: Fun ith tasting
bottles
<une 10, 2014 by Katie SG 4 Comment!
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33

I recently introduced my kids to the topic of our fve basic senses. After doing an
overview of the fve senses, we are spending some time exploring each of the senses
in more depth. Today I am sharing a sense of taste activity for kids.
Taste is a very important sense due to its role in helping us determine the favors of
foods and other substances. In fact, our ability to taste has historically been linked to
our survival, as our sense of taste gives us an indication of whether a food is safe to
eat or is likely to be poisonous.
In Montessori education, tasting bottles are commonly found in the sensorial area of
the classroom. The typical presentation involves giving kids two sets of bottles with
matching tastes. Children are then asked to taste the liquids in the bottles in order to
match up the tastes from each set. I recently created some tasting bottles for my kids,
although we used the bottles in a diferent way.
Note: For more activities and printables on each of the fve senses, see my Five
Senses Unit Study page.
The sense of taste, also called gustation, is possible due to taste receptor cells
located on taste buds in our mouths. Most taste buds are on the tongue, but they are
also found in other parts of the mouth. Humans have approximately 10,000 taste
buds, each of which has between 50 and 150 receptor cells. However, children have
about twice as many taste receptors as adults, which may account for why children
are often much pickier eaters than adults.
There are fve primary taste sensations:
sweet
salty
sour
bitter
umami
(I will confess that I did not know what umami was and had to look it up. I learned that
umami is the response to glutamic acid salts found in foods like MSG and processed
meats and cheeses. Apparently it was discovered only recently, while sweet, salty,
sour, and bitter have been known for quite some time. Because I was unfamiliar with
umami and because we did not have any MSG or processed meats or cheeses in
our home I did not include this taste in our activity.)
If you are looking for a good book to help explain the science behind taste to your
kids, I recommend The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses by Joanna Cole.
However, the science in The Magic School Bus book was too advanced for my kids at
this age. Instead, we read The Five Senses: Taste by Maria Rius, which uses very
simple text.
We also read The Sense of Taste by Ellen Weiss, which provides more details than
the Ruis book but was still simple enough for my preschool-age kids to enjoy.
I purchased a set of tasting bottles from Montessori Services (although Living
Montessori Now has a great post on DIY tasting bottles and tasting activities.) The
set I purchased included four bottles with white droppers and four bottles with black
droppers. I used the tasting bottles as a springboard to do three diferent activities
focused on taste with my kids.
!sing tasting bottles to categorize the four main tastes
For the frst activity, I prepared four bottles with four diferent tastes:
Sweet (sugar water)
Salty (salt water)
Sour (lemon juice)
Bitter (plain cocoa dissolved in water)
I began by laying out four cards labeled sweet, salty, sour, and bitter.
Next, I invited my kids to take turns tasting the liquid in each bottle to determine which
of the four tastes was represented.
They suctioned up some of the liquid and dropped it in their mouths.
They were not fans of the bitter taste at all, but they both loved the sweet taste. XGirl,
who is a bit of a salt fend, also really liked the salty taste.
After tasting each bottle, they agreed on which favor it represented and set it next to
the appropriate label card.
(dentifying foods for each of the four main tastes
After doing the tasting bottles, I asked them fnd foods in our kitchen representing
each of the four main tastes. They did a really good job with this.
For sweet, they found honey, an apple, a mango, and a banana.
For sour, they found a lemon.
For salty, they found the salt and some salty pistachios.
For bitter, they found our unsweetened cocoa and some Brussels sprouts. (Im not
sure how bitter Brussels sprouts really are, but knowing that some vegetables taste
bitter to kids it was the best one we could come up with in our kitchen at the time.)
Grading tastes by s"eetness
For the last activity, I created four tasting bottles with diferent levels of sweetness by
adding diferent amounts of sugar to the same amount of water. I labeled the bottom
of the bottles 1 through 4 to show which had the least sugar and which had the most.
I invited the kids to taste the liquid in each bottle.
I then asked them to put the bottles in order from least sweet to most sweet.
