Saturday, May 29, 2010

New source of Montessori downloadable, printable materials

I got a message on playschool6 (a Yahoo group for Montessori homeschoolers) that there was a new store online with downloadable, printable Montessori materials -- Montessori By Ayashy.

Places like this and Montessori for Everyone are great for me right now. It's stuff I could make myself, but never seem to find time to actually do.

I found a problem with the site while I was browsing around, and Yana sent me a sample of her materials after I emailed her about it. I liked it enough to download a number of the materials -- I ended up with some of the samples of Sensorial extensions as well as the baby animals matching and controlled word building. The baby animals will be perfect for my animal-obsessed daughter, and I think the controlled word building hits right about her ability level in language these days.

I'm happy with the materials, and I like having another option in addition to Montessori for Everyone. Hopefully there will be more materials popping up there soon!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Nugget has really wanted to get back into the Montessori room recently. Luckily, she hit an interested period at the same time that my husband could take Sprout for a walk to get him a nap. So Nugget and I were able to have a relatively long work period -- less than an hour, but still good for having a 7 week old in the house!

I've been slowly working on some turtle-related materials for our new theme. In a burst of luck, May 23 is World Turtle Day -- and Disney's Animal Kingdom celebrated Turtle Day on Wednesday. We HAD to visit for that (we're local to the parks, and visit pretty often). Nugget had a blast there, seeing vets doing check-ups of Egyptian Tortioses, wearing a pretend turtle shell, playing turtle-related games, etc.

I only had 2 turtle activities for her today -- a life cycle and a sorting work. For the sorting, I printed out pictures of various turtles -- 4 pond turtles, 4 tortoises, and 4 sea turtles. Then she sorted them by type by putting them in their appropriate home (kindergarden-level drawings I did of the ocean, a pond, and a grassy hill). This was a hit, and she did it at least 3 times today.

She also worked with the animal name sound activity, but with a twist. We changed out the beginning sound letters for ending sound letters. The last time I set this up (2 months ago, maybe?), she had a really hard time hearing anything but the beginning sound. This time, she was identifying sounds in the middle of the word and at the end. I think she might be getting ready for some Trap Door Readers....

After that, she did a bunch of Sensorial. The mystery bag, sandpaper tablets, texture balloons, and even some work with the Pink Tower and Brown Stair. We finished up with the Knobbed Cylinders. That was extra amusing, because she talked while she did it. She's always talking to herself while playing, but in a low voice that we can't hear. This time, she was speaking to herself, but loudly. So I got to hear the strange train of thought that went along with working with the cylinders. First they were a family, baby to great-grandparents. They got in and out of a car and tried to find their places. Then the big one was a mommy pushing out a baby. It was a water birth. Then the baby had tongue tie that had to be clipped. I find it amazing the ways that she processes the world around her.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Well, I made a good go of it. But I've found we're just not at the point yet where we can get back into the room on a regular basis. It didn't help that the week I tried to get us back there was the busiest week in a while, with Nugget's birthday and a visit from distant family.

Even after that all cleared up, though, we just aren't running on enough of a schedule for me to be able to know when we'll have a stretch of time to work in the room. Nugget's been grabbing herself some time in the room, a few minutes here and there, but except for the one day we haven't really had a work period.

That wouldn't be quite so hard to overcome or work around except for the fact that I have no time to keep things updated. I used to work on new materials and refreshing and organizing the room in the evenings. That time is now taken up with Sprout's witching hours -- when we're alternating walks outside (the only place he stops crying in the evening) with nursing sessions on the couch. Even those times that my husband is holding him, I'm just too drained to get my brain moving enough to do what needs to be done.

As I said, the room hasn't been completely abandoned. Nugget will grab a few minutes in there for herself sometimes, and we spent about 20 minutes in it together one morning. She actually chose Sensorial works, which is very different. But it shows that we've been away for a while -- she put the Pink Tower together incorrectly! Her mind just wasn't into it.

We're all distracted and out of sorts. Perfectly normal for having a 6 week old in the house. But I am a little sad and definitely starting to miss our time together in the room.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Week 9, day 1: Slowly getting back on track

Nugget had been showing a growing interest in getting back to the Montessori room. She was going in their on her own (just for a few minutes) and talking about it again. So I decided to try to get us back in the room a bit.

To give me a framework for developing new activities, I'd decided to try incorporating some aspects of unit studies. I'm going to focus on swamp animals for a few weeks, since we live near some swamps and she's been interested in them recently. This week I chose frogs, and developed variations on some basic activities using frogs.

Her biggest request was a new animal beginning sounds activity. So I made her a swamp with all kinds of animals and insects. The sounds were easy, but she was quite taken with all the animals (as expected).

I used some of our Safari frogs for her to match to pictures of their real-life counterparts.

She put the appropriate number of frogs on each lily pad (this was difficult -- she's not quite ready for this yet).

I put out the pieces to a frog craft and an example that I made. I let her figure out on her own how to put it together. She did great!

She used her new magnifying glass to match tiny pictures to big pictures.

As a gross-motor activity, I cut lily pads out of felt for her to jump between.

The only old activity she chose (at my suggestion) was the knobbed cylinders, which she pretended were frog daddies and babies who needed to get back to their houses.

(Is anyone surprised to hear that Nugget is obsessed with being a vet when she grows up? This kid LOVES animals. Nearly all of her play is animal-based, and anything can be made more interesting by throwing animals into the mix.)

All of this was accomplished with Sprout asleep in the sling on my chest. I felt like super-mom!
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