Wednesday, April 23, 2014

States of Matter - Liquids

Physical Science - States of Matter


The Physical Science album is a precursor to the other 3-6 Science albums. I'm using the KHT Montessori albums, which I love! We started with the 3 States of Matter - solid, liquid and gas. This was not entirely new since we had played with water and done several experiments in the past with ice, water and steam.

We had some friends over to join us for our work period. I started by introducing the definition of "matter" as anything you could touch or that takes up space. I asked the kids for examples of things they could touch (the couch, the floor, a book) and we talked about how all of those things are made of matter. I showed them the matter tray with a container of water for liquid, air for gas, and a rock for solid. I passed the containers around so they could see the differences. Then we listened to this States of Matter song on YouTube.

Next, we talked about a couple of the properties of liquids. Liquids don't have a definite shape, and will take the shape of the container they are poured into. Liquids are a type of matter, so they do take up space. Liquids also have a definite volume. You can measure the volume of a liquid, and that volume will stay constant if you transfer the liquid to a new container.

I set up a water station at the table (with lots of towels - this would be better outside if it hadn't been so cold that day!). I had a large bucket of water in the middle of the table, and several trays around the table where kids could sit and experiment with pouring water into different shapes and sizes of containers.

We were so involved in the activities that I didn't get any pictures (how did that happen??). Here are a few examples of things you could do:

Measure the volume of a liquid, then pour into a different container.
See how the shape changes, but volume stays the same.

Pour liquids into containers with very different sizes or shapes.

Play with different sized/shaped containers in the pool or bathtub.

Use a water table to fill lots of containers with water. Practice pouring the liquid from
one container to another to see how liquids flow and take the shape of their container.

See more Science activities here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

PL - Washing a Doll

Washing a Doll

In preparation for her new role as a big sister, we bought a new baby doll for M to take care of. She has an incredible number of stuffed animals, but doesn't have many actual dolls. I bought this Waterbabies doll specifically because it could go in the tub.

I set up a bath station with a bowl of water, a small cup, a baby bathtub (which could be substituted with any shallow tub or pan), a washcloth, and a small towel. I demonstrated how to use the cup to get water from the bowl and pour it over the baby doll to get her wet, use the washcloth to wash the baby, rinse her with more water, and then dry her with the small towel. We didn't use any soap, but that could definitely be added as an extension. You could also demonstrate how to wash hair if you have a doll with hair.

This was a huge success - I can't tell you how many times this doll took a bath! This would be easy to do in the real bathtub, or as an outdoor activity to minimize the possibility of a mess.

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

See more Practical Life activities here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

PL - Unloading the Dishwasher

Unloading the Dishwasher

M helps as much as she can in the kitchen. I'm trying to make more things accessible, especially her own dishes and snacks, but her learning tower is also a big help. (My husband build this one using the directions from Ana White's DIY site.) She can't reach most of the dishes, but she is able to sort and put away the silverware. When I find a better way to store her dishes she'll be able to help with those as well.

See more Practical Life activities here.

PL - Setting the Table

Setting the Table

M is a huge fan of tea parties, so she gets a lot of practice setting the table. I printed table setting place mats from Simple Fresh Designs. I'm trying to get better at involving M in "real" chores around the house, but realistically, we don't typically set the table before we eat. We also talk about different ways to set the table when we eat out at restaurants, especially when there are multiple utensils or glasses.

See more Practical Life activities here.

PL - Tooth Brushing

Tooth Brushing

Like many Practical Life activities, this is something you teach your child to do naturally. M likes to do things on her own, and this is no exception. She can open and close the toothpaste (she still needs some help squeezing the toothpaste onto her toothbrush), wet her toothbrush, and brush her teeth. I typically do a quick follow-up brushing, but she is pretty thorough on her own now. 

See more Practical Life activities here

PL - Washing Hands

Washing Hands

This is pretty self-explanatory. M uses a stool in the bathroom to reach the sink, and we keep soap and a hand towel accessible. They make faucet extenders if that's an issue (it's not in our house). M loves washing her hands to make them all "sparkly clean." She also uses a wet washcloth or tissue to wash her face after eating.

