Books 📚 Feed

🕉Mindfulness with Children (☮️PEACE Education)

Do you practice mindfulness with your children? A big part of Montessori education is teaching children to be mindful, respectful and ☮️peaceful with oneself and others. However, in this hectic busy world, when we have no time to stop and "check-in" with ourselves, even less with others: both physically and mentally - When is the right time to introduce the Practice of Mindfulness to our children? When is the right time to teach them meditation?

DSC_0064-001

Mindfulness means maintaining present awareness of our feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment. It also implies acceptance, being able to think and feel without judging — without believing that there is a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel at a given moment. My own mantra has always been that "whatever happens, happens for the better, even if, at first, it seems like things are turning for the worse." So, when we practice mindfulness, we are present in the "now" with every fiber of our being, without reminiscing about the past (whether it is of happy moments or grievance) or imagining the future.

DSC_0036

Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditation and is the English translation of the Pali word "Sati" which means "activity." However, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the American mainstream in recent years in part through the work of Jon Kabat-Zin and Eckert Tolle. Research studies have supported the conclusion that the practice of mindfulness is strongly correlated with well-being and perceived health and that worry contributes to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. We usually worry about the future: however, those imagined events might never even materialize, and at a present, there is little we can do about them since they are in the future ... out of reach. So, by bringing our attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, by bringing mindfulness into our daily lives through the practice of meditation, we can experience true bliss and happiness of "now" and reduce both rumination and worry. So, let's stop worrying and start living!

DSC_0116-001

While with Julia (6 years old), I have been discussing the concepts of being in the now and enjoying the present moment for a while now, with Adrian (2 years old), we are just starting ... And, to bring mindfulness to toddlers, a lot has to happen: they have to be well rested, fed, not overly stimulated, calm and able to sustain their attention for longer than few seconds. 

DSC_0831.JPGRead here "Mastering the Art of Letting Go!" in a post "Practicing Mindfulness at 1 year old with a 🖌️💧Buddha Board."


Also, what type of meditation should be introduced? Meditation is classified into two categories based on the way we focus attention: Focused Attention and Open Monitoring.

(1) Focused Attention Meditation (object of focus): entails focusing the attention on a single object like a breath, a mantra, visualization, part of the body, external object, etc. Examples are Samatha (Buddhist meditation), some forms of Zazen, Loving Kindness Meditation, Chakra Meditation, Kundalini Meditation, Sound Meditation, Mantra Meditation, Pranayama, some forms of Qigong, and many others. See the Mindfulness Glitter Jar Meditation below. 

See here details on the "DIY Mindfulness Glitter Jar Meditation Tool for Kids Calming Jar."

 

(2) Open Monitoring Meditation ( a process of monitoring): entails monitoring all perceptions: either internal (thoughts, feelings, memory, etc.) or external (sound, smell, etc.) without judgment or attachment. It is the process of non-reactive monitoring of the content of experience from moment to moment, without dwelling on them. Examples are Mindfulness Meditation, Vipassana, as well as some types of Taoist Meditation. Zen🕉 Garden Meditation SandBox (below/buy here) is a type of Mindfulness Meditation: a miniature version of the traditional Japanese meditative garden. Assorted stones and other objects provide visual interest and a counterpoint to the garden's serene patterns. 

Children are born mindful, and with wisdom we can keep this skill alive: 'Montessori is wonderful in this way'. - The Dalai Lama

All you need to participate in the art of Zen gardening:

  • purified sand (you can also use salt, sugar, polenta or any other tiny grain),
  • small objects: e.g. marbles, polished rocks (we also added a starfish, shark tooth etc.),
  • a small rake,
  • and a tray to contain everything.

A Zen Garden is a mindful tool to bring a child to the "now" - to the precious eternal moment of the Present, offering a child an opportunity to sensorially explore the sand, gracefully raking around objects, thinking only about the precise movement of the hand, focusing only on the sparkling white sand and the design a child chooses to create. These moments are truly meditational, quieting the mind and enriching the soul.


