Montessori materials can be 💰costly, so I love finding an alternative or creating DIY extensions. Below I will show you some of the DIYs I have created to substitute some of the materials you would generally purchase.
🌈Rainbow🙈Hide & Seek ABC
Another 🌈colorful fun rainbow 🍚rice idea is to hide letters in 🍚and offer your child a 🙈blindfold to find each letter and sensorially feel the letter and try to figure out 🤔what the letter is, developing the tactile sense of touch✋🏻(To make 🌈rice, simply add few squirts of vinegar to dry rice in a ziplock, shake and let dry.) We are using these alphabet letters and cards.
Do you have any 🍝pasta that is passed its expiration date? So, why not put it to use by creating this colorful fine motor activity! Start by cooking the pasta according to the instructions. Once fully cooked, add the desirable food coloring in a separate ziplock and shake it for a few minutes until the color absorbs fully; then offer your child to exercise scissor skills by✂️cutting the pasta. And once the pasta is dried, offer a wide eye-needle and make it a perfect threading activity!
This is a super fun DIY to teach your child colors and math. Julia drew a rainbow using firm pastel color sticks on a pastel paper and then wrote numbers one through seven on each rainbow ray. Adrian then had to place the corresponding quantity and color of dot stickers on each ray. This math sensorial color matching activity will facilitate learning number recognition and sequencing, numeral to quantity association and color matching.
Montessori language approach is based very much on the tactile assimilation of material, just like when the child starts to trace sandpaper numbers and letters at around the age of two. This DIY is a very fun and colorful sensory tracing tray where your child can learn proper tracing directions hands-on. I lined up a try with a white paper and poured rainbow rice (don't pour too much as you would want the white paper to show as color pop). Then offer your child to trace letters (we are using these alphabet letters and cards) or numbers. [To make colored rice: simply pour few squirts of vinegar to a dry rice in a ziplock and add the desired food coloring, shake and let dry.] We like to refer to Montessori: Letter Work for proper tracing directions.
Intro to Montessori 💚Green Series
Montessori Language curriculum follows "PBG Scheme" ~ that is a “Pink-Blue-Green" Series approach, where the child progresses very gradually as s/he is first introduced to three CVC letter words in 💗PINK Series, then blends (st, bl, pr...) in 💙 BLUE Series, and finally learning digraphs (sh, th, ch, oi...) in 💚 GREEN Series. This is a very easy DIY intro to digraphs such as -ea, -o..e, -or, -ue and so on. I used paint samples from a local hardware store, and these wooden circles, which I primed with clear nail polish first, to prevent Sharpie marker from bleeding ~ that is spreading through the wood. You can cut the paint samples and offer a child to put the words together or offer to letter-match using DIY pegs, which I also primed with clear nail polish and wrote blue vowels and red consonants.
"sh" Consonant Digraph ~ 💚Green Series
See here "sh" Consonant Digraph ~ Montessori Language 💚Green Series
DIY Washi Tape Shapes
This is a super fun DIY to teach your child shapes. All you need is washi tape and scissors. Trace different shapes on a piece of paper and offer your child to cover the outlines with washi tape. Count the sides and discuss each shape's distinctive characteristics such as a triangle having three sides and three angles which need not be the same or a square which must have four identical sides and angles.
DIY Geoboard • 🔨MAKE 4+yo,🖐🏻PLAY 1.5+yo
Do you have small cutting boards which you can spear? (Smaller ones tend to be softer.) What about any wooden board? (We are using boards Adrian breaks during his Taekwondo classes). So, put those boards to use and make a DIY geoboard. All you need is a ruler, a pencil, a child-sized hammer (from this set), push pins and rubber bands. Children (👦🏼4 yo & 👧🏻8 yo) had so much fun 🔨 making these!
Our wooden board size is about 5 x 5 inches. Using a ruler, children marked where they would hammer the pins in ~ about an inch apart. Once the board was ready, I offered Adrian to make letters while referring to this wooden Alphabet set. Here, Adrian made "A" for 👦🏼Adrian with rubber bands. You can also make 2D shapes, or offer children to 🍃🌸Nature weave and so much more! This activity can be offered to children as young as 1.5 yo + and it's great for developing fine motor control and improving 🖐🏻 finger dexterity and increasing hand strength! "Dexterity helps fingers and hands to coordinate for completing fine tasks like writing, sewing, and playing string instruments." So put those little hands to use!
If you don't have time to make a geoboard, buy one here.
See more about Tap & Tack set here ~ in a post "Educational Materials, 📚Books and Toys 🎥 Review."
