Thursday, 24 September 2009

Some new activities for L

Here are some of the things that L has been doing.

This is one of her favorite games. I think almost every animal she possesses is on it's home continent here! I tell her where they go and she puts them on, although she knows quite a few of them herself. Especially the koala bear. He has the honor of being the first animal on every time. L knows Australia and North America (because that's where Canada is) and is becoming more familiar with the other continents but still doesn't 100% know them. You can see she's also put some of her dolls on. Her two favorites always live in Canada and the Cuba dolly from her uncle obviously lives in South America.

I also made up this hammering activity

which lasted for three golf tees and then she just gave up on the hammer and put them in with her hands. Fair enough. She brings this one out quite a bit and sorts them differently every time.

L has shown a real interest in numbers and counting lately so I've been slowly introducing the written numbers to her. I've been too lazy to make sand paper numbers so have used these ones from a card game we have. Here she is sorting them into piles and is supposed to be saying them as she sorts them. She still gets confused some times and I find it really interesting that she is having a much harder time remembering the numbers than she did with her phonics. Maybe it's because the numbers aren't in any context whilst every time I introduce a new phonic sound it comes with three pictures with the same sound for her to latch onto.

OK I have to admit I've formed quite an attachment to these little tropical frogs. Expect to be seeing them pop up in many future posts. Here is a counting activity where she puts the frogs on the dots on the lillypads and counts them. I sit with her for this and make sure she is on the right track as counting objects is still really new to her.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Yes more puzzles!

Check out this beautiful boot fair find! A 52 piece floor puzzle of endangered species. Only £1. It's great when I love doing something over and over as much as L does.

We also found a 100 piece continents with animals puzzle which is really challenging(for us!) It's definitely a family puzzle. Daddy and I were trying to sort the pieces when we looked over and L had already put most of Africa together(and us to shame!)

Consumer Cycle

Saturday was the last of our birthday bonanza for a while, although we do have another one in a couple of weeks. Having been to four children's birthday parties in the last week I've made a few observations. I couldn't help sharing about what I've seen and what I think.

First of all I have to say that I love birthday parties. L and I had such a great time at all of them and I'm looking forward to the ones we get invited to in the future. It is so lovely to see L playing with her friends and enjoying all of the activities.

The thing is, you didn't have to look very far to see the stack of presents sitting in the room. Now don't get me wrong I don't have a problem with little ones(or big ones) getting gifts for their birthday's. When I was a kid it was one of the best things about my birthday but I think it's more the quality and the quantity that I was amazed at. Looking around I realised that each of these children already had a pile of toys before they'd even opened their new of gifts.

I did a small inventory of things that L's friends have. At least three of them have large plastic kitchens, large plastic play houses or plastic climbing frame/slides and all of them have a minimum of one plastic ride on toy. These are the big items. Then there are the stacks and stacks of plastic, beepy, flashy lighty things. Now I imagined all of the other children across the country getting similar gifts for their birthdays and was overwhelmed by the huge mountain of plastic that was forming in my imagination. Except that it's not just in my imagination! It's real and it's happening all the time. What I want to know it what is going to happen to all of these millions and billions of new toys after the children grow out of them? Sure a few may get recycled but the majority?

When I first had the idea of making treasure bottles for gifts I wasn't sure how they would go over. It turns out that they were very popular and very original. I felt happy to know that other than a few new items that I bought for the treasures everything else was recycled or recyclable. This brings me back to the topic of an older post about Consuming kids. I've just seen some truly blatant examples of us training our children to be like this. These kids are only two and already they are being bombarded with hundreds of plastic toys, most of them branded with some cartoon figure. I sure wish I was part of Peppa Pig's family because from what I've seen they must be rolling in it! (money that is not mud :)

Anyway all of this being said I don't really have any answers other than just trying to do my bit. I have trained most of L's relatives on Montessori gift giving and will continue to give homemade gifts. L's birthday is coming up and although I have my eye on some cool new Montessori materials for her we will be steering well clear of Peppa and her friends!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Working with a mat

A little while ago Gypsy made a comment and suggested that I post about L using a mat. So here it is...
To be honest I never really thought about it until Gypsy brought it up. When I got to thinking I realised that L actually uses four mats! Her work mat(for table activities), floor mat, place mat and play dough mat for messy work. That's a lot of mats! Obsessive? Me? Maybe.

As far as getting L to use a work mat I have to admit there was no forethought in it whatsoever. The first book I read on the Montessori Method was David Gettman's Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under Fives. In his book he outlines the activities and talks about the use of a work mat. So I just started L with a table work mat from the introduction of the very first activity. (This was at about 15 months) Once I finally made it to Ikea and found a floor mat I introduced that one as well.

I think that if you start little ones with something from the beginning they don't know any different. L is used to getting her mat before doing an activity. Sometimes I will remind her but she knows to get it right away. I really like using them because they define her work space and show her that she is doing her "work" and not just playing or messing about.

L does have certain activities that she can do anywhere, like her lacing beads and opening jars but in general she uses a work mat for everything. So much so that when my Aunt came to visit and they were going to do her fishing activity together L got out her floor mat first to lay it out on!