Whether you practice Focused Attention and Open Monitoring, the true purpose behind all meditational “means” (either object of focus or process of monitoring) is effortless inner silence - quiet, “empty” and introverted awareness or “Pure Being.” It is in this state of “pure effortless presence” – being in the now - where the attention is not focused on anything in particular but is reposed on itself - the deeper states of consciousness can be discovered.

With children, in an effort to introduce this state of pure presence, practicing (1) Focused Attention Meditation might be a good starting point for children to develop stamina and ability to sustain their attention. Also, holding something tangible (like a pebble or a marble), while focusing on a familiar object, might be less abstract and more inviting for a child. So, to put this to practice, we read a book A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles (buy here) where four pebbles are selected to represent an image of nature and its corresponding qualities: 🌸FLOWER (FRESH), ⛰MOUNTAIN (SOLID), 🏞STILL WATER (REFLECT), and 🌌SPACE (FREE).

DSC_0113-002 DSC_0114-001
   

In this book, each pebble is presented as a tangible way for children to return to their breathing and their bodies; and to connect to the world around them since each pebble also represents the quality the child can associate with. A 🌸 FLOWER represents beauty and freshness, while a ⛰MOUNTAIN stands for solidity and focus. Still calm 🏞WATER, like a clear lake, reflects the surrounding, so the child is encouraged to reflect things inside and around. Finally,🌌 SPACE, like the big blue sky with lots of space in and around, inspires the child to feel free and at ease. 

A child is gently encouraged to meditate - that is "to think quietly about something" while sustaining attention on just one pebble at a time, so we decided to practice "Drawing Meditation" by focusing on STILL WATER while painting a picture of a lake. 

DSC_0124-001 DSC_0374-003

Julia and I breathed in and out and smiled at each other as we painted the water. We had not uttered a word during the entire drawing session. Our whole focus was the lake: its stillness, the calmness and clarity of the water and the extent of how much of the undistorted and beautiful surrounding is being reflected in it. Just like with a person: when the inner self is tranquil, still and calm, one can see things for what they really are - undistorted, clear, true.
DSC_0372-001During this Drawing Meditation, we used watercolors, and it was a very special experience: we were doing it together (my painting is on the left), sharing the process, meditating, slowing down, reconnecting with our inner-selves and focusing on the qualities of water, while trying to reflect things just as they are, inside and around.


DSC_0007-3

Our ☮️Peace Inspired📚Books:

  1. Silence Book (buy here) gently encourages children to stop, listen, and reflect on their experiences and the world around them.
  2. If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World's People (buy here) explores the lives of the hundred villagers. Children will discover that life in other nations is often very different from their own. If the World Were a Village is part of CitizenKid: a collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.
  3. The Listening Walk book (buy here) is one of the children's favorite! Discover your world filled with wonderful and surprising sounds which otherwise get drowned-out in our noisy environment.
  4. A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles book (see above/buy here) shows a child a concrete way to be mindful by connecting to a pebble representing an image of nature.
  5. Meditation Is an Open Sky book (buy here) offers a terrific introduction to simple child-friendly mindfulness/meditation exercises.
  6. What is God? book (buy here) is an eloquent introduction to the ideas behind God and various religion, which brings forward complex ideas in a way children will understand. It is written with a simple clarity and beautifully illustrated with just the right blend of seriousness and humor.
  7. Maria Montessori: A Biography For And By Children book (buy here) is written in a simple child-accessible way and is full of children's drawings depicting the life of Maria Montessori.
  8. Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Well-Being book (buy here) offers children gentle series of physical movements based on Yoga and Tai Chi movements, as an approach to Buddhist teachings. Mindful Movements book is a great meditational "yoga" manual: simple enough for a child to follow and substantial enough to provide a simple base for meditational movements. 

DSC_0014For more book ideas, see here "☮️PEACE Education•Have you Filled a Bucket Today? 📚Book."  