♻️Recycled 🔴 ➕🔵Dot Stickers ✂️DIY Making 🔟s
Do you have leftover sheets from dot stickers? Well, put them to use with this super easy DIY making 10s activity. Simply cut a rectangle of ten used-up stickers (it is two rows of five), peel of the back and adhere to a white paper. Now, offer your child to fill the ten-dot-rectangle with different combinations of two colors of stickers making ten. We are also using a traditional Montessori Addition Strip Board to reinforce the understanding of addends~ any of the numbers that are added together ~making a sum of ten. I also introduced the term "commutative" ~ meaning that the addends can "commute" ~ travel switching sides, and the sum, will not change. Please, emphasize that commutative property ~ in mathematics, a binary operation is commutative if changing the order of the operands does not change the result ~ applies to addition and not subtraction. We are also referring to 1 2 3 Count with Me (Trace-and-Flip Fun!), which an amazing book to teach your child proper number tracing!
See here a video of Adrian working with Montessori Addition Strip in action ~ in a post ➕Addition Strip Board (Montessori 🔢 Math 🎥 Lesson).
DIY Hungry 🐊Alligator <>
This is a quintessential "Hungry Alligator" math activity to teach a child Greater Than ~ Less Than. We are using Montessori Sandpaper Numbers, marbles, a laminated sheet with equations, and a Montessori Hundreds Board to reinforce number sequencing and recognition.
An alligator's snout resembles the Greater ~ Less sign and since our alligator is VERY hungry, he would always want to eat the side that has more!
This activity is perfect for preschoolers as it is very concrete, allowing children to easily assess which number is greater than the other.
DIY Craft Sticks Shapes
Learning shapes with this invitation to create a shape from DIY magnetic craft sticks. This will take you less than five minutes to set up, or, why not offer your child to match the magnets and adhere them to craft sticks. We are using these jumbo wooden craft sticks and these flexible magnets 3/4" round disc with adhesive backings. As a reference, we are using geometry Montessori Metal Insets (buy original here or plastic here or metal but without stands here). As an extension, offer your child to match the color of each shape to tablets from Montessori Color Tablets Box.
🍡Craft Sticks 🐞Counting DIY
How about this super easy craft sticks DIY to promote fine motor control, color recognition, and 2️⃣numeral to 🐞🐞quantity association. We did it in a ladybug theme, but you can skip the embellishment part and just have simple colored pegs matching. How: place the corresponding amount of dot stickers on each craft stick and have a child match same color and quantity of pegs to each craft stick.
Craft Sticks 2️⃣5️⃣🔟Skip Counting
Another use for craft sticks is to learn to skip count. Simply write numbers on craft sticks and offer your child, using mini clothespins, to cover numbers accordingly, skip-counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s.
Magnetic Wand and DIY Pom Pom Sorting Activity
How about a pom pom sensory bin filled with magnetic rainbow circles and a magnetic wand to fish the circles out and color-sort on DIY paint swabs from a local hardware store! Take this opportunity and discuss magnetic vs non-magnetic while the child patiently fishes out the circles, color discriminates and sorts to matching paint samples.
✂️DIY ♻️Recycled 📦 Cardboard Apple 💻Laptop
See here How To ✂️Make Apple 💻Laptop For Kids From 📦Cardboard
First, the child learns the shape of the number by making it from a pipe cleaner, then through the sense of ✋🏻touch, the child reinforces numeral vs quantity association by counting pom poms. See the behind the scenes 📽video of 👧🏻Julia (8 yo) making this DIY ♻️Recycled 📦 Cardboard 🔢Numbers & Counters ✋🏻for 👦🏼her little brother, Adrian💞 here.
Are you tired of constantly buying trays and storage boxes! Well, egg- cartons are just awesome for storing and sorting small objects. Here, I have labeled different seeds and grains to study its nutrient and vitamin value. See our 🌱🌼Botany Unit Study here.
♻️DIY Movable 🔡Alphabet
🎉Happy 🌞Summer Solstice! Today, we are making DIY Montessori Movable 🔡Alphabet from ♻️recycled 🍾 bottle caps! Just use dot stickers and write letters on them with a Sharpie. Also, in a Montessori language curriculum, vowels are color-coded 💙blue and consonants ❤️red for easier identification. (Buy Montessori Movable Alphabet here.) You can also offer your child to spell his/her name, count how many letters are in the name, make sentences and so forth. We are also using Montessori Colored Globe to explain the tilt of the Earth's axis and why we have seasons and why today, June 21st is the longest day of the year.