I still help her lay out and fold up the floor mat and she puts it back onto her shelf. Once we move to Canada I will look for a mat that we can roll up and then introduce rolling to her. I find it a bit odd but L has always remembered where everything goes and the exact name of every activity so it makes things a lot easier. If I first introduce an activity on the floor she will do it on the floor every time.

I would suggest for people who haven't used mats and want to start introducing them with the activities to just choose a new activity and when you introduce it just add the mat in as a step in the activity. Then for every new activity just put the mat step at the beginning. I'm not sure if this is the correct thing to do but it works well for us. I would love to hear other people's opinions.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

We love this one....

This is the set up for....
Five little speckled frogs sat on a speckled log

eating some most delicious grubs (yum yum)
One jumped into the pool

where it was nice and cool

then there were four little speckled frogs(glub glub)

dry them off and do it again!

Once we're done we pour the water back into the bottle and put the lid on.

L and I have both fallen in love with her little tropical frogs and always play with them so I set up this activity. We do it together because of the water component(okay and also becuase I like it so much :) I switched from the sponge in the initial set up to an old face cloth so it was easier to wipe the frogs and the table. At the moment this activity is on her shelf but luckily the bottle has a safety cap so she has to come to me to open it. She is also wearing an old top but in the future she will wear an apron or bib.

Friday, 11 September 2009

A visit from GAS and GUS

The other day L's Great Auntie S and Great Uncle S came for a visit. We refer to them as GAS and GUS for short. Rather unfortunate acronym for my aunt but the rest of us think it's hilarious! L gets so excited when they come over and has a fabulous time showing them all of her activities and puzzles. We got out the continents mat and had a fun time putting all of her animals on their home countries. We also went out for a lovely walk and L got to ride on GUS's shoulders but she was really riding an elephant!

My aunt picked up this second hand fractions puzzle for L and she can't get enough of it. It's such a novelty because it's new but also because it's from her special GAS! (hee hee)

Birthday Pressies

Our week of birthday parties begins tomorrow and we finally finished all of the presents. I decided to make treasure bottles for the kiddos. They are all turning two and I know how much L loves her treasure bottle so I hope they go over well. I'm so happy with these because L got to make them herself.
From coloring the rice
to pouring it into the bottles (mommy way overloaded the measuring cup!)

to adding the treasures

and I got to test out my new laminator for the first time! Woo hoo!

Monday, 7 September 2009


L seems to have gotten herself into a routine in the mornings. After breakfast and before she gets dressed she gets out her animal and truck puzzles on her floor mat and does all 8 of them. She puts them around her mat and dances around them all! She then puts them away (singing the song) and gets out her African animal puzzles to do on her table.

There are five twelve piece puzzles and she can now do three of them all by herself and two with only some verbal help. That's 13 puzzles in a row every morning. Talk about really being into puzzles!!

I got out the shapes puzzles again and she now does them all at the same time. She has a bit of trouble with the triangles because they are homemade and not uniform.

I'm out looking for more puzzles now but it's really hard to find ones that don't have Disney characters or Dora the Explorer! Hopefully I'll find some at the next boot fair.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Birthday overload

L has been invited to four of her friends birthday parties all in the next week and a half! So we've been hard at work making cards and pressies for them all. Here are the cards.

I gave her each of the colors separately so it wouldn't turn into a brown mess. We used acrylic paint which I find easy to wash off of skin as long as it doesn't get on clothes.

Now for a little sponge painting to finish them off and

Viola! Four original L cards for her little friends!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Sticker book

Some people have been asking about the sticker book. I found it at TK Max for £3.99 but you can get it from the website and it is called 1000 Stickers. Older kids can use the book as is but I'm sticking them all to cardboard to use for different activities.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Land, Water and Air

While looking for a new puzzle for L I found an AMAZING sticker book. Over 1000 stickers of everything you could possibly imagine. When I saw it my eyes glazed over thinking of all of the classification activities we could do!

This is the first one we started with. Land, water and air (sky). I put the stickers onto cardboard and then cut them out. I painted this scene onto some cardboard and put it into a wooden box that we had. L loves this activity and since yesterday has brought it out four times. I'm not sure why but she always wants to put the wombats into the tree! We've settled on them living at the bottom of the tree!

Once she gets tired of this one I'll introduce the basics of mammals, birds, insects and reptiles!

Happy birthday to me!!

Okay my birthday isn't really for another month and a bit but.... I found my birthday present already. Some women want shoes, some want jewelry, others want massages (well that would be nice) what do I want more than anything? A laminator!! That's right thanks to Montessori my priorities are a little different now! ha ha. The other day I was in the craft store and low and behold the laminators were on sale reduced from £57 to £19.99. I just couldn't pass that one up. My husband is happy because he doesn't have to worry about my birthday present now.

Of course now that I have this laminator I'm a bit like a kid in a candy shop. I can't decide what to laminate first. I don't want to use up all of my laminating pouches on just anything! I'm sure you'll be seeing it put to use in future posts. : )
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