DSC_0007

In Montessori ☮️PEACE education, when two children are experiencing conflict, it can be difficult for each child to truly👂🏻 listen to what the other child is saying. To assist with this, one child can hold a symbol of ☮️PEACE, which generally, in a Montessori classroom, is a🌹 rose (we are using a handmade ❤️heart; a 🕊dove can also be used). A child holding it would state why s/he is upset and then pass the ☮️symbol to the other child who then has a chance to respond, passing back and forth until each child had expressed their feelings and felt adequately acknowledged. Finally, reconciliation would end with a 👋🏻handshake signaling ☮️ PEACE. So, when 👧🏻Julia and👦🏼 Adrian would have a disagreement, I would gently remind them to go to their ☮️PEACE corner and retrieve the ❤️and speak their hearts💖. They would then sit across from each other on the rug and express their frustrations. Let me tell you, it always works and the PEACE is signaled with a 🤗 hug.  Read more here

DSC_0052 For more on mindful practices, read here "🕉Zentangle Mindful 🖋️Art for Children." 

 

IMG_9207Read here 🎥"Emotions (Body)•Feelings (Mind) ✂️DIY 😃😮😡😢☹️😆Puppets ♻️🚽Craft."

 

DSC_0316-001 For more on meditation, read here "Guided 📿 Meditation with 🎶Neoclassical Music." 

Mindfulness is closely connected to Montessori education. Here is a short exert from Michael Olaf: Mindfulness Practices in Education 

Mindfulness is a quality of focused attention on the present moment accompanied by a non­‐judgmental stance;  its  “systematic  cultivation has been called the heart of  Buddhist meditation”. Mindfulness practice is fundamentally simple: focus on the breath; pay attention; be aware. “Mindfulness is cultivated by assuring the stance of an impartial witness to your own experience. To do this requires that you become aware of the constant stream of judging ... and learn to step back from it.” One needs to learn to trust in own intuition and authority. Yet, conventionally, we train children that teachers are the judges and will reinforce their judgments with grades, gold stars, and demerits. Thus, child’s own sense of authority is rarely paramount in this setting, rather they are subjected again and again to adult judgment. Thus, it can be concluded that Montessori education as a form of mindfulness education.

So, what can we do to help our children become more peaceful, mindful persons? As a parent, you can lead by example by developing your own meditation practice and then showing your children the way. Also, establish a quiet "Mommy and Me" time when you can speak to each child and discuss what had transpired during the day and how they felt about it: did something happen in the school, or you might want to take this time to express that when you raised your voice, for example, you did not mean to upset anyone and you apologise for that and so forth. Moreover, set realistic expectations and make it relatable - on a child's level. Lastly, make it special, make it personal - let it be! 

Read here  about Montessori Peace Education and our Peace Corner in a post "Montessori ☮️PEACE Shelfie (Grace & Courtesy, Gratitude, Pillars of a Peaceful Character)." 


☮️PEACE Education• Have you Filled a Bucket Today? 📚 Book

One of the six main categories of Montessori Practical Life activities are social lessons on Grace and Courtesy which include developing social skills such as saying please and thank you, learning how to take turns and listen to others, proper table manners, how to interrupt someone, how to speak with an inside/outside voice, or how to turn the page of a book. The emphasis is always placed on the personal dignity of the child and the respect of individual rights. Dr. Maria Montessori strongly believed that a natural companion to Grace and Courtesy is Peace education, having great confidence that if we are able to raise peaceful children, they will, in turn, grow up to be respectful and peaceful adults. “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future. ... Within the child, lies the fate of the future,” she said. 

DSC_0014
So, to promote ☮️ peace education, we love 📖 reading Have You Filled a Bucket Today? 📚book (buy here). While the book encourages positive behavior by alluding to an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love by "filling buckets," I had set up an area with a real bucket, scrap-paper, 🖊pencils, and ✂️scissors. 

DSC_0026After reading the book, my children naturally wanted to be "bucket fillers," and to become mindful of that, they would ✍🏻️write daily one thing that filled another's bucket (or their own). Filling one's invisible bucket can be a kind word, a smile, or a hug. Being caring and sharing, being patient and learning to wait a turn, helping each other in play or work also counts as "filling a bucket." There are so many ways to enrich someone's day! 

