As you requested, I created a NEW page we will use for the winter months. You can still view and refer to PRIOR PAGE called amira-homeschooling-montessori HERE. As always, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time if you have any questions, or should you need me to modify the curriculum to better follow Amira.
Jan 20 ~ Penguin Awareness (see under Sensory)
Jan 21 – Squirrel Appreciation Day
National Squirrel Appreciation Day on January 21 is a day to learn about and celebrate the world’s cutest rodents. January 21 is a day to acknowledge the critical role these cute rodents play in nature and the environment. This holiday was founded in 2001 by wildlife rehabilitator Christy Hargrove of Asheville, North Carolina, who figured squirrels were running out of food sources about this time of year. So…
- Loop a piece of chain on a nearby tree branch with an eye-screw at the end. Screw on an ear of dried field corn into the eye-screw. Get ready to replace the chewed-up cob after your family has watched the squirrels swing and sway while gobbling their dinner.
- Have your child smear peanut butter on a pinecone and hang that up instead!
- Thread Cheerios (round cereal) on a long string and hang it on a nearby branch
- Don’t throw stale bread away; put chunks of it on your deck or porch railings. Your kids can keep watch and enjoy the show.
Jan 26 ~ Australia Day
See HERE MEMBER ONLY Australia Unit Kids Activities.
3rd Monday of January ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Jan 27 ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Birthday
Jan 29 ~ National Puzzle Day (More on Puzzles HERE)
Jan 31 ~ Backward Day
Practice putting on a coat using a FLIP – FLOP- Over the TOP trick!
By learning this trick, children as early as 16 months can learn to independently put on a coat. “Tag to toes and on it goes!” Also, by folding the scarf in half and then “threading one hand through a loop” will ensure that little one’s throat is toasty warm. Dr. Montessori believed that little people, if given appropriate tools and the prepared environment, are capable of great accomplishments! For example, teaching little people practical skills early on builds confidence, independence and self-sufficiency. “HELP ME DO IT MYSELF!”is a motto that describes Montessori PLA.
Offer your child to sew a large button to a piece of cloth. See a DIY version below.
Has your child shown an interest in sewing? Involving young minds in everyday tasks is an important aspect of Montessori education. Children innately want to imitate us and be helpful, so exposing them to Montessori Practical Life activities can start as young as fifteen months. However, sewing at a young age and the chance of being pricked by a needle can be frightening to some parents. Well, thanks to large-eye blunt needles even smaller children can practice sewing safely early one! Made of stainless steel, the needle has a wide-eye your child can learn to thread yarn through, and the point is rounded, so there is no risk of piercing the skin. However, it is impossible to use such needles with the material! So, this is where your document plastic sleeves come to the rescue! (Use any plastic you have handy, even food wraps.)
A great reference is a My First Sewing Book, which introduces sewing to young seamsters—from simple stitches and doll making to understanding and using a sewing machine. Books’ guides feature clever rhymes and simple instructions, which teach sewing skills, as well as responsibility, commitment, focus, patience, coordination, organization, and how to follow rules, all through the enjoyment of sewing. Levels progress through hand sewing, embroidery, doll making, machine sewing, patchwork, and quilting. My First Sewing Book kit introduces children to sewing basics such as threading a needle, making knots, using pins, using dots, over-stitching, lock stitching, and much more.
What you will need: round embroidery hoop, large-eye blunt needle and yarn (buy red 100% cotton yarn here.) This activity includes: lacing (the running stitch around the perimeter) and embroidery (making cross-stitches).
Ages three and up. Adrian (just turned 5 yo) enjoyed learning the basic stitch without the worry of being pricked by a needle!
Variations: use paper or vinyl and pre-punch the holes for your child to stitch through. For smaller children, who can not make a knot yet, tie a bead at the end of the cord/yarn instead of knotting. For older children, offer to sew a button (a sharp needle might be needed).
