Saturday, 29 May 2010

And the winner is....

First of all thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway and to my new followers.  Thank you for leaving such wonderful book suggestions.  I'm going to compile a list in a few days and post it for everyone.
So as for choosing a winner. I don't have the random number generator so I used the next best husband! He's knows next to nothing about my blog and asked what I was giving away!
Anyway he picked number 38(sorry the last comment didn't count as it was after the giveaway closed)

So the winner is Susan-Right now our favorite is Madeline and the Gypsies...of course that changes daily!

Congratulations Susan. Strange how things in life work sometimes as I just won a giveaway on her blog. When I counted up and found out it was her I was so surprised! I have your email already and will get in touch with you shortly.

Thanks again everyone and hope you all are having a great weekend!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Budding meteorologist

I finally got on board and decided to turn all of this rain into an activity.  We made our very own rain gauge.  It's very low tech and not very scientific but loads of fun.

First we got a wooden spoon and L marked off centimeters along the bottom and then I wrote on the numbers.

We used an old 2L bottle and I cut the top part off and turned it upside down to act as a funnel.  Then all you do is stick in your spoon and let it rain.

Our first attempt at this was disastrous.  We placed the rain gauge on the ground by some flowers and then went to bed.  In the morning while having breakfast Granny noticed something on the lawn.  It ended up being the wooden spoon that our dog Petra found and decided would be an excellent chew toy.  She'd also knocked over the bottle.  Luckily L was pretty philosophical about the whole thing and we went out and got another wooden spoon.  Now as you can see we keep it up where the dog can't get it!

Once L has measured the amount of rain she comes inside and finds the correct number among some numbers I've put in a small container.  She then counts out the corresponding number of rain drops and glues them on to her Rain Fall chart.

I have to say that although the forecast calls for rain all next week I'm hoping L doesn't have to use many of those raindrops!!

Just a reminder that this is the last day to enter my needle felted creation giveaway.  If you would like to enter just click here.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Rain, rain go away

We've been forced inside for most of the time these days as the heavens have opened and don't seem to want to stop. 
I took on the if you can't beat 'em join 'em attitude and asked L if she would like to do some water activities.  Has a kid ever said no to that question??

L never ceases to amaze me with her natural development.  She's been pouring her own water out of a small pitcher for about a year now but she never seemed to grasp the concept of stopping when the glass was full.  We've just been putting enough water in the pitcher to fill the glass.
The other day I decided she could use some practice at stopping.  Well she just poured out even amounts of water for all of us without even thinking about it.  What a lesson to remember when we are trying to push our children to do something.  Nature will take it's course and when they are ready it just "happens" with little or no effort for the child! Amazing!

We then moved on to trying to pour to a line.  This was so amusing to watch.  L got the concept but didn't quite stop in time.  My mom and I loved watching her extreme concentration!

I finally found a medicine dropper and Lwas fascinated.  She did this colored water transfer activity about four times in a row.
For all of these activities the set up was simple.  A tray to catch the spills and a cloth to clean them up. 

Just a reminder about my needle felted creations giveaway.  If you would like to enter please click here and leave a comment.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


So I was going to do a giveaway when I got to 100 followers but I was just too excited and couldn't wait that long!
So here it is.  All you have to do is choose one of these cute little felted creations and if you win I will send it to you!
So you have the choice of

Flopsy Bunny

This cute little penguin that L is holding
or this whole little felted family

There are a few things you can do to enter:
1. Follow Montessori Beginnings-just leave a comment with your choice and let me know you are a follower
2.  Blog/Twitter or Facebook about this giveaway
3.  Let me know what your favorite childrens book is(I saw this on Chasing Marcus and thought it was a great idea)
Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
I will ship to anywhere in the world so the giveaway is open to everyone.
The giveaway will close at midnight Friday May 28th and I will announce the winner on Saturday.  The winner will then have 48 hours to contact me with their email address.

