Previous month:
March 2018

🌐Earth Day Inspired 📚Books

🌐Earth Day is always celebrated on April 22. Although we pay tribute to this National Holiday by educating our children on the importance of conservation and caring for our environment, there is still so much that can be done in terms of reducing pollution, making sure we all live in harmony with every living creature and conserving our valuable resources. Below are some of the 🌐 Earth Day favorite 📚 books we enjoy reading. I hope you can utilize these books not just for this Holiday, but for the entire year, teaching children how to appreciate, respect and cherish our planet Earth.

The three books that have touched our hearts deeply are by Schim Schimmel, who is an internationally renowned professional artist/author with a great love of art as well as the environment. His artwork and books have been lovingly embraced world-wide for their beauty and environmental message.

In The Family of Earth Book (buy here), through surrealistic acrylic paintings of leopards, penguins, hippos, and gorillas, each in their appropriate landscape (or floating in space with the moon and stars and planet Earth hovering nearby), Schimmel expresses his beliefs about planetary interdependence of all of Earth's creatures. "The earth may look different to each of us, but we share only one earth." Lions live in a world of grassy plains. To dolphins, the world is water. Lush green trees make up gorillas' world. And yet, all these animals share the same world. 

DSC_0012

Flowing rivers, quiet ponds, and muddy banks are the only world hippo knows. We all live in our own worlds.

Schimmel describes his paintings as environmental visionary surrealism and hopes to change the way readers see the world. The text attempts to describe the perspectives experienced by a variety of animals. For example, snow leopards don't see the same environment as dolphins."Leopards do not swim with dolphins. They have never seen a penguin." Gorillas call the forest home, while lions live on grassy plains. The point of the narrative is that although all of the creatures live in different habitats, they all inhabit the same planet. 

DSC_0012"We share the canyons and the oceans. We share the same sky."

 

However, perhaps Schimmel's most famous book is Dear Children Of The Earth (buy here) which is a remarkable letter from Mother Earth asking for help from children everywhere. She (Mother Earth) writes to express her love for each and every child and asks for their love and appreciation in return.

DSC_0372

In her own words, and with all of her heart, Mother Earth swaddles children with love and entrusts them with her protection. She explains that we are all one big family~ her children: that we have to take care of our "brothers and sisters" who are not necessarily our kin but are indeed all living creatures. Mother Earth also asks to help keep our "home" clean.
DSC_0372
The message in Dear Children Of The Earth book is so simple and yet so moving! Through Schimmel's "eco-surreal" artwork, the book suggests the interdependence of all of Earth's creatures, asking for unity, humanity, peace, and respect - what a great message to celebrate the Earth Day!


DSC_0005

Lastly, Children Of The Earth...Remember book (by here) is a tender lesson on sharing and protecting the Earth, enhanced with Schimmel's stunning artwork.

DSC_0012

And all of these animals are children of this world. For this world is their Mother. And we call this world Mother Earth. The animals are not alone on Mother Earth. These are people living there, too. Billions of people. More people than all the twinkling stars in the night sky. And all of these people are the children of Mother Earth, too. So, the animals and the people and Mother Earth are all one big family.  

 DSC_0005

We also enjoyed reading Help The Environment Series (on the right), which includes five books: Caring for Nature, Cleaning Up Litter, Reusing & Recycling, Saving Energy, and Saving Water.

Reusing and Recycling book (buy here) shows children simple, hands-on ways to reuse and recycle while explaining why it’s a good idea. Simple text and engaging photos of children and their families taking small conservation actions in their homes, classrooms, and communities make big conservation ideas accessible to beginning readers. “When we reuse boxes, we do not waste boxes. We help the environment.” 

Caring for Nature book (buy here) introduces very young children to the concept of caring for the environment in an attractive and accessible way. Based on children's real-life experiences, the books focus on things children can do to help the environment and keep the world around us clean. In this book, children learn what nature is, what lives in nature, and ways they can care for nature.

In Saving Water book (buy here), children will discover concrete ways to save water — and learn why it is important. “A hose uses lots of water. We save water when we use a watering can instead of a hose.