See more Practical Life activities here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

PL - Walking the Line

Walking the Line

Walking on a line helps to develop balance and awareness of your body. There are tons of variations, and we practice walking the "line" (or playground edging, curbs, cracks in the sidewalk, etc.) all the time! We have used painters tape on the floor, or tape down the ends of a long piece of ribbon, when we make lines to walk inside. Sidewalk chalk is great for drawing lines outside.

Extensions include walking backwards, carrying an object, walking to a beat / music, walking on curved or zig zag lines, and more!

See more Practical Life activities here.

PL - Rolling a Rug

Rolling a Rug

We bought this rug from Target when we started implementing Montessori right before M's 3rd birthday. I showed M how to roll the rug and store it in the same place in her playroom when she is finished with it. Even though she usually works by herself, I have found that using the rug helps to contain her materials to one area, and encourages her to clean up before moving on to something new.

See more Practical Life activities here.

Something New.... Again

Changes, changes, changes. Every time I think I have a system that works, something changes and we need to adjust. I recently started taking the KHT Montessori online training course, and it is really helping to ground me and give me some perspective on how to pull together a whole Montessori curriculum. The problem, of course, is that the more I learn, the more I want to implement these new ideas... right now! The certificate course takes 12 months, but I've been able to jump right in and prepare new materials and presentations as they are introduced in the course. I love how interactive the course is, and how supportive Karen is of all of the students. It has been a real blessing to have an expert to answer my questions and provide suggestions as we try new things. I would highly recommend the course to anyone interested in Montessori!

I am still working on finding a daily or weekly rhythm that works for our family. We are fortunate to have a fantastic homeschool community with tons of fun activities. It's hard to say no! I find that we get crazy when we plan too much, though, and that will only intensify after the new baby is born. I'm attempting to put together a more realistic schedule that allows us to slow down and still feel productive. We'll see how that goes...

In the meantime, I'm sorting through some old pictures to find examples of more traditional Montessori works we have already done. I will be posting these pictures with brief descriptions, and then organizing the links on pages by subject to keep track of what we've done. I hope it will be a helpful resource for others as well.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 7, 2014

E is for Europe - Letter Activities

We spent some time focusing on the letter "e" while we were learning about Europe. As the weather warms up, and I get closer to the end of my pregnancy, we've been slowing down with the Around the World activities and spending more time outside and with friends. We've also been working on more Practical Life activities (that I'll be featuring soon) to help M learn to do more for herself in preparation for her baby sister's arrival.

Sandpaper Letters and Tracing

We've been working a lot with the sandpaper letters recently. M is getting more interested in writing, and although she knows the shape of many of the letters, she doesn't always write them in the traditional way. Tracing the sandpaper letters, writing the letters in the salt box, and modeling writing seems to be helping.

We also "trace" the letters in different materials, like this letter "e" made out of googly eyes! I hole punched the top of this card and added it to our growing tactile letter book. (You can see posts about other letter pages on the Around the World page.)

Pink Series Work

We've been continuing with the pink series language materials to introduce 3-letter phonetic words. The "e" set included the words pen, elk, jet, ten, and egg. M lays out the miniature objects for each word, then matches the pictures and uses her movable alphabet set to spell the words. I also have the words printed on cards so she can practice sounding out the letters. She is really interested in letter sounds right now, and loves to sound out the letters in a word, but isn't quite to the point of blending the sounds yet.

E is for Eggs

Tonging Eggs

M used small tongs to transfer Easter eggs from a basket to an empty plastic egg carton.

I also set up a transfer tray with even smaller tongs and miniature styrofoam Easter eggs.

Grinding Egg Shells

I got this mortar and pestle from Bed, Bath and Beyond. It's a great Practical Life activity because it builds strength in the wrist and fingers, and also works on concentration and perseverance (it's hard to grind these foods!). It also involved pouring (to fill the mortar) and spooning (to remove the ground up shells). M loved this activity and repeated it several times (with egg shells, as well as other things like whole cloves, stale pretzels, and potpourri).