DSC_0028This had become a beautiful tradition to come to the bucket and retrospect about the day: "What have I done to make another's day brighter? Have I filled someone's bucket today?" These thoughts bring the child to the primary act itself, strengthening the connection between the deed (e.g. a hug) and the result (e.g. happy Mommy). 

DSC_0014
So, our bucket is filled with love notes, hearts, drawings, colorful bookmarks for Mommy and so forth. As such, our bucket helps us be mindful, considerate and compassionate. 

DSC_0028"Adrian filled my bucket by giving me a smile," Julia. 

Dr. Montessori described education, as a "help to life" which starts at birth, feeding a peaceful revolution and uniting all in a common aim, attracting them to a single center. She encouraged Mothers, fathers, and politicians to "combine in their respect and help for this delicate work of formation, which the little child carries on in the depth of a profound psychological mystery, under the tutelage of an inner guide. This is the bright new hope for mankind.” (The Absorbent Mind, p. 15).  So, when my children come to the bucket, they stop, think and reflect: about the day and what they did, mindful qualities which are the core of Montessori espoused Peace education. Thus, I hope that by building a peaceful core, it will prove to be a strong pivoting center for a peaceful adult. And our peaceful education needs not be elaborate: it can be as simple as reading a book and "filling one's bucket" with happy thoughts and happy deeds. 

For more about our ☮️PEACE Education, read here "🕉Mindfulness with Children" and how to introduce it. 


🎃Halloween Inspired 🌽Corn 🙌Sensory 🚜 Bin & 🚜Tractors 📚Books

Tactile sensory stimulation involves the sensation of touch and texture. Exposing children to sensory play helps them develop and refine the use of their senses. Most importantly, sensory bins provide hours of imaginative small world play, fostering creativity, independence, and concentration. Pretend play can also be a form of imitation of the real adult world, which can promote child's development in many ways. Small world play has potentials for teaching children about themselves and the world around them by developing their cognitive, fine motor, and self-help skills. Moreover, through pretend play, children develop their speech and language skills by naming objects they play with: such as a tractor, a farm, harvest, etc., thus teaching them appropriate social and pragmatic skills. Children also use play to understand the world around them and are thus developing their social-emotional skills. Moreover, small world-play is a way for children to relive things that have happened to them, thus allowing them to increase understanding of their life events. 

DSC_0004

 What you will need:

  • we are using a wooden box to contain the filler: dried corn;
  • Halloween pumpkins for scooping;
  • pom poms and Halloween styrofoam covered balls for tonging; (see here 🍁Fall 👻Halloween Inspired Tongs Transferring, Montessori 🙌🏻 Practical Life);
  • a sorting ice-making tray to transfer and sort retrieved items to;
  • 🚜 tractors for small world play;
  • are transferring tools (we are using tongs and spoons). 

DSC_0004

Adrian is ready for scooping, tonging and transferring with this 🌽 corn, Pom poms, and spooky 👻👁eyeballs sensory invitation to play! 🚜Tractors can pull the heavy load, while 👦🏼Adrian will do the rest.

DSC_0009Scooping and filling up a pumpkin requires concentration and precision.
DSC_0009Tonging is a great exercise to develop fine-motor control.
DSC_0004

 As a result of this sensory invitation to play: 

  • Adrian stimulated tactile sense of touch by feeling the texture of the 🌽 corn;
  • he also exercised fine-motor skills by incorporating practical life activity such as scooping  and tonging pop poms and styrofoam balls (more on tonging here);
  • the visual sense of sight was also stimulated by having to find, shape-discriminate and sort pop poms and styrofoam balls;
  • and most importantly, it was fun since Adrian loves the farm and tractors! 