The sweet water was a big hit with both kids, not surprisingly. In fact, all of our tasting
activities went over quite well, the taste of the bitter water not withstanding. :-)
So, which of these sense of taste activity for kids was your favorite? Let me know in
the comments?
!ntroduction to living and
nonliving
,ugu!t 1, 2014 by Katie SG 2 Comment!
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307

For the past year I have been taking an online Montessori class from KHT
Montessori. While it would of course be ideal to take an in-person class, I have still
learned a ton about Montessori education from the online class. As we ofcially start
homeschooling for kindergarten in a couple of weeks, I plan to use many of the
activities in the Montessori albums from this class, particularly for our science
activities.
From what our instructor has said, it is important to do an introduction to living and
nonliving before moving on to the other science topics. So we recently did a number
of activities on living and nonliving that I will be sharing over the course of several
posts. Todays post focuses on introducing living and nonliving. In future posts I will
share activities to introduce once living as well as books about living and nonliving.
Note: Looking for more Montessori inspired science activities? See my science
activities for kids page and my Montessori activities page.
The very frst day of this unit, I created a living tray to talk about four characteristics of
living things. The tray included the following:
an apple, to represent the fact that all living things need food
A container flled with water, to represent the fact that all living things need
water
A container flled with air, to represent the fact that all living things need air
Figurines of a mother and baby horse, to represent the fact that all living
things reproduce
Note that the picture below should include a Living label for the tray itself.
After discussing this tray at length, we went outside for a walk in our backyard and
around the block to look for living things. Even though I had not yet introduced
nonliving things, my kids already made the connection and pointed out both living and
nonliving things on our walk.
On another day, I created two bowls with mini fgures representing both living and
nonliving things.
The living bowl included:
tree
baby
koala
panda bear
panther
tiger
rabbit
ladybug
The nonliving bowl included:
umbrella
wagon
bag of salt
vase
playing card
notepad
frying pan
broom
After we discussed these objects and why they were living or nonliving, I mixed them
all together and had XGirl sort them into living and nonliving piles.
(All of the miniatures came from the Language Object Starter Set I purchased
at Montessori Services.)
After sorting the miniature objects, I printed out this Living and Nonliving Things
Packet from Mrs. Wheats Teachers Pay Teachers Store. My kids cut out the pictures
and sorted them into the appropriate categories.
I have also found other great living and nonliving printables from:
The Helpful Garden (free)
Montessori Print Shop ($$)
!ntroduction to once living
,ugu!t :, 2014 by Katie SG 1 Comment
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In a previous post I shared some hands-on activities and links to free printables for
giving kids an introduction to living and nonliving objects. Once my kids understood
the characteristics of living and nonliving things, I introduced the concept of once
living. Once living things are objects that used to be alive, but now are not. For
example, dried fowers, a dead insect, and a fossil would all be examples of once
living objects.
Note: Looking for more Montessori inspired science activities? See my science
activities for kids page and my Montessori activities page.
This unit turned out to be a bit tricker than I would have thought. As I shared these
activities with my husband and mom, we got into some really interesting discussions
about the diference between living, nonliving, and once living. For example, my kids
would look at a t-shirt and categorize it as nonliving. But if the shirt it made from
cotton, that cotton was once alive on a cotton plant, meaning that the shirt is
technically once living.
Even something like plastic could be considered once living, since plastic is made
from petrochemicals that come from carbon life forms that died hundreds of
thousands of years ago. See how tricky this can get?!? :-)
Needless to say, I kept it more simple and concrete for my kids. We started our
introduction to once living things with this once living tray that included the following
once living objects:
an avocado
a green leaf
a brown leaf
a shark tooth
two fossils
For each object on the tray, we talked about how it had come from a living thing that
needed food, water, air, and that could reproduce. (See our introduction to living and
nonliving where I discuss these four characteristics.) But we also talked about how
each of these objects was no longer living and thus no longer needed food, air, water,
and could no longer reproduce.
Over the course of the unit, we also read many great books about living and
nonliving.