Whisking Eggs

This tray didn't really contain eggs. (Do you really want to leave raw eggs out?) Instead, M whisked a bowl of water with a few drops of dish soap. As she whisked, the water would form bubbles, which was motivation enough to encourage her to continue. We also practiced whisking real eggs for breakfast.

Don't Drop the Egg!

This is a variation of Walking on the Line. I taped a ribbon to the floor, and after we practiced walking forwards and backwards on the line, M decided she needed a little more challenge. I gave her a spoon and one of the plastic Easter eggs to practice carrying an object while walking on the line. She loved it!

Thanks for following along with us!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Europe - St. Patrick's Day Fun

We continued our European journey to Ireland in honor of St. Patrick's Day. We started by learning a little about St. Patrick himself, and finding Ireland on the globe.

I printed some sequence cards to go along with a YouTube video about St. Patrick and the celebration of St. Patrick's Day. We watched the video a couple of times, and then I paused the video after each section to give M time to put the sequence cards in order. When she finished, she retold the story using the sequence cards as a guide.

We also sang this cute counting song about 5 Little Leprechauns. M liked removing the leprechauns when they disappeared.

We've been focusing on a lot of Practical Life activities lately, so I designed some St. Patrick's Day - themed trays that would help work on developing those skills. 

Tweezing Gold

M used tweezers to pick up tiny gold beads and put them in the holes of a spice bottle. She found this activity challenging, but was able to complete it. She really liked shaking the "gold" back out of the bottle when she was finished.

Hole Punch Shamrock

I printed a picture of a shamrock with several white circles all over. I showed M how to use the circle hole punch to punch the green paper. She liked using the hole punch, but wasn't interested in gluing the circles onto the shamrock. I finished one to show her an example, and she decided she'd just take mine to hang on the wall instead of finishing her own - haha.

Over the Rainbow

I printed a picture of a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I used a sharpie to draw 5 dots along each color of the rainbow. M used the tweezers to place a matching colored pony bead on top of each dot.

Making Green

This was definitely one of M's favorite activities! She used a pipette to mix blue and yellow colored water in the wells of her tray. She repeated this activity over and over and over. There were lots of extensions that we explored - How many drops of water can fit in a well before it overflows? What happens if you add more blue? More yellow? Which shade of green is darker or lighter?

Pouring Green

M is really interested in pouring liquids right now. She's getting better and has fewer spills than she used to. This was just a basic liquid transfer tray with two pitchers. I added a few drops of green food coloring to the water for a little surprise.

I threw in a Sensorial activity for good measure:

Visual Discrimination - Leprechaun Pictures

I printed this set of leprechaun pictures (actually for a dominoes set) from Kids Can Have Fun. I showed M how to line up the pictures to find the matching pairs. 

Painting Rainbows

I guess all of the talk about leprechauns and rainbows stuck in her head. This is the painting M created at The Children's Museum. She painted it entirely on her own - flowers growing in the grass with the sun and a rainbow overhead. She was very proud of it. I was glad I got a picture before we left, because the wind ripped it out of my hand on the way out of the museum and the wet paint ended up all over my sweater (you can imagine what happened to the painting after that...).

Baking Irish Soda Bread

We followed this recipe for "Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread," which was in fact amazingly easy. I don't remember what M was doing (probably working on her color mixing tray), but I made this pretty much on my own. I somehow forgot to buy raisins, so our soda bread was made with Craisins instead - delicious! I called her over to help cut the "X" in the top to let the Devil out of the bread.

Shamrock Sundaes

We went to the beach with my parents for a few days, including St. Patrick's Day. The hotel offered shamrock sundaes to celebrate - yum!

We've had a lot of fun learning about Europe! Check out the rest of our European Unit, and the other continents we've learned about on our Journey Around the World.