DSC_0024-2

Small world play offers children an opportunity to take on the opposite role, which allows them to see things from another’s perspective. To feel a sense of control and power, children often take on an adult role, so that they can be us - the parents! In their play, they can independently drive a tractor, sow seeds or feed a cow ... possibilities are endless! What we can do as adults is offer a safe, thoughtful and stimulating prepared environment. 
DSC_0024-2We have collected some great books which enrich our small-world play:

  •  The Ultimate Construction Site Book (buy here) is packed with more than 60 tabbed moving parts to pull, lift, and explore; as well as the meticulous details of vehicles, buildings, and techniques.
  • The Ultimate Book of Vehicles book (buy here) reveals supersized spreads, featuring marvelously detailed illustrations with lots of flaps, pop-ups, pull-tabs, and rotating wheels, bringing many vehicles to life.

DSC_0027Tractors My First Discoveries book (buy here) offers bright and colorful illustrations, some with clear over-lay pages which adds a new dimension to a traditional reading. We explored this book here in a "🌽 Corn Sensory Bin with 🔤 Alphabet Letters (🙌Sensorial + Language) & 🚜Tractors 📚Book" post.
DSC_0027This sensorial small world invitation to play was a true learning through play experience!

For more on sensory play, see here "Sensory Exploration with Hydro Gel ❤️️ Water Beads (Science 🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇)," and here "✨The Universe 👋🏻Sensory Bin (🌌COSMOS Unit Study)."

For more on Autumn-themed activities, read here a roundup of all our activities we have done during the month of 🍂September and 🎃October: over 20 of them! arranged by the area of study in a post "🍂Fall & 🎃Halloween Inspired Homeschooling 101 Unit Study."


🐛Bugs 🐜Insects and other 🐞🐝🕷️Arthropods

While most adults do not have a deep affection for bugs, children, on the other hand, spend hours in a backyard flipping over rocks and inspecting blades of grass in search of the coolest caterpillars and tiny crawlers. And little ones are smart to befriend bugs since without little creature our entire ecosystem would shut down. Animals such as fish, bats, and amphibians would have nothing to eat; rivers and lakes would be overrun with algae, and flowers would remain unpollinated. Teaching children about insects is a great way for them to learn about nature in general since everything in our world is interconnected. Also, bugs are the most accessible of all creatures since children can most closely approach them. So, suppress your squeamishness and delve into the wonderful world of bugs and other insects!

DSC_0426

To explore bugs and insects in a fun hands-on sensorial play, I set up an Autumn-Inspired sensory bin with fresh leaves and acorns children found during nature walks, shredded paper, this bug loupe and these insects. 

DSC_0426 An ant, besides being able to lift 50 times its weigh, has the biggest brain relative to its size amongst the insect kingdom!

DSC_0426Entomology is the study of insects, including their relationship with other animals, their environments, and human beings; making Adrian an entomologist for a time being.
DSC_0426

Insects are creatures with three body sections, six legs, and usually four wings and two antennae. Although some people use the words "bug" and "insect" interchangeably, a bug is a certain type of insect such as boxelder bug, milkweed bug, assassin bug, and stink bug. True bugs have a stylet (a mouth shaped like a straw) that they use to suck juices from plants. That is all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs. Scientists have discovered already over one million species of insects: also called arthropods, and every day they are discovering new species.

DSC_0426

Some insects have wings, and some do not, but there are few characteristics that all insects have in common:

  • Insects do not have bones or a backbone like humans do, and thus are invertebrates, meaning that they have a hard exoskeleton or shell on the outside of their bodies which protects them.
  • All insects have three parts: the head, the thorax (the middle part), and the abdomen (the end part).
  • Insects have two antennae and six legs.
  • All insects hatch from eggs, and the babies are called larva.
  • All insects go through the same lifecycle: beginning as an egg. The egg hatches and larva emerge. Larvae usually look nothing like the adult insect. The larvae enter a pupa, chrysalis or cocoon. An adult insect emerges from the pupa.
  • Note: spiders are not insects. Spiders have eight legs, and they are related to scorpions and belong to the arachnid family. 🐌 Snails, on the other hand, are gastropods. 