To help drive home the diferences between living, nonliving, and once living, I invited
the kids to create their own Living / Nonliving / Once Living books.
I gave them three sheets of paper each, with one labeled Living, one labeled
Nonliving, and one labeled Once Living. They searched through the pages of
various magazines and catalogs to fnd images for each page.
After they found an image they liked, they cut it out and glued it on to the appropriate
page.
Once they completed their books, we punched holes in them and bound them using
our 1/2 inch booklet rings from Montessori Services.
Here are their completed Living pages. As you can see from XGirls work on the right,
she was really into cutting and pasting images. And as you can tell from QBoys work
on the left. . . he was not as enthusiastic about this activity.
Here are their completed Nonliving pages.
Here are their completed Once Living pages.
Finally, I created some living / nonliving / once living pictures cards for the kids to
sort. I handed them to the kids in a pile along with a three-part tray. The three
sections of the tray were labeled Living, Nonliving, and Once Living.
As the kids sorted the pictures, we discussed why each item was categorized as
living, nonliving, or once living.
Want to use my living / nonliving / once living picture cards? You can purchase the
same cards pictured above for just $.99. Your purchase will include:
Six living picture cards
Elephant
Bee
Crab
Dafodils
Apple tree
Bird
Six nonliving picture cards
School bus
Hot air balloon
Snow gloves
Boat
Shoe
Blocks
Six once living picture cards
Apple core
Dried fowers
Coconut
Dolphin skeletons
Dried peppers
Hollow tree trunk
Here is a sample of what is included in the download.
Matching and ordering by si"e
{free printable}
.ebruary 10, 2014 by Katie SG 5 Comment!
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129

As I learn more about the methods of Dr. Maria Montessori, I am understanding the
great deal of importance she placed on children being able to discriminate between
items using their senses. A while back I created a simple Montessori-inspired
printable to help my kids work on matching and ordering items by size. My kids are
beyond this activity by now, but I wanted to share it for my readers with younger kids
who may beneft from this simplematching and ordering by size activity.
I cut straws into segments from 1 to 6 long and asked XGirl to match the straw
segments to the lines on a printable worksheet I created (download link at end of
post).
After she completed this task, we talked about which was shortest and which was
longest.
An extension to this activity would be to have your child re-do the ordering part of the
activity without using the printable.
If you dont have straws, this activity can be done using string, paper strips, or any
other material that you can cut into short segments.
Click here to downlo
#th of $uly Montessori activities
<une 20, 201: by Katie SG 2= Comment!
This post may contain affiliate links at no cost to you. See my disclosures for more information.

1K+

Now that we have our new Montessori shelves installed, I have been anxious to put
them to use. And with 4th of July fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to
create a variety of 4th of July Montessori activities and trays to set out for the next few
weeks. In this post Im sharing the 4th of July Montessori activities on our shelves
right now.
Note: For more 4th of July activities and printables, see my 4th of July activities page.
Star%/hemed Shades of Color 0th of 1uly Montessori
acti$ity
I created a printable (that you can download here) to work on distinguishing shades
of color from light to dark, which is a Montessori sensorial activity. The use of stars, of
course, was inspired by the 4th of July theme for this month, but could be used at any
time.
Spooning "ater beads
I found this nifty set of metal cups at Goodwill, and it has been perfect for practical life
spooning exercises. For this month, I flled one cup with water beads that I hydrated
with water dyed blue.
XGirl loves this kind of practical life activity, and I love watching her take so much
care with her work.
Flag patterns 0th of 1uly Montessori acti$ity
I created a series of images that show four fags in a variety of patterns (you can
download them here). I laminated the images and put them on a tray with four fags.
The idea is that the kids need to select an image and use the fags to recreate the
image. In doing so, they work on spatial awareness skills.
QBoy was fascinated by this work, and impressed me with how well he was able to
copy the images. (I happen to be very spatially challenged, so this kind of work would
have been very challenging for me at his age.)
Put the "ater beads on the golf tees
This tray has three parts a star container stufed with our gluten-free play dough, a
jar withwater beads, and a tin with red and white golf tees.