OTHER EXAMPLE OF PLA:
- If you have a single hole puncher around, allow your child to punch holes in paper or cardboard. This is a great activity for strengthening the muscles in the hand.
- If you have a three-hole puncher, punch out holes in a piece of card. Next, give your child a piece of yarn or string to practice lacing/sewing on this piece of card. If necessary, add a small piece of scotch tape to one end of the yarn to make the activity easier. (As in the case of the tip of a shoelace).
SEE DETAILS HERE
SEE DETAILS HERE
WINTER SENSORY PLAY
Sensory play is extremely important for children since it promotes language development, cognitive growth, dexterity, and problem-solving skills. As your child learns through play, s/he triggers multiple neurons when tactile, visual and language stimuli are sparked off! Besides, ‘learning’ trays, such as these Salt-Sugar Snow Play Trays, are generally easy to set up with materials you have handy. Most importantly, sensory small-world play-trays offer an opportunity for simple yet engaging activities that promote important developing skills such as fine motor and bilateral and hand-eye coordination.
Winter FOREST TRAIN Tracks Sensory Bin
See the details HERE on how to set up this taste-safe winter play tray.
Winter Wonderland Crystals SENSORY Bin
For this wintery play tray set up, I am reusing the salt/sugar filler I used for the train set up above, but this time adding a child-sized mini colander and a stainless steel flour sifter. (See details HERE.)
5 SIMPLE DIY SNOW IDEAS
Here are SIMPLE DIY snow substitutes:
1. INSTA ❄️ SNOW (add 2 oz of water for each scoop! Here, is the exact amount you get with Arctic Kit, so add 6 oz 💦 of water)
2. SUGAR ~ TASTE-SAFE for babies 👶🏼
3. SALT ~ TASTE-SAFE though NOT edible
4. BAKING SODA (or cornstarch) + little 💦 water ~ might contain bacteria!
5. SHAVING FOAM or use WHIPPED CREAM/TASTE-SAFE
SNOW PLAY DOUGH
Forest Animal Tracks in Play Dough
See here Identifying Animal Tracks in “Snow” Dough
The BELOW PDFs are EDITABLE! So you can translate them in Arabic or Armenian!
Jan 20 ~ Penguin Awareness Day
Cornstarch is a taste-safe sensory filler that also makes OOBLECK – Non-Newtonian liquid that will bring awe to your child’s eyes! (Please note, taste-safe is NOT edible!)
Print and laminate the below cards – see under Language how to use 3-Part Montessori cards.
Spinning penguins 🐧 is such a fun activity for so many age ranges!
TIP: fill either the muffin pan or silicone baby food container only HALF with 💦 water so that the head is popping out! This way the child can grab and spin!!
– hand-eye coordination
-fine motor control
– bilateral coordination
Teach REAL before ABSTRACT! Dr. Montessori observed that children learn early mathematical concepts through hands-on manipulation such as touching, sorting and stacking. It is through such learning by doing they master counting, recognize quantities, learn sequencing, and so forth! For example, one of the ways to incorporate learning through hand-on investigation is to explain mathematical concepts through sensorial work! “What the hand does, the mind remembers!”
💡 Rote Counting vs. Rational Counting
The difference between rote and rational counting is that the first is a process of sequentially memorizing number names and the second is the process of understanding the value of numbers. If a child is only able to recite numbers in order, just like a heart-learned-poem, it by no means indicates the actual mathematical understanding of numbers. It is thus important, that once a child is able to count to 5 or 10, to shift focus from making that number bigger to making sure that a child can reliably count a small number of manipulatives and assign that quantitative sum to a numeral. Trust me, 1:1 correspondence is a much better indication of your child’s mathematical mastery than a long list of memorized numbers. And the best part, you can introduce 1:1 correspondence starting at an early age by modeling through real-life manipulative and hands-on DIYs. Invite your child to TOUCH each object and provide various hands-on invitations to count, by offering beads, buttons, loose items, blocks, Lego pieces, food items, etc. Make sure that experiences is fun and engaging in order to sustain curiosity and develop the love for numbers and math.