In Cleaning Up Litter book (buy here), children will discover simple ways to clean up the world — “Sometimes there are no trash cans. When we take litter with us, we clean up the world.


In Saving Energy book (buy here), children will learn ways to save energy. “We use energy to make cars work. When we walk or take the bus, we save energy.

Finally, Earth Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays) book in the middle (buy here) is very simple, straightforward book with controlled vocabulary, and a text of fewer than 400 words. The book also includes pronunciation guides to less familiar words.

Read here a post about another inspiring book that we love  I Cherish Planet Earth Book📘 with a Matching Game.

Also, see here the 🌐Earth Day 2017 Activities Roundup.


Preschool Uses For A ⛳Golf Tee 🔨Hammering Montessori 🙌🏻Practical Life Lesson 💪🏻Gross Motor Game •101 🎥 Series 🎇

This is a Montessori Practical Life lesson on a preschool use of a golf tee, which is an awesome gross motor exercise. Additionally, I will also show you a couple of fun extensions where your child will also exercise fine motor control. 

DSC_0117What you will need:

  • a tray,
  • a little hammer or a little rubber mallet,
  • golf tees,
  • a box filled with non-drying modeling clay: rip the clay apart and mush it in, filling the entire space of the box; offer your child to do this since working with clay is a great hand-muscle control exercise.  

DSC_0120Advise your child to hold the golf tee with two fingers and hammer three times before letting go of the hand.

DSC_0132Then finish hammering until the tee is deep into the clay.
 

This activity is super fun! To pull the tees out of the molding clay, offer your child to wiggle the tee and work it out by exercising those arm muscles since it might be challenging. Finally, a child would mash the clay all back into the box, making the top smooth, ready for the next use. 
DSC_0117

A child can do this activity as many times s/he wants, so have it available on the shelf. Just make sure that this work goes back on its place after the child is finished with it.

Well, since you rummaged through your golf bag to find your tees, I will give you a few extensions you might like: 

DSC_0132 Use a styrofoam block.

DSC_0132Use recycled packing blocks.

DSC_0160 post Under HammeringOffer your child to hammer on wood. See our Earth Day Unit Study here

Also, use a larger foam block or two blocks glued together and offer your child to make shapes: a circle, square, rectangle, triangle – by hammering the tees. You may need to draw shapes onto the block as guides.

Other ExtensionsGolf Tee Poking (instead of Pin Poking): for youngest children who are just starting to work on their pencil grip or if you have a little one and you don't want to have a pin laying on a shelf. 

DSC_0006You would trace a letter with a marker on a hard cardstock first, and present the activity on a tray, the paper layered over a sponge or a mesh rug.

DSC_0256 copy Tee Pocking - Link Letter SeriesPoking with a tee offers a little bit more control. See here our 🔠 Letter Series (Montessori Language).
DSC_0006Offer your child to push down on the lines. Once finished, offer to hold the paper up to the window and have the light go through. More on Letter V here

Another Extension: use a styrofoam block for holding tees and balance small balls, marbles, ping pong balls, Easter eggs, Halloween balls, etc.

DSC_0037See here a 🎥video post  🇺🇸4th of July Inspired ⛳ Golf Tees 🔨Hammering and 🔴⚪️🔵 Ball Balancing DIY Activity (Practical Life 🙌 101 🎥 Series).

DSC_0272See here 🎃Halloween Inspired ⛳️Golf Tee 🔨Hammering • Ball Balancing • 🙌🏻 Practical Life Activity.

This golf tee hammering is a mixture of gross motor and an intro to fine motor activities before your child has acquired a more precise fine motor skill required for beading, collaging and Montessori frames. Before you introducing this tee-hammering, you would start your Practical Life curriculum with:

  • DRY pouring ~ read here DRY Spout Pouring 1:1, and here DRY Pouring 1:2; 
  • Also, see here 🍁Fall 👻Halloween Inspired Tongs Transferring (Montessori 🙌🏻 Practical Life).
  •  then introduce WATER pouring ~see here 💦WET Spout Pouring 1:1, and here 💦WET Pouring 1: 2;
  • moving on to food preparation, scrubbing and cleaning, water play activities like bubble making, nesting boxes and so on. 

