April Sensory Materials

Have you ever enjoyed taking off your shoes and walking in the grass?  Or sitting on the beach running your hands through the sand?  An easy and inexpensive way to engage your child’s senses and exploration is through an individual sensory tub.  One of the key elements in a Montessori environment is a child’s exposure to sensorial experiences, those things which engage the senses in a way that allows them to explore and discover the world around them.

This month I tried my first sensory tub.  It’s meant to be like a mini garden for Carter to explore.

Our tub contains:  a variety of dried beans (large and small limas, black eyed peas, black beans), sunflower seeds, smooth stones, mini terra cotta pots, plastic flowers and greenery and a butterfly.  I added tongs and a small rake for him to “cultivate” his garden.  

It’s been a big hit so far.  He has to show his garden to everyone who visits.

I also made sound eggs for Carter to match up.  Inside the eggs are: kosher salt, mini beads, pony beads, large buttons and google eyes.  He spreads them out on the table, locates matches by shaking the eggs and puts them back into the carton after the matches are found.

Enjoy and thank you for your comments!

Writing in the Sand

April begins our new study of plants, flowers and things that grow!  Carter caught me switching out materials last night, so he woke up ready to go this morning.  I did manage to get him to finish half of his breakfast before we dove into the first activity.

He first chose the sand tray.  I can’t say that I blame him.  Though it was so simple to make, the feeling of drawing in the sand is such a peaceful and relaxing one. I had to play with it for a bit last night.  I used an aluminum baking tray (the size meant for toaster ovens) and some superfine craft sand that I had laying around from my artsy crafty days.

I introduced the sand tray to Carter by showing him that letters can be formed in the sand using our fingers.  I watched him draw letters and make up words: CEET=SEAT.  When his finger turned into a racecar and began to make roads through the sand, I took that as my cue that he was ready to move forward.

Next, I used some leftover card stock from my cutting adventures (which you will see the results of throughout the month in various activities) to make some short words and simple pictures for him to use with the sand tray.  Be sure to stick with short words, unless you have a BIG tray.  And, I am a fan of computer generated ANYTHING, but it’s also important that you model drawing and writing for your child often.  This is one way.

And, I wanted to share something from yesterday evening.  While I was making dinner, Carter pulled out an activity from the past.  As you can see, I had already began to reuse the construction paper for other things, so I’d marked the place setting paper off his interests.  But last night he brought it back out for the purpose of a snack party with some of his fluffy friends.

But then, sometimes walking around with a cool box on your head is more fun than anything!  I couldn’t help but think about the movie Parenthood with Steve Martin.  (They made fun of his child for walking around with a box on his head.)

Enjoy and thanks for your comments!

This activity can also be seen on One Hook Wonder’s Montessori Monday.

March Sensorial, Science and Art Materials

Spring I Spy Bottle

Of all the materials that I created for this month, this one is my favorite by far.  And, it’s proven to be Carter’s favorite as well.  When we visited the Montessori school in our area, one of the directors sat with Carter and a huge I Spy bottle while we observed the classes.  I saw then how much he enjoyed discovering the tiny objects inside.

The I Spy Bottle is really simple to make.  First, I dyed rice by putting some in a ziplock bag with a capful of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring.  Shake it around in the bag until all of the rice is covered, then pour it out on wax or parchment paper to dry.  Make sure it dries fully or you’ll get rice clumps in your bottle.  I found the mini bugs and flowers in the scrapbook section of my local craft store.  These are actually buttons, which don’t work as well as using pieces that are the same on both sides.

To complete the activity, Carter rolls and shakes the bottle until he finds one of the objects on the board.  When he does, he marks it with a button.  You can see the pdf of my game board if you would like a close-up of the objects that were in the bottle.

Puzzles

These two puzzles are also a big hit.  The kite can be printed for free from abcteach.  The rainbow was a template that I printed off of KidsSoup and laminated, though it really wouldn’t be terribly difficult draw it out and make it without a template.

Coloring Sheets

I am not a huge fan of coloring sheets and I really wouldn’t put them in the Art category.  To me, they are more of a pre-writing activity.  Whatever you call them, they are the easiest material to provide.  Simply search for Umbrella Coloring Sheet…or whatever you would like to find.  DLTK also has a LOT of free printables.

Enjoy and thank you for your comments!

*For those interested, I updated the Language Materials with one of the activities that I left off.