There are so many wonderful fne motor challenges involved with this activity,
including opening the jar of water beads, opening the tin of golf tees, sticking the golf
tees in the play dough, and balancing the water beads on top.
XGirl spent a very long time with this tray and was so determined to get all the water
beads to balance on the golf tees.
Shado" matching 0th of 1uly Montessori acti$ity
This shadow matching activity comes from my 4th of July Printable Pack.
*ater pouring 0th of 1uly Montessori acti$ity
This water pouring activity works on practical life and fne motor skills. The kids have
to carefully pour the water from the pitcher into the two tea cups, and then pour the
water back into the pitcher. I dyed the water blue in honor of the 4th of July, although I
frst made sure that I would be able to get the color out of my carpet if the kids should
spill.
If they spill on the tray (which is to be expected), I have provided a cloth for them to
clean up their spills.
Plant a #ag 0th of 1uly Montessori acti$ity
This practical life and fne motor activity requires the kids to stick about 50 American
fag toothpicks into some foral foam.
QBoy really enjoyed this activity, and worked meticulously to put all 50 fags into the
block.
As he worked, he kept remarking on how many there were! And when he fnished, he
asked me to count each of the fags as he put them back into the bowl. I happily
obliged, of course.
,umber matching to ob2ects
This activity from my 4th of July Printable Pack requires the kids to match each
number card with the card showing the same number of stars.
Scissors skills
On this tray I put several items for the kids to practice cutting. The little kids come
from my4th of July Printable Pack, while the stars are from my Star-Themed Shades
of Color Activity.
XGirl spent a lot of time with this tray the frst time it was out. She kept cutting and
cutting, all the while announcing over and over that she was working on my motor
skills.
Patriotic shapes matching 0th of 1uly Montessori acti$ity
This is a simple shapes matching activity from my 4th of July Printable Pack.
For lots of other great Montessori-inspired 4th of July learning, I recommend this post
from Living Montessori Now.
Christmas Montessori activities
Deember >, 201: by Katie SG = Comment!
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434

Today Im sharing a number of Montessori Christmas activities for kids you can try
out with your little ones.
One thing I have really come to enjoy about homeschooling my preschoolers is
coming up with activities related to each of our themes. A lot of the activities I plan
are inspired by the Montessori method. I have so much respect for the way Maria
Montessori viewed young children and their potential, and I love the Montessori
philosophy of following the lead of the child. That being said, I am not a certifed
Montessori teacher, and not everything we do is Montessori-based. Nonetheless, I
hope youll fnd some inspiration in the ideas I share below. I also have lots of other
(non-Montessori) Christmas ideas on my Christmas activities for kids page.
Put the bells on Santa
For this activity, I printed out the Santa do-a-dot printable from my Christmas do-a-dot
printables pack. I included a pair of easy grip tweezers and a small bowl of bells.
Kids use the tweezers to place one bell in each of the dots on Santa.
Decorate the Christmas Tree with pom poms
For this activity, I printed out the Christmas tree do-a-dot page from my Christmas do-
a-dot printables pack. I included some glue and a small bowl of red pom poms. Kids
dab a spot of glue in each dot on the tree and then stick a red pom pom on the tree to
decorate it.
Christmas stocking lacing activity
For this activity I printed the Christmas stocking lacing activity from my Christmas
Printable Pack on to card stock. I included a length of yarn as well. (I wrapped tape
around one end of the yarn to make it easy to thread through the holes in the stocking
a shoe lace might be a good substitute.)
Kids then lace the yarn all the way around the stocking. When I showed this activity to
QBoy he had a very difcult time remembering to keep the thread in his right hand.
He also got easily confused about whether to put the thread through the top of each
hole or the bottom. So this is defnitely a skill we need to keep working on!
Golf tee fne motor activity
For this activity I printed of another copy of the Santa do-a-dot printable from
my Christmas do-a-dot printables pack. In the bowl, I placed red golf tees.