PINE CONE COUNTING
Roll the dice and count pine cones! Math can be mundane, especially for little ones, so I am trying to make counting hands-on and fun! This presentation is also a very concrete way to reinforce quantity to the numeral association. And, offer a tray filled with DIY rice to practice fine motor tracing skills!
“This number says 3” and “Here are three pine cones!” Also, encourage your child to trace the number in green-dyed rice to trigger tactile senses and offer multi-sensorial stimulation.
To make this DIY, simply cut a pine-tree shape out of green felt, gather some pine cones during nature walks and use a dice (optional). And a recycled champagne cork cut in half makes a perfect trunk. (If you don’t have felt, use green paper instead. If you don’t have green cardstock, use cardboard and color it green!) Download died rice recipe below.
STICK TREE Snowflake Count
For this DIY, you will need recycled cardboard and nature tree sticks. So, use this as an excuse and venture outdoors on a stick-hunt! Once collected, use a larger thicker stick as a trunk and hot glue the thinner ones as ‘branches.’ Then, punch snowflakes which you will be using as manipulatives/counters. (I am using glitter foam for extra sparkle!) Lastly, use numerals as a visual representation of numerical symbols. (These wooden numerals are part of my Hearts Play Dough Set ~ buy HERE.)
– hand-eye coordination
– 1:1 correspondence
– fine motor control
– numeral to quantity association
See HERE a LEAF variation of the STICK TREE.
Snowflake Q-TIP PAINTING
Another fun DIY to reinforce number formation and recognition is Q-TIP painting. Most importantly, you probably have all the materials handy at home! You will need recycled cardboard, white paint, and Q-tips. Position one Q-tip in the middle and six around it, secured by the rubber band, to resemble snowflakes’ hexagon shape.
Moreover, to turn this number recognition DIY into a fun hands-on 1:1 correspondence, just add punched out snowflakes and invite your child to match them to each numeral. Thus, besides learning proper number formation, number sequence, and 1:1 correspondence, your child is also learning numeral to quantity association while developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor control.
Despite what holiday you celebrate, who does not like a snowman ☃️ ! And if snow ❄️ is not in the forecast, here is a fun counting ⛄️DIY to reinforce 1:1 correspondence and quantity to the numeral association!
- cotton facial cleaning pads
- recycled caps either from water bottles or milk cartons
- a marker to write numerals
– hand-eye coordination
– 1:1 correspondence and numeral to quantity association
– RATIONAL counting
– fine motor control
This snowman counting activity a great tool to explore mathematical concepts through sensorial work! Let them TOUCH each snowman’s snow-ball as they COUNT aloud!
See HERE is a video LESSON ON SIMPLE ADDITION using counters.
Download Math Addition Worksheet
To embrace Montessori, you don’t need expensive materials. Using items around the house like felt, a ❄️puncher and a 🎲 dice can be a fun way to reinforce one-to-one correspondence and numeral to quantity association.
The goal of the Montessori primary program is to create a strong foundation of the numeral to quantity association or in other words 1:1 correspondence. HOW? Let them TOUCH each snowflake as they COUNT aloud! During this hands-on numeracy game, your child is developing hand-eye- coordination and advancing fine motor control, as well as learning simple addition and numeral to quantity association.
HOW: invite your child to roll the dice (it’s your first addend) and place the corresponding quantity of snowflakes on one side of the pine tree (demonstrate (3) snowflakes falling on the left). Then, roll the dice again to find out your second addend, and have (2) snowflakes fall on the right. Lastly, add both addends together (3 + 2) and record and trace the sum (5) in ‘snow.’ (You can use either salt or sugar as your tracing medium. I also lined the tray with tissue paper to give it a color pop.) Next, find the sum among the wooden numerals, and place them on a tree. “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” Thus, by seeing a number 5 as traced in a salt tray, and also as represented by snowflakes in its quantitative form, a child is able to make an abstract symbol concrete!
