Monday, March 8, 2010

Week 6, day 1: Textures

New material: texture balloons, flower arranging, scrubbing, Knobless Cylinder extensions, new Sandpaper Letters (the last of the consonants!).

I spent way too long getting ready for this week last night. I hadn't done any preparation the other evenings during our break, and I had to rush to put things together. I don't want to end up in that position again -- I was totally wiped and burned out, and I don't think I did a great job of choosing materials. I really need to keep a list through the week of what I might want to put out the next, and spread the preparation out over a few evenings.

In any case, things got done. For Practical Life, I swapped the yoga cards, removed the funnel pouring, and added flower arranging and scrubbing.

Flower arranging is one of the activities from way back in the day, before I had official Montessori materials or work time. She's always loved it. I took advantage of a sale at Joanns to pick up some new flower bunches and set those out today. It's simple but enjoyable for her -- she puts a stem in each small vase and then scatters the vases around the Montessori area.

Now that she's done funnel work with the sugar, I'm looking forward to extending her skill to using liquid and adding in pouring to a line. Then she'll be able to fill the small vases with water, and we can use real flowers! Of course, then I have to worry about the cats eating them....

I also put out our first scrubbing activity. It's simple -- toothbrush, soapy water, big seashell, and cloth.

I'd expected this to be a bigger hit, but Nugget tried it once, briefly, and was done. Maybe if I got the shell visibly dirty, so that there was some point to cleaning it?

I also added some Knobless Cylinder extensions available from A Bit of This and A Bit of That. Unfortunately, her cylinders must be a slightly different size than mine, because although the smaller cylinders fit just right, the bigger circles are different enough to be noticeable. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that. I really like her patterns, and I don't really have the time/energy to go making my own.

Of course, this is kind of a moot point -- I tried to interest Nugget in these (both by offering them and by working on them myself), and although she half-heartedly added a few, she really didn't want to do it.

I really just need to give up on these spatial Sensorial activities. I tried three times to interest her in other ways. First, a Pink Tower extension where I built the tower, had her close her eyes, and removed one of the cubes. The idea was that she would show me where it was missing from. Did it once, wanted nothing else to do with it. I tried showing her that the small block was the difference between the sizes of other blocks. She moved the block up and down the tower but showed no real interest. And then I tried building a Pink Tower + Brown Stair extension, which she first tried to get me to stop doing, then half heartedly added the top one or two.

It's just not her thing. I think that finally got through to me today. The problem is, I hate having these core Montessori activities staring at me day after day. I feel like I have to try to get her involved in them. But that's my vow for today -- I will drop my pushing of the Sensorial materials. I will pretend that they aren't even there.

Well... except that I'll set out the Red Rods soon. We're short on space, so I've been waiting for the back-ordered stand from Montessori Outlet. I called them (again!) today, to hear that Color Tablet box 4 and the Small Numerical Rods should ship this week, but the stand isn't expected until late April. Guess it's time to start asking other Montessori suppliers if they think their stand will work for these rods. In the meantime, maybe I can find the space for them somewhere.

The Sensorial activity she really enjoyed was the texture balloons.

I filled 4 pairs of red and blue balloons with flour, oatmeal, dry barley, and beads. Nugget chose to do this activity multiple times today, and we did it a bunch of different ways. We matched, held two and said if they were the same or different, ranked them by "bumpiness", and identified their contents by feel. Sometimes I was the "teacher", sometimes she was the "teacher", so we both did all these activities multiple times. She got quite a kick of of this!

Nugget also chose to do yoga, Sandpaper Letters, and some puzzles.

We spent about an hour in the room, and it was getting close to time to go to storytime at the library. She was starting to get antsy, but we could have extended our time a bit. But when I was taking down the Pink Tower + Brown Stair build, one of the larger Pink Tower cubes fell out of my hand and smacked her in the back. Those things are HEAVY! The poor girl was rightfully upset, and that ended our Montessori day then and there.

We probably won't have any time in the room tomorrow. Later in the week I want to put out some vowel Sandpaper Letters and noun cards. She's also asking for another animal activity, so I want to come up with something for that. I have the Desert Toob that I could do in the same vein as the Arctic and North American, but I'm not really feeling it. I'd like to think up something new.

Since she loves Loves LOVES animals so much, I think I really should move into living/non-living and then further into animal studies. I think she'd get a real kick out of trying to identify the various types of frogs and turtles in the Toob or sorting animals by where they live. I think that's much more up her alley than playing with blocks -- no matter how traditionally Montessori they might be.


  1. Maybe she could match the same animals to their ending sound? Sort animals from 2 tubes by habitat? Don't glue down the letters and let her place the letters before placing the animals? Just a few ideas off the top of my head.

  2. I have a solution for your knobless extensions. You can see it here
    Basically, I traced the bottoms of the cylinders onto construction paper so I (or Bear) can design the extension and then she places the cylinders on the circles. I store the construction paper circles in the respective box of cylinders.


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