The goal is to stand one golf tee on each of Santas dots. For young children it can be
very tricky to place one golf tee without knocking another over.
Decorate the Christmas tree with stickers
On this tray I placed the Decorate the Christmas Tree v.1 activity from my Christmas
Printable Pack. I also included some colorful stickers. Kids use the stickers to cover
each of the stars on the tree. Peeling these small stickers is challenging for tiny
hands and provides a great fne motor workout.
Make a candy cane out of pipe cleaners
On this tray I placed red and white pipe cleaners (aka, chenille stems) measuring
about 5 in length. I also placed a sample candy cane. I showed my kids how to twist
a red and white pipe cleaner together and then bend it in order to create a candy
cane. QBoy was so excited about this activity and made candy canes for everyone in
our family and for his friends as well. I ended up having to buy more pipe cleaners so
he could continue!
Christmas scissors practice
This activity is from my Christmas Printable Pack. I provided two diferent cutting
patterns and a pair of scissors for my kids to practice their scissors skills.
Christmas sorting activity
This is another activity from my Christmas Printable Pack. On the tray I placed a
sheet with two boxes, one labeled presents and one labeled ornaments. In the
bowl on the left I put pictures of presents and ornaments.
Kids sort the pictures into the appropriate box. If desired, kids can even glue them to
the paper.
An alternative version of this would be to give kids a basket with real presents and
real ornaments inside and have them sort the obejcts into piles.
uild a Christmas tree
This activity works on childrens understanding of length. I placed a blank sheet of
paper on the right. On the left I included a little basket with a glue stick, strips of
green paper, and a small strip of brown paper.
I cut the green strips so that each one was 1/2 longer than the previous one. The
shortest strip is 1 and the longest strip is 5.5. Kids assemble them into a tree shape
by placing them in order from shortest to longest. The short brown strip goes at the
bottom to make the tree trunk.
For younger kids, I would suggest giving them fewer strips and grading them in 1
increments rather than 1/2 increments.
Decorate the Christmas tree
For this activity I printed an outline of a Christmas tree from my Christmas Tree
Outlines printable. I provided some glue as well as tissue paper squares. Kids
crumple up the green tissue paper squares and glue them on to the tree. For added
fun, I included someadhesive back jewels that kids can use to decorate their trees.
Mini Christmas lights fne motor activity
For this activity I provided a mufn tin, a small measuring spoon, and a bowl of mini
Christmas lights. Kids use the measuring spoon to scoop the lights one-by-one out of
the bowl and place them individually into the mufn tin cups. This activity provides
kids with both fne motor practice as well as practice with one-to-one
correspondence. I teach my kids to place the lights into the mufn tin by flling the
holes from top to bottom and from left to right, just like we read in English.
!ibbon tying e"ercise
QBoy has been really interested in tying his own shoes lately, so I thought this would
be a fun activity to give him some additional tying practice. I cut out some lengths of
red ribbon and put them in a bowl. I also provided a stick. The kids have to tie the
ribbons on to the stick. I dont anticipate that XGirl will do this work as it is above her
level, but it is perfect for QBoy at this time.


Christmas Gift Si#e Sorting
This activity comes straight out of my Christmas Printable Pack. The goal is for kids
to put the presents in order from smallest to largest.
Christmas sensory bin
I dont think that sensory bins are strictly Montessori. Nonetheless, when kids play
with sensory bins they engage in many of the practical life skills that are part of the
common Montessori curriculum, like pouring, scooping, etc. Plus, my kids just love
sensory bins! So I couldnt resist putting together this very simple bin using rice left
over from last yearsChristmas sensory bin along with several inexpensive Christmas-
themed dolls and toys.
Christmas$themed patterning practice
I printed out these Christmas gift patterning templates from my Christmas Printable
Pack. I started a pattern on each strip using red and green do-a-dot markers.
These are the diferent types of patterns I prepared for the kids to continue flling in.
XGirl does really well with simple ABAB patterns but still struggles a bit with the rest.
She really likes using the do-a-dot markers, so she gets very motivated to practice
this kind of activity.