DIY COUNTING MACHINE
All you need are TPR and some counters. You don’t need to make them as tress or use apples. You can use pom poms, marbles, any winter counters if you wish, etc.
Skip all the items that might be choking hazards. So, you might have just a marshmallow bowl and invite Amira to practice letter formation. Use the PDF below. So she will use mini marshmallows to fill in the letters.
Here is a winter-inspired sensory bin filled with white rice, silver balls, and mini marshmallows. After having satisfied the sensory aspect of this invitation, I offered Adrian to spell his name with marshmallows. This is a very hands-on way to learn letter formation as well as the proper spelling of the child’s name. We are using a traditional Montessori Movable Alphabet (you can also use it with this mat) as a reference. Lastly, I added our DIY magnetic letters to the rice sensory bin and offered a DIY magnetic wand to “fish” out the wooden letters. (To make a DIY “fishing rod” we used a straw and a pipe cleaner and we glued a small magnet to the end. Tape paper clips to your wooden letters and offer your child to fish the letters out!) I made these letters and a magnetic wand for Christmas Magnetic ABC Fishing Activity. Also, see a similar activity here Christmas Magnetic DIY Water Beads Sensory Bin.
SNOW TRACING TRAY
Use white sugar for TASTE-SAFE alternative and practice pre-writing strokes and CMAT letters.
A major component of pre-writing skills is pre-writing shapes. These are the pencil strokes that most letters, numbers and early drawings are comprised of. They are typically mastered in sequential order, and to an age-specific level. These strokes include the following strokes: |, —, O, +, /, square, , X, and Δ. So, tracing and forming proper strokes (horizontal, vertical, and diagonal) has a positive effect on handwriting abilities, as tracing lines are the prerequisite to letter formation!
Here, I am using coarse salt to create a winter wonderland snowy tray to encourage tracing and sensory play! We are referencing Montessori Lower case cursive sandpaper letters. Smaller children can simply enjoy the texture of coarse salt while sensorially learning through play, while older can trace letters, numbers, shapes, pictures … possibilities are endless! Holding a pine branch can resemble holding a pencil, thus promoting proper pincer grip, however, the tracing shows very thin so Adrian prefers to use his hand instead!
Let’s review CMAT and continue the letter hunt. Give Amira a basket and invite HER to go around the house the find C – M – A – T. For example, one week is sound C. Next week is the next sounds, etc. I suggest doing 1 sound a week and rehearsing it periodically. If Amira knows CMAT, proceed to S-R-I-P. CHECKOUT LETTER SERIES POST HERE where I arranged the letters alphabetically for easier find.
In a Montessori language curriculum, alphabet letters are NOT first presented to a child in alphabetical order, like A, B, C, D etc. The idea is to introduce the letters phonetically (the way they sound) rather than by the name.
READ HERE a MEMBERS-ONLY: 6 Montessori Phonetical Sets
So, the phonetical grouping of certain consonants and vowels have proven to be very effective in allowing children to form quickly as many words as possible when learning the letter sounds. You can use traditional Montessori wooden Movable Alphabet or sandpaper letters, or foam, paper, or wooden letters you have handy to introduce these phonetical sets. Offer a child to go on a “letter-hunt” where s/he looks for objects that begin with each letter sound. (You can find more info in my eBook under Chapter 10: Language.) Read here the introductory post: Montessori Phonetical Order of presenting ABCs Alphabet letters.
Read here Montessori Three Period Lesson in Action using First Phonetical Set: c m a t.
C M A T
And above is a sample of the letter T hunt. Do vary your ‘hunts’ according to items you have around the house!