DIY ❄️🌸🌳🍁Seasons Trees
Offer a child a spoon to fill the bottle caps with corresponding colored rice: white for winter, pink for spring, green for summer and orange for fall. We also used Montessori Movable Alphabet to spell out the names of the season. Fine motor, literacy, spelling and a geography and botany lesson all in one!
🐞Ladybug 🔢Counting ~ Montessori Math
This is a super easy ♻️recycled 🔢math bottle caps DIY. You would offer your child to place the corresponding number of 🐞ladybugs (counters/quantity) on a DIY bottle cal flower and match with the correct number of Montessori beads.
See how to make colored rice here 🎩Leprechaun 🍀Land DIY 🌀Hydro-Gels 💚Colored Rice 🙌🏻 Sensory Bin. (In a nutshell: vinegar + food coloring.) After the rice is ready, spread some mod podge on a clear plastic top (ours is from oatmeal) and sprinkle the rice over completely covering the plastic cap. We then colored the popsicle stick with tempera paints which are amazing! dry in 90 seconds, and using a glue gun secured the popsicle to the plastic top (make sure to press into the rice to bond). Then, using a glue gun again, adhere leaves and glue the bottles caps to each other resembling a flower petals.
Montessori Math emphasizes numeral (e.g. number 3) to 🐞🐞🐞quantity association so that the concept of numbers is less abstract for a younger child. Visually, a child can see that the number three is small and while the number ten is big!
COUNTING BY 🖐🏻+🖐🏻5s & 10s
Counting by 🔟s. Each set of 🙌🏻hands is printed on a different color cardstock to emphasize that two hands with five fingers each ( 🖐🏻+🖐🏻) make a total of ten. You may download the hands-template here. Montessori 💯Hundred board and Montessori beads (buy a set of colored units here and golden bead bars of ten here) offer a visual and quantitative help, which makes it much easier for a little one to conceptualize an abstract mathematical concept.
DIY Color Matching + Fine Motor Pegging
This DIY resembles matching Montessori Color Tablets ~ similar to Color Box 2 ~ a traditional Sensorial material introduced to toddlers starting at 2 ½ years old.
With this activity, besides simply matching color samples from your local hardware store, offer your child to practice fine motor skills by matching colored clothespins and also graduating pegs in order from smallest to largest or vice versa. And if you have plain wooden pegs, just color them either with Sharpies (what we used) or use tempera stick paints which are awesome too!
To learn more about Montessori 🌈Color Boxes, read here a detailed post with presentations on boxes one through three on my blog Montessori Color Box 1, 2 & 3 (Color tablets).
DIY Montessori Sandpaper Numbers:
Montessori Sandpaper Numbers are very easy DIY.
What you will need:
- green cardstock to resemble the traditional Montessori Sandpaper Numbers,
- scissors (children are also using a paper cutter for more precision),
- and a glue stick.
Having your child make or help you make these DIY Sandpaper Numbers will definitely ignite the excitement, promoting interest and engagement.
By sensorily feeling the number, the child is able to perceive the symbol through senses other than just visual. For more on Sandpaper Numbers, see here 🖐️Sandpaper 🔢 Numbers (Montessori 🔢 Math 101 🎥 Series 🎇 Curriculum).
Do you have an old magazine? Recycled old books? Expired calendars? How about turning them into homemade DIY puzzles!
Cut out a picture, laminate it (if you don't have a laminating machine iron works great too) and cut it in as many pieces as you think your child can handle. For smaller children, just cut a picture in half; for older in quarters or even eighths.
And why not turn this ♻️RECYCLED ✂️DIY puzzle into a 🐋matching animals game!
See here DIY 🍂Fall Inspired Puzzle.
I am using a double-sided 🍂Fall picture I found in a catalog. With this type of DIY puzzle, you can adjust 📈📉the level of difficulty based on your child's age. With smaller children, 📉choose a bright image with many objects and cut in fewer pieces (2 or 4 squares) or simply cut the picture vertically, for easier assembly. 📈With older children, the smaller the pieces, the harder it will be to assemble the puzzle😉so cut it accordingly to your child's level.