I hope you found fun reasons to use your golf tees and enjoyed our PRACTICAL LIFE lesson. 


👣Feet 🐣Egg Transferring 🌈Color Matching 💪🏻Gross Motor 📽Game

This is a super fun DIY: use recycled eggs (I am sure we all have tones of them after Easter) or use balls and let your kiddo have fun with this color recognition gross motor game. 

DSC_0082     I did not have either black or red egg, so using Sharpies, I colored them.

DSC_0094Besides exercising those little feet, this is also an awesome color matching activity, and if your child knows all the colors, use this opportunity to learn colors in a different language!

DSC_0060You would call out a color, and the child, using feet only, would transfer that color egg to a different container.

DSC_0094

We are also using traditional Montessori color tables (see links to posts below), but you can use paint samples from your hardware store for this color matching (see examples below). 

DSC_0094Also, use this activity to grade colors! 

DSC_0094

It is through appropriate work and activities that the character of the child is transformed.  Work influences his development in the same way that food revives the vigor of a starving man.  We observe that a child occupied with matters that awaken his interest seems to blossom, to expand, evincing undreamed of character traits; his abilities give him great satisfaction, and he smiles with a sweet and joyous smile. ~ Dr. Maria Montessori (San Remo Lectures, p. 28.)

DSC_0094If you have a color chart, offer your child to match the eggs to the chart. 

Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside. Through movement, we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas.  ~ Maria Montessori.

If you have siblings or a kids' 🎉 party, grab ⏱a timer and turn this game 🏁 into " Who can do it fastest!"🏆


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. 

IMG_1019
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!

IMG_1020 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).

For more DIYs, see here our ✂️DIY, Crafts & Materials.

For more holidays inspired activities, see here our 🐣Easter 🐰Inspired Themed Unit Study.


Soft Shelled 🏐Bouncy Raw 🐣Egg Kids 🔬⚗️⚖️ Science 101 🎥 Series 🎇

Science experiments are super fun to conduct at home with common household items. The science concepts applied in school or in a lab are the same, and kids are astonished by simple hands-on activities that nearly any parent can accomplish. So, how about a raw egg and vinegar experiment! Like magic, the eggshell will slowly dissolve, leaving behind a bouncy egg.

DSC_0057

What you will need:

  • 1 uncooked raw egg in its shell (you may also use a hard-boiled egg, which is less messy if you accidentally break it),
  • 1 cup of white distilled vinegar (acetic acid) which will be the main chemical used for the experiment,
  • a clear jar or a glass.

DSC_0002Directions:

  • pour 1 cup of vinegar into a glass,
  • add the egg ~ make sure that the egg is completely covered with vinegar.
DSC_0004Bubbles should appear in vinegar, especially on the eggshell's surface.  

DSC_0057Observe bubbles rising from the egg. Leave the egg in vinegar for one day.

 DSC_0057After 24 hours, large bubbles should form all over the eggshell. You may notice some pieces of the shell at the top of the liquid in the jar. Remove the egg and rinse it in water.   

DSC_0057The eggshell is soft (for now). Note, that if left for one week, the entire eggshell would be dissolved by the vinegar.

⚗️Science Mystery is Revealed: the eggshell is dissolved because vinegar is an acid and the eggshell contains calcium carbonate, which is a base. Calcium carbonate is what makes the egg hard. Vinegar is an acid known as acetic acid. When these two chemicals: calcium carbonate (the egg) and acetic acid (the vinegar) are combined, a chemical reaction occurs and carbon dioxide (a gas) is released. Bubbles are made out of this gas. Such chemical reaction keeps occurring until all of the carbon in the egg is used up: it takes about a day. After 24 hours, all the carbon from the eggshell is released. So now, when you take the egg out of the vinegar, the egg is soft because all of the carbon floated out of the egg in those little bubbles.

DSC_0057

Did you know that if you remove the egg after sitting in vinegar for one day and then left it out on the table for another day, the shell would become hard again because the shell would take carbon from the outside air. (The calcium left in the egg shell would steal the carbon back from the carbon dioxide that is in the air we breath.)

