DIY Montessori: Stringing

imageWhat you’ll need:

  • felt or foam shapes
  • pipe cleaners (or string)

One of my son’s favorite things to do is string beads, or shapes onto string. We chose pipe cleaners today. This sensorial DIY Montessori work is great for fine motor refinement, concentration, small muscle control, and hand-eye coordination. I couldn’t cut shapes fast enough to keep up with my little one!

Here are a few other DIY stringing activities to try at home:

Large Bead Stringing – Carrots are Orange

Montessori-Oriented Pipe-Cleaner-and-Bead Valentine’s Day Activity – Living Montessori Now

Montessori Lacing Beads for Toddlers – Fine Motor Development Practical Life – Natural Wood Toy – Etsy

Toddler Bead Boxes – It’s Our Long Story

Happy DIY-ing!

Montessori in the Home

Consistency is key when it comes to your child’s learning environment at school and home. Creating a Montessori-friendly environment at home is easier to attain than you may think. Just keep a few things in mind, 1) is my child able to fulfill their needs independently, 2) can they reach necessary objects that are placed away in a cabinet/shelf, 3) are they given quiet areas to work/play independently, 4) are these areas tidy, neat and uncluttered. Purchasing Montessori materials can be intimidating to some, however rest assured that many of these works can actually be hand-made with materials found around the house.

Here are a few helpful links and photos to help get you started…

This blog I came across, Kavanaugh Report showcases beautiful pictures of how to incorporate Montessori in your home and the furniture layout of each appropriate area.

Washing salad greens for the family's dinner (Photo from The Montessori Child at Home)

You want to promote “natural learning” as much as possible in your home. Allow for your child to think and work for themselves, and create an environment that meets their needs at any given time. Furniture should be low-set, utensils/plates/cups should be in a cabinet accessible to your child. Include them in every day house-hold tasks to bring forth natural, organic learning opportunities. Continue reading

10 DIY Holiday Gifts to make with the Kids

As parents, we’re always trying to find clever ways to make a gift out of our child’s hand/feet prints. It’s almost an obsession. We have to document their precious little fingers and toes for every year they’re alive. They make for irresistible gifts for loved ones. And thanks to Pinterest, there are so many varieties of gifts you can make with hand and feet prints, how could anyone resist?!

Handmade gifts will always hold a sentimental value for whoever receives them. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best presents to make with the kids, to help make this holiday gift-giving extra special.

(links have been added to each description/photo)

  1. Handprint Ornaments

    How to make Handprint Ornaments

  2. Footprint Ornament

    footprint2

  3. Yarn Wrapped HeartWrapping hearts with yarn as a Valeninte's day craft

  4. Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

    Homemade Instant Hot Chocolate Mix | Fireflies and Mud Pies

  5. Clay Bowls
    DIY Clay Bowls

  6. Personalized Notebooks

  7. Ten things I love about You BookletMini Book

  8. Painted Golf Balls – for the golfer in your family (cute idea!!)Decorated Golf Balls

  9. Send a Hug!

    Send a Hug

  10. Fingerprint String of LightsThumbprint Christmas Lights

Happy crafting, and Happy Holidays!

10 Montessori DIY Holiday Activities to do with your Children

This has to be my favorite time of year. Everyone seems to be in the holiday spirit. Our crafty and clever teachers have incorporated a variety of holiday-themed crafts and projects into the childrens’ daily routine. Several of these crafts are extremely easy to incorporate into your home environment. If you’re anything like me, you’re already planning activities and works for your child to do over the winter break. Several Montessori works are surprisingly very affordable, and very easy to recreate at home.

(helpful links have been included so that you can purchase supplies for yourself!)

  1. Threading with Jingle Bells – Fine Motor Activity

What you’ll need: bamboo skewer, styrofoam, large jingle bells

Simply press the pointy end of the skewer into the styrofoam and you’re ready to go! My three year old loved doing this step.

On the back of each jingle bell, there is a slot for threading, usually ribbon or string, but the skewer fits just perfectly. Simply slide the jingle bells on the skewer and listen to the bells jingle as they slide down.

2. DIY Foam Geoboard Trees

DIY Foam Geoboard Tree for Seasonal Fine Motor Fun
DIY Foam Geoboard Tree for Seasonal Fine Motor Fun

What you’ll need: green/white foam cones, golf tees, rubber bands

This is a great work for hand-eye coordination, and requires lots of concentration as your child ties each rubber band onto the golf tees. Continue reading

DIY Montessori: Knobless Cylinder Patterns & Variations

Picture3

Making your own Montessori materials can be lots of fun, and so rewarding. The key item when making any new work is to find what is needed in your classroom, and add lesson opportunities according to those needs. Try adding seasonal variations to an already-established work on the shelf, such as snowflake pin pricking during winter, or hand-made nomenclature cards for specific holidays. These exciting new work extensions help keep the spirit of learning lively and spontaneous.

A fun way to incorporate new lessons, is to create extensions, or variations on a work. For example, the knobless cylinders have an endless amount of lessons that can be given to help the child learn to discriminate in size/diameter. A fun variation that our children enjoy is the knobless cylinder patterns, hand-made by our guides. Often times the child can trace the pattern and complete the puzzle on their own. Here is an example of one of our knobless cylinder patterns:
photo 3_2

To make your own pattern, you’ll need:

  • Canvas, or some sort of material that easily rolls up for storage (we used non-adhesive shelf liner)
  • Permanent Markers (black, red, blue, green, yellow)
  • Pencil

Start by deciding what pattern you’d like to make. Get creative! You can make a train, boat, or even incorporate the cylinders into natural scenery, as long as the child is able to grade the objects, just as they would off of the pattern. Once your pattern is made, use a pencil and trace around the cylinders to replicate the different sizes, starting from largest to smallest, left to right. Using a pencil helps preserve the cylinder’s paint, and not leave behind scratches or marks. Re-trace over the pencil with a permanent marker.

Optional: It might be helpful to draw an additional, colored line around the circles to indicate which color cylinder goes where. For instance, I re-traced the boat’s windows in blue to indicate that the blue cylinders were to be placed there. I did not fill in the circles with the color blue, but rather a thin blue line to highlight that specific circle.

Have fun, get creative, and use your imagination!

“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” – Dr. Maria Montessori