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.

Making Weather Words

This is probably my favorite activity from this month.  I got the idea from Counting Coconuts and made it my own.

One of the most amazing Montessori materials (in my humble opinion) is the Moveable Alphabet.  When your child is ready to start working with forming words, beginning sounds, ending sounds and so much more this is an excellent tool to use with your child.  We don’t yet have a Moveable Alphabet, so I thought this idea of using PlayDoh letter stamps was a great way to begin to teach Carter a few of the weather words from this month.

The materials were pretty simple to bring together.  I found the PlayDoh backpack locally, and it includes the letters, numbers and 4 tubs of PlayDoh.  I gave him a few days to play and explore with all the materials before bringing the letters over for this activity.  I printed my own word cards using free clip art from the internet.  This has been a big hit with Carter.  He will literally sit and make word after word, which takes a good bit of time and concentration.  I’m seeing him sound out the word as he ads each letter.

Enjoy and thank you for your comments!

March Language and Pre-Writing Materials

Water Cycle Mini-Book

I love this little book for Carter!  It follows the journey of a raindrop throughout the water cycle.  We started reading it once a day this past Saturday.  When it began raining yesterday he made the connection and said, “I guess the water got too heavy to stay in the cloud.”  That one innocent sentence out of my son’s mouth is just a small example of what makes all this worth it to me.  It’s the “thanks” that he would never think to say on his own.

I printed this book from the weather unit on KidsSoup, cut it apart, made a front and a back cover out of construction paper, got it laminated, punched holes and used book rings to hold it all together.  |Let me just insert here a little promo for KidsSoup – yes, it requires a membership fee.  But, it’s $25/year, which boils down to just over $2/month.  That is peanuts for all you get: printable activities, mini-books, art ideas, book ideas, poetry.  If I were to put Carter in Montessori school, it would cost $400/month.  For that, I can do a lot for a lot less (considering I work for free!).|

 

Pre-Writing Sheets

Before children can write, they must first build the muscles in their fingers.  They do this through coloring, tracing, gripping a writing tool and manipulating small objects.  These weather-themed sheets were printed from KidsSoup and ask Carter to trace the raindrops and umbrellas in the first one and to trace the letters of the color words in the second (in the correct color, which Carter didn’t do the first time, as you can see).  Rather than printing multiples copies for repeat use, I had them laminated.  Carter can write on them and then wipe it off to do again later.

 

Matching - Weather and Clothing

These Matching cards were printed from KidsSoup, but I later found a free version based on the seasons from Montessori for Everyone that I like even better.  I love that they always use photographs of real images rather than illustrations.  Many of their materials are on my Wish List!

Enjoy and thank you for your comments!