Extensions:

  1. With a raw egg, once the shell has softened, place the egg in the water again and it will absorb and expand through the osmosis process until the shell finally bursts.  
  2. Bones: What makes our bones hard is calcium carbonate ~ the same compound that makes the eggshells hard. So, make an experiment and take some thin chicken bones (e.g the wishing bone) and drop it in vinegar and leave for a day. After 24 hours, such bone will be soft just like the eggshell was. The bone will be bendable like a sting ~ try to tie it in a knot, I bet you will succeed! However, if you leave the  knotted bone sitting out on the table, it will get hard again, just like an egg!

 

For more Science Experiments, see links below.

 DSC_0002See here Float or Sink Tangerine Science Experiment 101 🎥 Series 🎇.

For more acid-base reactions, see below.

  IMG_6567See here 🌋 Erupting Volcano Science Experiment 101 🎥 Series 🎇.

 

DSC_0041See here a 🎥vidoe 🎨Painting with 🌈Colored Vinegar on Baking Soda Science Experiment.

 

DSC_0015See here a video-post "Magic🎈Balloon (Baking Soda and Vinegar Reaction)."

See our entire 🔬⚗️⚖️ Science 101 🎥 Series 🎇here


♻️Recycled 📦 Cardboard 🔢Numbers & Counters ✋🏻Tactile 📽DIY✂️

This recycled DIY from cardboard will help your child learn the shape of the number by hands-on making numbers from pipe cleaners. Then, through the sense of touch, the child will reinforce numeral vs quantity association by counting pom poms, thus developing sensorially tactile understanding of quantitative measure of number, which is an otherwise abstract mathematical concept.

DSC_0097

What you will need:

  • recycled cardboard cut into squares
  • pipe cleaners
  • pom poms
  • and a glue gun.

DSC_0072Julia first makes a number from a pipe cleaner.

DSC_0072She then glues a corresponding number of color-matching pom-poms to the cardboard.

DSC_0105Offer your child to trace each number and count pom poms.DSC_0095Triggering child's tactile senses enriches the learning experience.Behind the scenes video of how Julia made these tactile number boards. 


DSC_0072

 Also, take this opportunity to talk about odd and even numbers. See a detailed lesson with the video on Odd/Even presentation here in a post ❤️Valentines Odd & Even • Montessori 🔢Math 101 🎥 Series 🎇.

DSC_0105

Sensorial exploration is extremely important during the child's first six years of life. Dr. Maria Montessoi described the First Plane of Development (birth to 6 yrs) as a period of the Absorbent Mind which is characterized by "young child's behavior of quickly and effortlessly assimilating the sensorial stimuli of his or her environment, including information from the senses, language, culture, and the development of concepts." The child is self-observed, has a self-centered viewpoint, is focused primarily on the sensorial exploration of a factual world. Materials are prepared mainly for individual use by a child. Dr. Montessori believed that this power is unique to the first plane and that it fades as the child approached the age of six. So, triggering sensorial exploration during the first six years of life proves to be most beneficial to child's development. Read more here in a post "Dr. Maria Montessori's Planes (Stages) of Development."


DSC_0105A child three to six years of age has a conscious absorbent mind.  “It is as if the child, having absorbed the world by an unconscious kind of intelligence, now ‘lays his hands’ to it.”   Now it is the hand, as a ‘prehensile organ of the mind,’ not just the senses, which move the child through a period of constructive ‘perfectionment’ – refining the acquisitions already made." ~  explained Dr. Montessori.

Below are our DIY numbers up close.

DSC_0095
DSC_0095

DSC_0095
DSC_0095

DSC_0095

Dr. Montessori also defined a psychological state she termed  "normalization" (in children from three to six years old) which arises from concentration and focus on activity which serves the child’s developmental needs, and is characterized by the ability to concentrate as well as "spontaneous discipline, continuous and happy work, social sentiments of help and sympathy for others... A child who concentrates is immensely happy." ~ Dr. Montessori observed.

 DSC_0105 So, by creating a prepared environment full of tactile stimuli, triggering the child sensorially, we hope to offer the child a rich learning environment and instill a lifelong love of learning. 

DSC_0105

For more on DIY materials and activities, see here ✂️DIY, Crafts & Materials.