DSC_0426

Bugs A-Z book (in the middle) is a perfect book for any child fascinated with bugs! A simple text from A to Z provides interesting and concise buggy facts in addition to reinforcing the first letter association: A is for Ant, B is for Bee, C for Caterpillar etc. Larger than life full-color photographs of creepy crawlies include locusts, caterpillars, beetles, flies, grasshoppers, ants, praying mantis, and more! Also, the facts provided under each insect are fascinating and engaging enough even for a three-year-old. At the end of the book, there is a glossary review, which I use to reinforce the concepts learned. 

DSC_0003Scorpions are not insects! They are arachnid, with eight legs, instead of six.

Scorpions can be found on all continents except Alaska (and Antarctica). They are predatory animals of the class Arachnida (having eight legs) making them cousins to spiders, mites, and ticks. Insects, on the other hand, are Arthropods with six legs, two antennae, and three-parts segmented body.

DSC_0401 

Tarantulas are the largest known arachnids (spider family) measuring seven to ten cm in length, capable, however, of exceeding 30 cm (that is twelve inches: the size of a regular laptop). Besides their size, tarantulas are known for their dense and hairy body. Also, they are night-time (nocturnal) hunters who will pounce on their prey, such as insects, beetles, and grasshoppers. Interestingly, although not spinning traditional webs, tarantulas are capable of producing silk and can use it for similar purposes, depending on species. Many of the arboreal tarantulas make silken homes in tree holes or other crevices. Even the burrowing terrestrial species use silk to line their burrows, and some use silk to create door-like entrances to their burrows. The tarantula’s silk acts as an alarm system, alerting the arachnid to the presence of threat or prey outside its home. If the intruder is potential prey, the tarantula will capture and subdue it.

DSC_0006The cladogram below shows the relationship between the arthropod's groups:

Arthropoda
 

Chelicerata (sea spiders, horseshoe crabs, and 🕷️arachnids: 8 legs)

 
Mandibulata
 

Pancrustacea (crustaceans and 🐞insects: 6 legs)

 
 

Myriapoda (centipedes, millipedes, and allies)

 

 

DSC_0002-2

To examine tiny creatures up close, children like to use this bug loupe, which provides a 5X view of what’s underneath! The above-shown Bugs collection (buy here) comes with twelve insects in clear acrylic blocks for up-close examination. A mini-guide that comes with it provides a concise description of the species included as well as interesting details. This set is a perfect starter collection of insects for any entomologist!  DSC_0003
Little Explorer Insects book (on the left - buy here) provides further insight into these buzzing, stinging, and creepy crawlers: where they live, what they eat, and why they are so important.

DSC_0074 bee copyDid you know that a bee has five eyes, none of which can see the color red!

Honey bees are very important pollinators of flowers, fruits, and vegetables, transferring pollen between the male and female parts of the plant, thus allowing plants to grow seeds and fruit. Honey bees live in hives (or colonies) everywhere except Antarctica. The members of the hive are divided into three types:

  •  Queen: One queen runs the whole hive. Her job is to lay the eggs which will spawn the hive’s next generation of bees. The queen also produces chemicals that guide the behavior of the other bees.
  • Workers are all sterile female and their roles are to forage for food (pollen and nectar from flowers), build and protect the hive, and clean and circulate air by beating their wings. Workers would be the only bees we ever see flying around outside the hive.
  • Drones are the male bees, and their purpose is to mate with the Queen. Several hundred live in each hive during the spring and summer. But come winter, when the hive goes into survival mode, the drones are kicked out! 

DSC_0003Lastly, National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Bugs (top right - buy here) explores backyard favorite bugs, such as ladybugs and lightning bugs, and also introduces more exotic species which inhabit rain forests and deserts around the world. Colorful photos are paired with profiles of each insect, along with facts about the creatures' sizes, diets, homes, and more. "Little Kids First BIG Book of" series is my children's favorite non-fiction series. 

To put all this knowledge to use, seek out ways together with your child to get to know just how amazing Earth's little inhabitants are! Parks, local playgrounds, and forests are great places to introduce children to the wonders of the local insect population. Go outside and explore by examining dead wood, banks of streams, and the underside of rocks and leaves. Backyard bugs can usually be found under potted plants, rocks or deck furniture. On forest trails, look for bugs in flowers, on trees or near water.