!ace to the %ouse for Christmas Game
XGirl loves this Race to the House for Christmas game from my Christmas Printable
Pack. On the tray I provided the printable, a bowl of green glass gems, a bowl of red
glass gems, and one of our jumbo foam dice.
The idea is to roll the dice, count the dots on the dice, and then mark of that number
of Santas with the green gems. Then roll the dice, count the dots, and mark of that
number of snowmen with the red gems. The frst character (Santa or the snowman)
to reach the house wins!
This game can be played solo or with a partner. When we play the game with
partners, we play such that the competition is between Santa and the snowman, not
between the two people rolling the dice.
Christmas &ddition Game
This addition game comes from my Christmas Printable Pack. I prepared a game
board on the right, and bowls on the left with yellow sum cards, white addend cards,
and mini Christmas lights for counting.
Kids play by selecting two white addend cards and placing them in the addend boxes.
Below each number, kids will count out mini Christmas lights equal to each number.
Finally, kids tally the sum and place the corresponding yellow sum card in the box to
the right of the equal sign.
'ind the (etter S for Santa
I am currently working with my kids on their letters. QBoy has got most of the
alphabet down while XGirl is still in the early stages of letter recognition. This
worksheets comes from myFind the Letter S for Santa printable featuring both
uppercase and lowercase versions. On this tray I placed the worksheet as well as
some mini Christmas trees in the small basket on the left.
XGirl uses the mini Christmas trees to mark all of the Ss on the worksheet.
Gingerbread Man Themed 'ill in the Missing (owercase (etters
QBoy has made huge strides in recent weeks in knowing the alphabet and being able
to put all of the letters in alphabetic order. This activity works to strengthen his
knowledge of ABC order, and it comes straight from my Christmas Printable Pack.
Rather than having him write in the letters (which would be a tad difcult for him), I
provided the missing letters in the tray using our lower case letter beads.
When the activity is completed it looks like this.

I hope you found some inspiration in this post for activities you can do with your own
children. Let me know which activities your children enjoy most!
I invite you to check out other Christmas ideas
%inter&themed learning ' fun
<anuary 11, 201: by Katie SG 5 Comment!
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This post includes a round up of some of the winter-themed learning and fun activities
we did during the individual learning time portion of homeschool preschool this past
week.
*inter%themed ne motor and pre%math acti$ity
I gave XGirl this activity to work on fne motor skills, one-to-one correspondence, and
colors. (Note that I eventually swapped out the tongs in this frst picture for a
clothespin as these tongs were too challenging for her.) I am working with XGirl to
help her place the items in the containers from left to right and from top to bottom as
she still often just places them in randomly.
*inter size ordering acti$ity
XGirl also completed this winter-themed activity to work on ordering by size. (Ive lost
track of where I originally download this from. If you know, please send an email or
leave a comment so I can credit the person who created this printable.) XGirl loves
any opportunity to use glue so she was very excited about this activity. Six months
ago when she joined our family she would have had no clue how to order these items
by size, so the fact that she was able to do order by size correctly 80-90% of the time
was huge progress for her!
*inter%themed patterning acti$ity
QBoy worked on patterning using a printable from my Winter Printable Pack for Tots
and Preschoolers. I got so busy with both kids that I missed taking any action shots of
him doing this task. Nonetheless, Grandmum helped him see the pattern on each
strip and then continue it by gluing the additional pictures.
,umbers
QBoy worked on number recognition and counting using this printable from 1+1+1=1.
,umbers Puzzle
QBoy also worked on numbers with this winter-themed numbers puzzle from
my Winter Printable Pack for Tots and Preschoolers. He is starting to recognize most
of the numbers from 1 to 10, which is really exciting. With Grandmums help he was
able to do this puzzle without too much trouble.
*hich One is 3i4erent&
Grandmum also helped QBoy do this Which One is Diferent? activity from my Winter
Printable Pack for Tots and Preschoolers. He felt so proud every time he fgured out
which of the items was not like the rest.
And that was how we spent individual learning time during homeschool preschool this
week!