♻️DIY 🍡Pop-Sticks, Pegs & Dot Stickers 🔴 ➕🔵 Addition Activity
This is a super easy and fun ♻️ math 🔢 ➕addition DIY where I ✍🏻️wrote ➕equations on 🍡pop-sticks, and as a control of error, a child can flip that same 🍡 and confirm the answer by counting the 🔴🔵dot-stickers. See here a 🎥video of Adrian solving all the ➕equations as well as how to make this ♻️DIY in a video post ♻️DIY 🍡Pop-Sticks, Pegs & Dot Stickers 🔴 ➕🔵 Addition Activity (Montessori 🔢 Math 🎥 Lesson).
DIY ♻️Paper Towel Roll 🔤Alphabet Matching Activity
Since lower case letters are more prevalent, I had Adrian match lower to upper case letters which were sporadically arranged on a paper towel roll. He would simply stick the lower case on top of the upper case.
For some introductory language lessons, see here our Letter Series post. To learn about Montessori Phonetical Sets of Presenting Alphabet letters, (see here) Set 1: First set: c m a t . For early reading, see here "Montessori CVC Picture Word cards with wooden Clothespins (💗Pink Series 🎥 Early Reading)." Also, see here "Montessori 💗 Pink Series "e" sound (Language 101 🎥 Series 🎇 Curriculum)."
In a Montessori Math curriculum, at around two years of age, after introducing Number Rods and Sandpaper Numbers you would introduce Spindle Box (buy here), which teaches a child the difference between the numeral (a 🔢 number/symbol written on a wooden box's slot) and quantity (substance, like when a child is holding actual spindles in his/her hands). The box has numerals zero to nine written on separate slots, and a child concretely learns that one is not a much, while nine is a lot! See here a detailed post "Spindle Box & Sandpaper 🔢Numbers Extensions (Montessori Math)."
Montessori Spindle Box is also an easy DIY activity using any compartments (like utensils organizer), and anything substantial representing quantity a child can hold with the whole hand such as pens, crayons and why not 🍡 popsicle sticks. (Montessori materials need Not be 💸expensive.)
🎨Vincent Van Gogh Inspired 12 🌻Sunflowers Craft
See details here in a post as a tribute to Van Gogh's Birthday, Adrian making 12 🌻Sunflowers Tissue Paper Recycled Cardboard Roll Paper-Mache Craft.
See here 🐣Easter Inspired ♻️DIY Egg 🔠Alphabet 🔡 Matching Activity.
See here 🐣Easter Inspired Montessori 🔉Sound 🔡Blending Game.
See here 🐰Easter 🐣Egg Bunting Banner Shaving Cream 🎨Marbled Paper ✂️Craft.
🐰Easter ✂️DIY ♻️Recycled 🍡Popsicle Puzzle
- recycled 🍡ice pop/popsicle sticks (or buy wooden craft sticks here),
- Easter stickers (or draw a picture),
- a craft knife,
- and a glue gun.
See detailed instructions on how to make this craft here ☘️Shamrock ✂️DIY ♻️Recycled 🍡Popsicle Puzzle Skip Counting by 🔟.
♻️DIY TIC TAC TOE
Do your children play tic-tac-toe? It's a 🤗fun game and an easy ♻️✂️DIY if you have 💦water bottle caps and 🍡ice pop sticks (any craft sticks will do), and a glue gun.
See here "Easter🐣Inspired Pipe Cleaner Beading Craft for Children."
See here a 📽 video of Adrian making these Easter 🐣Egg Decorations.
DIY 🐣Easter Eggs 🔉Sound Cylinders
This is an 🐣Easter Inspired DIY version of traditional Montessori Sound Cylinders ~ a material that isolates just one sense - the sense of hearing. Today, instead of six matching pairs, we will be making three matching pairs. So, you will fill one red and one blue with identical filler: starting with the loudest/pasta (code that pair as 1) to the softest/rice (code that pair as 3). You will have a pair in the middle/cereal (code it 2). As with all Montessori materials, there is a control of error – numbers on the bottom of each egg must match representing a matching pair.
During this sensorial activity your child will learn:
- auditory/sound discrimination by exploring one sense ~ the sense of hearing;
- the sense of order;
- matching the sounds since sounds made by the eggs are paired, i.e. the sound made by one egg in the red set matches the sound made by its equivalent egg in the blue set.
See the detailed presentation on traditional Montessori sound cylinders here.
👣Feet 🐣Egg Transferring 🌈Color Matching 💪🏻Gross Motor Game
See here a 📽video about this super fun gross motor DIY using recycled Easter eggs (balls work great too) where your kiddo, besides exercising those little feet, will have fun learning colors.
For more on🐣Easter DIYs, see here our 🐣Easter 🐰Inspired Themed Unit Study for Kids.
Stay tuned for more DIYs ...