DSC_0131

During nature walks, explore the world of bugs, insects and other creatures, first hand by doing a scavenger hunt. (Do not forget a bug container, bug tweezers, and a magnifying glass.)

DSC_0394.JPG

Do not rush and stay close to the ground as bugs are easy to miss. Most are small and many camouflages, making them tough to spot at first glance. 

DSC_0131
Take it slow and let your eyes roam the area for anything that moves.

DSC_0394.JPGLook under moss, rocks, leaves or underturned trees. 

DSC_0038With close observation, you will find that local fauna is full of surprises!

DSC_0394.JPG

"There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest. Something emanates from those trees that speaks to the soul, something no book, no museum is capable of giving." Dr. Maria Montessori.

DSC_0038If you find a caterpillar feeding on a plant and wish to bring it home, be sure to include that exact plant it was eating since many insects can only digest one type of plant and will starve without it.

DSC_0394.JPGDr. Maria Montessori strongly believed that the intelligence was a result of joyful learning and not a mere memorization. So learning need not take place inside of a classroom: there is nothing more inviting than a forest school!

DSC_0038

Invite your child to be a naturalist! Zoos, botanical gardens and even local parks might offer classes which introduce children to the wonders of the local insect population.

DSC_0399 Fall Bokeh Printed
Having contact with nature will allow children to understand and appreciate its natural order, the harmony and the beauty in it. Such contact will allow them to be friends with animals: big and small, creeping and crawling, scary and beautiful. All Earth's inhabitants are necessary for the equilibrium of life: all life form is precious. So, let's explore, go outside and be with nature!

For more on Autumn-themed activities, read here a roundup of all our activities we have done during the month of 🍂September and 🎃October: over 20 of them! arranged by the area of study in a post "🍂Fall & 🎃Halloween Inspired Homeschooling 101 Unit Study."


💉 Inside of the BODY Anatomy Unit Study

How mysterious is the inside of the body! Children are simply fascinated to learn all about our body-machine that works day and night, without any rest, performing tasks no computer is capable of performing. Our eyelids blink reflexively, our lungs are constantly expanding and contracting, delivering fresh oxygen throughout our body. Our heart muscle relentlessly pumps blood to every cell of our body, delivering life-potent oxygen and nutrients night and day: whether we are asleep or awake. Our nervous system lets us feel, taste and experience whether pleasure or pain. Our white blood cells fight for us whenever an intruder, be it a virus, fungus or a nasty bacteria, attempts to disrupt our equilibrium. The body is an amazing mechanism, and it is our job to keep it strong, healthy and happy! And we can do it better if we know more about how does our body work! By understanding what goes on the inside of our body, which is mainly unseen and performed on a such a small scale, we can truly appreciate the work that the body is doing all the time - even if we might not know it.

DSC_0017The DK Visual Dictionary of the Human Body book [top-left] (buy here) is an amazing comprehensive compilation of anatomy of science, covering extensive topics with outstanding photographs. The brief text compresses many details into a few sentences, and the charts combined with the text give a clear overview of the subject. The book even has an illustration of an exact torso and detailed explanation of organs. This book can be appropriate for an elementary level and up. Adrian mostly looks through the pictures as the vocabulary is very scholarly.

Inside Your Outside: All About the Human Body book [top-right] (buy here) is Adrian's favorite! Simple fun rhymes take a young reader for a ride through the human body where they visit the right and left sides of the brain, meet the Feletons from far off Fadin (when they stand in the sun you can see through their skin), scuba dive through the blood system, follow food and water through the digestive tract, and a whole lot more!

LeapFrog LeapReader Interactive Human Body Discovery Set (buy set here and the TAG pen here) shows a child how the amazing human body works. The set includes a jumbo, two-sided activity board, growth chart, interactive sticker sheets and glow-in-the-dark stickers. Your child will learn hands-on human body facts, body systems, and health nutrition. (Please note that the set works with Tag and the LeapReader Reading & Writing System, which is sold separately - buy here.)