Let’s begin introducing the WORLD from large to small. Start by inviting Amira to fill the continents with play dough. You will need to print and laminate the MAP page and then offer color-matching play dough to fill each continent. PRECISION IS NOT REQUIRED! Even if she places a round blob of color matching play dough on the correct continent, it is enough. The activity aims to introduce the concept that in the Montessori cultural curriculum, all continents are color-coded which stays consistent throughout the curriculum. (Details under our EARTH DAY STUDY ~ PRIVATE ACCESS HERE)
Please also introduce the NAMES of the CONTINENTS (do not worry about the oceans for now). If you print the below PDF twice, you can cut off the label from the second set and turn them into Montessori 3 Part Cards. (Details on 3 Part Nomenclature Cards HERE.)
Please also introduce continents in Arabic.
SEE HERE AUSTRALIA STUDY
For CORAL REEF STUDY, see the sensory bin below. I used water-beads as water, seashells and coral reef Safari TOOB ~ get 15% OFF your SafariLTD order.
However, if Amira attempts to EAT them – WATER-BEADS ARE CHOKING HAZARD! Place them in ZIP LOCK BAG! See the Video below. You can also tape the bag to the table to prevent opening. Optional- add some hair gel for smoother sliding.
SEASONS UNIT STUDY HERE
PLEASE NOTE THE SEASONS PDF cards are editable, so you can translate to the language of your choice.
TREE STUDY~ ACCESS HERE
This might be too challenging for Amira, but if you fold it for her and use tissue paper which is thin, then invite her to make a few scissor cuts and see an awe in her eyes when you open it!
See here 📚Learning About Snowflakes Paper Craft
SEASONS TREE FINGER-PAINTING
Instructions under SEASONS UNIT STUDY HERE
See HERE details on this fun color mixing Art/Craft.
Try some color mixing. (This is a mixture of sensorial work too.) This can be done with a variety of materials from paint and food dye to play dough and clay. YOU CAN DOWNLOAD PRIMARY/SECONDARY COLOR PDF HERE. (I used dot stickers under the written colors ~see an example in a Capillary Action Walking Water post HERE.)
- Make green with yellow and blue
- Make orange with red and yellow
- Make purple with blue and red
- Make pink with red and white
- Make different shades by mixing white into other colors
See details HERE ~ it’s a really fun form of PROCESS ART.
Jan 31 ~ Backward Day
Color the craft sticks to resemble the HAIDA sticks of American Indians.
MAGIC MILK DETAILS HERE ~ don’t worry about the science behind and the surface tension!
Moreover, see here Magical Hydrogels •Kids Science Experiment Trick 101 Series
PLEASE NOTE WATER-BEADS are chocking hazard! Adult supervision is required!
Colorful SKITTLES SYEM Kids Science Experiment
Read here Rainbow Colorful Skittles Kids Water Science Experiment
Also, check out here Snow Volcano Eruption Science Experiment For Indoors & Outdoors.
You can use insta-snow to substitute for real one or use any of the DIY fake snow recipes from the SENSORIAL section.
See here Winter Favorite Reading Collection • Kids Books
Below are some of our favorite books from our Winter Favorite Reading Collection:
- The Mitten Book ~ our absolute Winter favorite book (buy here) ~ see a📎link to a blog post here and below
- The Hat book (buy here) ~ see a📎 link to a blog post here and below
- Ice Is Nice!: All About the North and South Poles, Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library (buy here),
- Winter, First Step Nonfiction (buy here)
- Winter Wonderland, Picture the Seasons (buy here) is an amazing book written by Winter with humorous text and gorgeous photography
- The Secret Life of a Snowflake book (buy here) ~ see a link to a blog post here and below
- The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice book (buy here)
- The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice (buy here)
See here The Mitten Book •Winter Favorite Reading Collection
See here The Hat Book Winter Favorite 📖Reading Collection.
Please, let me know which activity was Amira’s favorite? Before I update for the next month, I would love to know the progress: which activities were of interest and which not? Which were too hard/easy, etc. So if you would kindly put a summary once you have completed this plan, it will be very helpful in following Amira and making sure I am targeting the strengths and addressing the weaknesses.