Good luck!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Some of what we've been up to

After taking a small blogging break I'm back and ready to post.  It helps that the weather hasn't been very good so we've been doing more indoor activities.
One rainy day I filled these glasses with water and tuned them to the first five notes of L's xylophone.  L is really big into do, re, me etc from The Sound of Music.  Once she experimented with playing the glasses we matched do on the xylophone with do on the glasses as well as the other notes.  We talked about higher and lower pitches and I played a few tunes on the glasses for her.

I bought these pony beads to do some math activities and L asked to sort them.  Talk about a never ending task!  She stuck with it for quite a while.
After covering living/non-living and plants and animals we've moved on to classifying birds, insects and reptiles.  We talk about the different characteristics of each group and then she sorts them.
L has also been helping out a lot around the house.  Especially in the garden.  These two pics are switched around but here she is helping Granny put some clippings in the compost.  I have to say that L officially knows more about gardening than I do now!

Stay tuned for some more indoor activities and my upcoming giveaway!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Exploring our new home

Now that the weather is really nice we've "shelved"  Montessori shelf activities for a while and taken the opportunity to explore our new home.  Instead we've been doing more I guess what you would call life school.
L has been really enjoying playing in her new sandbox practicing pouring, digging, sieving, burying and many other things.  Talk about the ultimate sensory box!  Adding water is always fun as well!

We've also been spending tons of time at the beach.  Experimenting with what sinks or floats in the ocean, learning about shells, sand dollars and crabs.  Making towers out of flat beach rocks and playing in the water with friends.  Watching the tide come in and wash away our sandcastle villages.  This is what life is all about : )

L has also been helping Granny water the plants every night and taking care of our vegetable garden.  Learning the hard way that we aren't the only ones who like lettuces!
I know that this "break" has been good for both of us but I also know that I can't go too long without making up an activity or two ; )
I've also been enjoying reading all of your posts and am excited to try out some of the great activities you've all been doing with your kiddos!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Color Blending

We've been talking about color blending lately and doing lots of fun activities.
The first one was the along the same idea as the butterflies using coffee filters but this time L just used two primary colors on each. (This works best if you use one color on top of the other)

Then she sprayed them and voila a new color. 
I saw this next idea on The Wonder Years ages ago.  We put a few drops of food coloring into three glasses for each primary color.  We then put one in front of the other and presto a new color appears.  This color blending stuff is just like magic!
After we were finished with the water we poured each color into two small containers and froze them.  The next day we put them together into some glass bowls with a bit of warm water and L stirred them up.  Once again the magic happened and this time it was so obvious.  You could see the two different primary colored ice cubes plus the new secondary color in the water.  Super cool and fun.  Once the ice cubes were melted L poured the water into one bowl and found it made black.

As well as using water colors to practice blending I cut out these tissue paper circles.  They are so beautiful in the sun and such an obvious example of what happens when two primary colors are put together!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Reviews and Giveaways

Just to let you know that I will be doing an upcoming review for a product from CSN stores.  I think they have contacted several bloggers to do the same recently.  When I checked them out I realised they sell almost everything you can imagine online.  From educational toys to track lighting!
There is a giveaway right now for a gift certificate from CSN over at Chasing Marcus for you to check out.

Also to celebrate the fact that I almost have 100 followers I will also be doing a giveaway of my own soon.  So please stay tuned!

Friday, 7 May 2010

The Joy of Music

As a classical musician music used to be my life.  Before I had L I made my living playing with a symphony orchestra and teaching flute, piccolo and piano to students of all ages.  Now I have a daughter instilling the pure joy and love of music in her is one of my top priorities. 
Not only can making and listening to music be joyful but it also helps development in many other areas. 
Here is an excerpt from The Benefits of Using Music with Young Children by Gari Stein

Literally Speaking: How Music Supports the Development of Reading Skills
• Children with a strong sense of beat are more likely to read well.
• Music stimulates all the senses, helping children learn to recognize patterns and sequence.
• Early music exposure helps children learn by promoting language, creativity, coordination, social interaction, self-esteem and memory.
• Singing games support children’s need to socialize and play, instead of “pre-academic” skills.
• Music helps “wire” the brain, supporting a higher level of thinking.
I thought some of you may be interested in what L and I have done together and also what I do in my preschool/toddler music class.