DSC_0017Human Torso (buy here), comes with eight organ pieces and fully illustrated instruction manual. 

DSC_0015Did you know that the size of your child's heart is as big as his/her clenched fist? 

DSC_0015

The sensorial bowl filled with red hydro gels ("red blood cells") offers a tactile and visual stimulation as children have to retrieve the organs, name them and place correctly into the Human Torso Model Kit (buy here). This is a super-fun 🙌🏻sensorial invitation to explore the inside of the body! 

DSC_0013

See here a 📽️ of how we "made" these gel beads in"Sensory Exploration with Hydro Gel ❤️️ Water Beads" post.


Inside of the Body Books, we are loving.

Interactive books have been favorites lately amongst my children. These informative science books are perfect for my curious explorers who have lots of questions and unending desire to flip and turn!

These wonderful flap books take a young reader on an amazing fact-filled voyage through a body from brain to toes with tons of interactive flaps to open and discover! 

1st [smaller] book featured in the 📽️ Look Inside: Your Body (buy here) is a wonderful flap book, which introduces children to the way their own bodies work in a fun and informative way. This hands-on book offers many surprises to keep enquiring minds entertained, including flaps beneath flaps and a cheeky peek inside a toilet cubicle. Your child will be truly fascinated to learn how their brains work, what happens when they eat, how their lungs use oxygen and much more. 

2nd [bigger] book featured in the 📽️ See Inside Your Body (buy here) is a larger version anatomy book which further helps a young reader to get a bigger visual presentation of parts of the human body.



DSC_0037Children are also loving the entire My First Discoveries series and The Body book (buy here) is a great addition to our anatomy book collection. 
DSC_0037Through transparent overlay pages, a child will find out what happens to food and air and blood in our bodies; where our bones, muscles, veins, and nerves are; and how our brain works and controls what we do.

Children love interactive learning which makes scientific subjects fun and comprehensible despite its complexity. 

DSC_0033How the Body Works book (buy here) offers a young reader a chance to discover what makes up a small growing human body and how each of the different parts work separately and together: how do we breathe and digest food to provide energy to walk and run and play? 

  DSC_0015The transparent overlay pages add a new dimension to a traditional 📖 reading.


 DSC_0015Another great addition to our Anatomy unit study is this Body 5-Layer Wooden Puzzle, Boy (buy here), which includes five layers of systems that exist within the human body: skeletal, respiratory, digestive, muscular, and integumentary system. Adrian loves assembling it over and over again.  

DSC_0009See here a video post 🎥 "Anatomy Puzzle & DIY Interactive Puppets."


DSC_0041

See here a 🎥 video post "DIY 💉 Blood Model (BODY Anatomy Unit Study, Science🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇)."


 

IMG_7689We also explored how our brain and senses work: see here "The BODY: 5 Basic 👅Tastes.

IMG_7686Did you know that much of what we think of as 👅taste is actually 👃🏻smell❗️The back of your nose is linked to your mouth at the throat so that you can smell the food as you chew it. That is why when you have a 🤒cold, tiny hairs in your 👃🏻nose get clogged with mucus. This stops them from wafting smell particles deep into your nose and makes it hard to smell or taste things. That is exactly why you cannot "taste" anything when you have a stuffy nose!


 What's Inside Animals

DSC_0002

This Inside 🐘🐴 Animals flash card set (buy here) comes with 16 beautifully printed double-sided photo/x-rays. The images are protected with a special, scratch-resistant coating. The set even comes with two human skeletons to compare and contrast the image of the human to the walrus, giraffe, snake, owl, etc. 

DSC_0002These cards can be used on a light table, or with a help of a 🔦flashlight, or simply against a window (what we did) to reveal the skeletal system of the animal!  
DSC_0002This is an excellent way to introduce your child to animals and anatomy.

IMG_7667For more on Inside Body, see here "Giraffe (Inside of the BODY Anatomy Unit Study)."

Stay tuned for more anatomy lessons ...