Melissa and Doug Band in a Box

Since the day L was born I was constantly singing to her and making up songs about what we were doing.  Every time I would get her dressed I would sing "you put your left leg in you put your left leg out" etc.  We would listen to all types of music and dance around the house.
Once L got old enough to hold things we got her some little shakers to experiment with on her own and also with music playing.  For her first birthday she was given the Melissa and Doug Band in a Box.  We had such great family times playing these instruments with different world music with all types of rhythms and instruments.  Right from the beginning I told her the correct names of the instruments and showed her how to play them properly and with respect.  We have also learned about all of the instruments of the orchestra and she can now point out different instruments she hears when listening to music.
Here are a few games we play together now L is a bit older.
  • L hides behind the couch and I play an instrument.  She has to tell me which one I'm playing(this is easy for her) then we switch
  • L loves to sing as much as I do and we always change up the words of the songs to make jokes or make them appropriate to what we are doing at the time.  This is hilarious and she is much better at it than I am.  She now makes up her own songs and teaches them to the rest of us!
  • Clapping words.  We've been doing this for a while now.  It is great practice for later reading and understanding how words are constructed.
  • I'm also slowly introducing L to playing the piano.  Once we've progressed a bit more I'll do a post about it if anyone is interested.
The music class that I teach has children ages 20 months to 3 1/2.  Here are some of the things I have been doing with them.
  • We also start every class clapping our names.  The older ones have gotten really good at this and we've moved on to other words.  Some popular ones are watermelon and hippopotamus!
  • We use different animal puppets to act out and sing along to songs like Old McDonald and Slippery Fish
  • The children play percussion instruments and we sing a song where they play them fast, slow, loud and soft.  We also sing a song where we name the instruments the different children are playing and allow them to play a solo so we can all hear what the instrument sounds like.
  • They play instruments along with the piano and when I stop they all have to stop.  This is great fun and as the lessons progress the children get really good at it.  Even the little ones.
  • I've also just introduced some wind/blowing instruments such as recorders,harmonicas,whistles and kazoos.  The children have started repeating simple rhythms that I play on a recorder.
  • Along with the regular action songs we sing Down By the Bay.  To start off we all sit on the floor and slap our thighs, first the right then the left creating a beat.  When we've got that going we start the song.  This is a great way for children to learn about rhythm.  L does this with many songs she sings, keeping a perfect beat even in the rests.
  • The ever popular dancing ribbons.  So easy to do and so much fun.  Just tape a length of ribbon to a Popsicle stick or something similar.  Put on your favorite music and move your ribbon in circles, zig zags, figure eights and whatever else you can think of.
These are just a few fun and easy activities that the children love.  If anyone is interested in more of what we do just let me know.  Happy music making : )

The Montessori Goldmine

I'm sure most of you have already heard about this but it's worth a mention again on here anyway.   The Montessori Goldmine is a new blog/resource created by Jojoebi.  A great place to find other bloggers posts on anything Montessori.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

End of Nature Challenge

I have to admit I'm kind of glad this Children in Nature Awareness challenge has come to an end.  I'm so happy we did it and it really did make me realise how important it is to get out every day.  I'm just happy that I don't have to worry about bringing my camera everywhere and I also realised I'm a bit of a fairweather nature lover : ) I started to get a bit slack on the last week so here are some highlight pics.

This little guy was a bit more shy than our little snail.  L said ohh I better get him a nice juicy leaf!
We planted some of our garden.  I was like mommy-razi and took about a gazillion pics!(You're lucky you just got two here!hehe)
We finally got a brilliant day and headed down to the beach for a picnic.
Look at me I found a sand dollar! Bliss!
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